Arkansas’ Southern Pioneer P/C Insurance Acquired by Biglari; Ratings Unchanged

AM Best said the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “bbb” of Southern Pioneer Property and Casualty Insurance Co. (Southern Pioneer), based in Jonesboro, Ark., remain unchanged following its acquisition by Biglari Holdings Inc.

The ratings agency said Biglari Holdings Inc. acquired Southern Pioneer, an insurer offering commercial property, homeowners, dwelling and other coverages with a presence throughout the southern United States, on March 9, 2020.

Southern Pioneer will continue to operate under its existing structure as a subsidiary of Biglari Holdings Inc. with the management team and all legal entities intact.

While Southern Pioneer may benefit over the long-term potentially from enhanced financial flexibility and investment portfolio management under its new parent, AM Best expects any near-term impact on the credit ratings to be modest.

Southern Pioneer was formed in 1981 in Trumann, Ark.; it moved to Jonesboro in 2007. The company originally focused on providing credit-related coverages for banks and furniture dealers. In 1992, it began writing license bonds and garage liability insurance for non-franchised automobile dealers in Arkansas. Its geographic territory for those products territory now includes Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama and Texas.

In 2003, it began offering dwelling property and homeowners coverage in Tennessee, and expanded this product to Arkansas in 2012.

According to information posted on its website. Southern Pioneer since 1981 has grown from $500,000 in capital and surplus and zero premium to over $18,000,000 capital and surplus with written premium in excess of $24,000,000 in 2015.

Source: AM Best; Southern Pioneer Property and Casualty Insurance Co.