The rapid housing market cool down and the rapid pace at which the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates took their toll on the title insurance industry in 2022. Last year, the industry generated $21 billion in title insurance premiums, down 16% from 2020, according to the American Land Title Association’s Market Share Analysis released Monday.
During the fourth quarter of the year, the title insurance industry generated $4.4 billion in title insurance premiums, down 38% year over year.
Compared to a year ago, the total operating income for the industry was down 37.1%, and operating expenses dropped 34.88% in the same time period. The industry paid $569.1 million in claims in 2022, up from the $474.4 million paid a year prior.
“Title professionals across the country continue to navigate their businesses through this challenging and volatile real estate cycle, dedicated to serving their customers, protecting property rights and supporting their communities despite the uncertainty of the marketplace,” Diane Tomb, the CEO of ALTA, said in a statement.
The five states with the largest title premium volumes in 2022 were Texas ($3.39 billion), Florida ($2.69 billion), California ($1.89 billion), New York ($1.36 billion), and Pennsylvania ($898 million). The same five states held the top spots in 2022.
All five states recorded year-over-year decreases in title premiums in 2022, with California recording the largest yearly drop at 33.1%, and Texas recording the smallest annual drop at 3.9%.
Top underwriters for the quarter by market share included First American Title insurance Co. with 22.1%; Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. with 15.8%; Fidelity National Title Insurance with 13.7%; Chicago Title Insurance Co. with 13.3%; and Stewart Title Guaranty Co. with 8.9%.
However, it should be noted that Chicago Title is part of Fidelity. With 27% of the market, it was again the largest company by share of premiums written in 2022.
During the third quarter of the year, First American’s market share was 22.6%, while Old Republic’s was 16.3% and Stewart’s was 8.7%. Stewart has been looking to reclaim some of the title premium it lost in recent years. As recently as 2019, the firm’s market share was 10.62%.
Rounding out the top 10 for 2022 were Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. with 4.4% of the market, putting it in sixth place. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. had 3.4%, Title Resources Guaranty Co. had 2.5%, WFG National Title Insurance Co. had 2.5% of the market share, and Doma Title had 1.8%. This marks Doma’s return to the top-10 after being bumped out by First National Title Insurance Co. in Q3 2022.
Although the “Big Four” still command the overwhelming majority of the market, with a combined market share of 73.8%, their collective grip is not what it once was. In 2019, independent title underwriters such as Westcor, WFG, and others had a combined market share just shy of 15%, which increased to 26.2% in 2022.