Title Industry Reports First Cumulative Net Loss in Over 20 Years

Columbus, Ohio – April 30, 2009:
  The 2008 financial results for the Title insurance industry were less than stellar.  In fact, it was the worst year ever recorded in the history of Performance of Title Insurance Companies.  As some Title underwriters went out of business, others needed relief via acquisition, and of those that survived, an over-whelming majority had lower Operating Income, with an average decrease of 24 percent as compared to the prior year.

The collapse of the financial markets compounded these losses in operations and consequently led to a decrease in Net Investments of 28 percent for all companies from the previous year.  These results contributed to a Net Loss of nearly $400 million for the industry.  While all of the NAIC Title underwriter groups reported a Net Loss, the unaffiliated Title underwriters combined for a Net Gain.  Moreover, Title Resources Guaranty Company posted very strong results and other smaller underwriters also had solid financial results given the general economic conditions present in 2008.  Chicago Title Insurance Company led all underwriters with a Net Operating Gain of over $100 million, but Fidelity results overall were heavily impacted by the LandAmerica companies acquired at the end of the year.

In addition to experiencing a decline in revenue, the Title industry reported increased loss activity as Direct Losses Paid increased 7 percent as compared to 2007.  However, unlike Direct Written Premium, the losses were highly regionalized as a few larger states, such as Ohio and Colorado, reported a dramatic decrease in Paid Losses.

It is expected that the Title industry will continue to face more financial hardships until the housing market and the broader economy improve.  Amidst all the negatives and challenging results, the industry remains well capitalized and Demotech, Inc. expects a return to profitability in 2009.

Title Industry Information and Analysis

For over 20 years, Performance of Title Insurance Companies has assisted in analyzing the Title insurance industry and its competitive landscape with industry-wide benchmarks, along with underwriters and group level analysis for competitive assessment.  Representing more than 99% of the Title industry, Demotech Performance of Title Insurance Companies is the most complete and thorough industry analysis available.

The 2009 edition of Demotech Performance of Title Insurance Companies presents year-end 2008 Title industry results with extensive supporting detail and reports and can be ordered now by contacting Demotech at (800) 354-7207 or visiting https://www.demotech.com.

For more information regarding Demotech Performance of Title Insurance Companies and the availability of customized research and analysis of Title industry data from our Form 9 database, including sample industry analysis reports and publication excerpts, visit https://www.demotech.com/ptic.

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Paul Osborne, Senior Consultant
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