Title insurance industry reports best quarter on record

Title premium volume up 32.5% year-over-year

The American Land Title Association saw a 32.5% year-over-year increase in title insurance premium volume during the third quarter of 2021 according to ALTA’s Market Share Analysis, published on Thursday.

During Q3 2021, the title insurance industry generated $6.8 billion in title insurance premiums, marking the industry’s best quarter on record.

Every state besides Oregon, which saw a miniscule 0.7% year-over-year decrease, saw an increase in volume as compared to the same time period last year.

The five states with the largest year-over-year increases in title premium volume in Q3 were Texas (37.7%), California (23.9%), Florida (49.1%), New York (52.1%) and Pennsylvania (35.8%). The same five states held the top spots during the second quarter of 2021.

Total operating income for the industry was up 53.3% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, though operating expenses were also up 29.7%. Loss and loss adjustment expenses were down 10.7% year-over-year.

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Through the first nine months of 2021, premium volume was up 43.7% to $19 billion, compared to $13.3 billion during the first nine months of 2020. The industry has paid out $352.5 million in claims during the first three quarters this year, compared to $347.8 million in claims in the first three quarters of 2020.

The top underwriters in Q3 of 2021 by market share included First American Title insurance Co., with 20.7%, Old Republic National Title Insurance Co., with 14.8%, Chicago Title Insurance Co., with 14.1%, Fidelity National Title Insurance with 13.5% and Stewart Title Guaranty Co., with 8.2%.

It should be noted, however, that Chicago Title is part of Fidelity, which ended 2020 as the largest company by share of premiums written, with 33.9% of the market.

At the close of 2020, First American’s market share was 23.3%, while Old Republic’s was 15% and Stewart’s was 9.6%.

In the third quarter, Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. commanded 5.9% of market share, good for sixth; Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. had 4.0%; WFG National Title Insurance Co. had, 2.7%; Title Resources Guaranty Co. was ninth with 2.4%; and North American Title Insurance Co. had 2.1%

“Not only are ALTA members handling record volume, but title industry professionals continue to help enhance the customer experience to make the settlement process more efficient,” ALTA CEO Diane Tomb said in a statement. “ALTA members are leading the way to help make real estate transactions digital and more accessible. As technology automates and digitizes certain processes of the real estate transaction, ALTA members continue to deliver a valuable service and insurance product. While quicker turnaround times are desired, getting it right and performing essential duties in the settlement process and issuance of title insurance to meet customer needs will remain paramount.” 

While these numbers all paint a promising picture for the industry, the title industry is still grappling with many significant issues, including a talent crunch and antiquated technology.

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