A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a” of Infinity Insurance Company (Infinity), its 10 insurance subsidiaries and one affiliate. Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “bbb” and debt rating of “bbb” on $275 million 5.00% senior unsecured notes due 2022, issued by Infinity’s parent, Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation (IPCC) [NASDAQ: IPCC]. The outlook for all ratings is stable.
Additionally, A.M. Best has withdrawn the FSR of A (Excellent) and ICR of “a” of Infinity Reserve Insurance Company based on its de-licensing and removal from Infinity’s pooling agreement, effective November 19, 2013. The above named companies are headquartered in Birmingham, AL. (See below for a detailed listing of the companies.)
The rating affirmations of Infinity reflect its excellent risk-adjusted capitalization, favorable five-year operating performance and strong non-standard automobile market presence. Infinity’s favorable operating earnings are attributed to management’s product line expertise, local market knowledge and utilization of sophisticated technologies within the pricing, risk selection and claims handling process. Infinity ranks among the leading non-standard automobile writers in the United States. In addition, the group has implemented numerous strategic initiatives to improve underwriting results in underperforming states, which include rate increases, rating enhancements, agency management initiatives and revised claims operational processes. Furthermore, Infinity benefits from the financial flexibility provided by IPCC, which maintains moderate financial leverage and solid interest and fixed coverage.
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are Infinity’s limited business profile with policies comprised predominantly of non-standard auto and approximately 75% of its direct written premiums concentrated in two key states. As a result, the organization’s earnings are susceptible to increased competition in the non-standard auto segment and changes in the regulatory, judicial and legislative environment in its largest states. This was evident in 2011 and 2012 when Infinity’s underwriting results deteriorated, driven by increased private passenger auto liability loss ratios and adverse loss reserve development, primarily related to strong policy growth and increased loss severity. However, Infinity reported increased operating earnings in 2013, driven by improved underwriting results due to management's strategic initiatives, although operating earnings remain below historical levels. In addition, dividend distributions over the previous five-year period to IPCC limited Infinity’s ability to increase its surplus position.