More borrowers used private mortgage insurance in the month of August to buy or refinance a home mortgage, according to data from the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America.

The industry trade group reached that conclusion by analyzing data from its members firms, including Genworth Mortgage Insurance (GNW), Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. and Radian Guaranty (RDN).

The uptick in borrowers using MI is good news for an industry reliant on building up its capital reserves in the face of challenges. But the sector remains mired in uncertainty caused by today's economic landscape and a lack of clarity about the future of mortgage insurance in the lending process.

Still, MICA found that 43,949 borrowers used private MI in August as part of their real estate transactions, up from 39,192 in July.

The member companies had $397.5 billion in primary mortgage insurance in August, a slight increase from $396.4 billion in July.

New insurance written on conventional mortgages totaled $11.3 billion in August, compared to $10.1 billion a month earlier.

A little less than 47,000 borrowers submitted applications for mortgage insurance.

The period also brought 24,731 defaults and 20,612 cures on loans insured by MICA's three member insurers.

Mortgage insurance continues to pique the interest of analysts even as the industry faces severe headwinds from regulatory uncertainty and a slothful real estate recovery.

Bose George, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, noted in August that there's great interest in the new mortgage insurance contracts. "The mortgage credit quality is very strong, and there is an expectation that the new business will be profitable," George said.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com