Top Title Insurers Earn Money


The nation’s second largest title insurer, First American Financial Corp., earned $21 million in the third quarter, a 36% decline compared to the same period a year ago as revenues fell 3% due to a decline in title premiums.

Meanwhile, its competitor Stewart Information Services Corp., posted net earnings of $4.5 million for the period, compared to a year ago loss of $3 million.

Both firms said that even though they had fewer title orders during the period, revenue per order increased because of higher home purchase transactions.

Commercial title related revenue – also with higher revenues per transaction — increased at both companies.

In the third quarter, Stewart took a $4.7 million charge related to reserves for large title claims. Its co-CEO and chairman Malcolm Morris said the breadth of the company’s product offerings would allow it to benefit going forward from changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program. (Stewart also operates a real estate owned services business.)

First American CEO Dennis Gilmore said the company has seen a significant increase in new orders in August and September due to the low interest rate environment. That trend has continued into October, setting up a large pipeline of business for the fourth quarter, he said.

Daily Briefing | Thursday, October 27, 2011

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