BrokerageIndustry News

Fidelity closes LandAmerica deal

Fitch analysts issue downgrades

Fidelity National Financial Inc. has closed a deal to acquire troubled LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s underwriting companies, making the company the nation's largest title insurance underwriter. Analysts at Fitch Ratings promptly downgraded ratings on $500 million in debt issued by Fidelity and cut the insurer financial strength of the company's nine existing title insurance subsidiaries. Fitch analysts cited Fidelity's less favorable statutory capital position, further adverse reserve development, increased financial leverage at the holding company, and "general integration risk during an extraordinarily difficult operating environment." LandAmerica filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 26 and announced an agreement to sell its underwriting subsidiaries -- Lawyers Title Insurance Corp., Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co., and United Capital Title Insurance Co. -- to Fidelity. The acquisition of the three LandAmerica underwriting companies...