Ratings Recap: Am. Merchants, LandAmerica, RSUI Indemnity
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has withdrawn its 'Api' (public information) financial strength rating on American Merchants Casualty Co. - a sister company to Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., Endurance American Specialty Insurance Co., Endurance Reinsurance Corp. of America, and Endurance Worldwide Insurance Ltd., all of which have 'A' financial strength ratings. "The withdrawal eliminates possible confusion concerning the assignment of a pi assessment to a part of this interactively rated group," explained credit analyst Taoufik Gharib. "Maintaining a pi assessment might wrongly imply that Standard & Poor's has access only to public information." S&P added that the withdrawal of the assessment should not be viewed as expressing a negative opinion on American Merchants Casualty Co. "given that its financial information is included in the assessment of the overall group's financial strength rating."
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has placed its 'A-' counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s (LFG) title insurance operations (LandAmerica) on CreditWatch with negative implications. S&P also placed its 'BBB-' counterparty credit rating on LFG on CreditWatch with negative implications. "The CreditWatch placement follows the announcement of unfavorable operating results by LandAmerica's peers and news on macroeconomic factors that affect title insurers, such as mortgage originations," explained credit analyst James Brender. "This information suggests it is very likely that LFG will report a quarterly loss in 2008." S&P added that it also "believes the environment for title insurers will remain challenging until 2010 due to declining mortgage originations and rising claim rates."
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has withdrawn its 'A-' counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on RSUI Indemnity Co. and its affiliate Landmark American Insurance Co. at the Company's request.