OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” for the member companies of Stewart Title Group (Stewart). A.M. Best also has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb-” for the parent holding company, Stewart Information Services Corporation (headquartered in Houston, TX) [NYSE:STC]. The outlook for these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable. (See below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The affirmation of the organization’s ratings is based on its favorable risk-adjusted capitalization, continued positive operating results and continued solid pre-tax earnings in 2016, following similar favorable results throughout the past several years, as well as its significant business profile as the fourth-largest writer of title insurance in the United States.
Stewart continued its multiple-year trend of reporting strong underwriting and operating results. The group’s consistent performance reflects its ability to manage its loss and loss adjustment expenses, as evidenced by the multiple-year downward trend in its loss and LAE incurred ratio. With regards to its underwriting expense ratio, despite being up from last year, the overall trend in the past five years has been downward, reflecting numerous expense initiatives that have been initiated during the past several years.
Stewart’s risk-adjusted capital position remains strong and reflects leverage ratios that are slightly better than the industry. The capital positions of the member companies continue to benefit from adequate liquidity positions as well as the aforementioned favorable underwriting and operating performance.
Upward movement in the ratings or outlooks would depend on the group sustaining its positive underwriting performance trend along with maintenance of favorable risk-adjusted capitalization. Conversely, significant deterioration in operating performance or significant erosion in risk-adjusted capitalization levels may result in downward movement in the ratings or outlooks. Furthermore, should the holding company experience liquidity issues or a significant increase in leverage measurements, this may result in downward movement in the ratings or outlooks of the member companies.
The FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a-” have been affirmed for the following members of Stewart Title Group:
- Stewart Title Guaranty Company
- Stewart Title Insurance Company
- Stewart Title Limited
This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best Rating Action Press Releases.
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