Title Insurers Look to Cost Cutting

Mortgage & Real Estate

The presentations of three national title insurance underwriters at the Keefe Bruyette Woods insurance conference held on Wednesday concentrated on the importance of focusing on profitability in the current real estate market, analyst notes said.

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Fidelity National Financial, First American Corp. and Stewart Information Services highlighted their expense control efforts such as “actively monitoring weekly operating metrics, making sure that employees/managers are appropriately incentivized (and had ‘skin in the game’), off-shoring, centralization, standardization and headcount management,” said Nathaniel Otis and William Clark.

The analysts pointed out title underwriters are benefiting from the low interest rate environment, both in terms of increased residential transactions as well as growing commercial business.

They added the home sales market may be better than what trade groups like the Mortgage Bankers Association are reporting; in its presentation, Fidelity said 30% of its deals are cash.

Stewart said it is focusing on strengthening its statutory surplus and raising its rating back to the A range.

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