Mortgage insurer PMI Group (PMI) lost $281.1 million in the third quarter, or $1.74 per share, as the company set aside more funds for potential losses. The loss more than tripled the $87.9 million lost in the third quarter of last year. The company said the biggest hit came from an increase in deferred tax asset valuation allowance, which increased 41% from the previous quarter to $434 million total. That increase, PMI said, comes as the company's losses in recent periods exceeded expectations. The total number of primary mortgage loans in default fell 12% from a year ago to 131,891 loans. Radian Group (RDN), another mortgage insurer, said defaults in its pools decreased as well, but it reported $112 million in earnings. PMI paid out $322.7 million in claims for the quarter, but wrote insurance for more loans. The company totaled $2 billion in new insurance written, a 40% increase from a year ago. As of the end of the quarter, the total amount of primary insurance in force for PMI was $104.6 billion, down 10% from a year ago. Write to Jon Prior.