Reverberations and repercussions from the pandemic continue to move through the real estate market. The latest news of such comes from American Land Title Association (ALTA) who found that, driven by meteoric rise in originations and home values last year, has caused title insurance premiums to increase by 35.9% in 2021.
The 35.9% increase seen last year in comparison to 2020 equates to $26.2 billion in title insurance premiums during the calendar year compared with $19.2 billion in 2020.
The report also found that total operating income for the industry was up 33.4%, operating expenses increased 32% and loss and loss adjustment expenses were up 2.3.
In 2021, the industry paid out more than $474.4 million in claims.
That is not to say the news of higher prices is the full story either. In fact, the cost of title insurance has actually gone down by 7% since 2004. This means for each dollar of premium a consumer purchases, they get an extra $26 in coverage compared with 2004.
“Incredibly low mortgage rates lead to an unprecedented increase in real estate transactions and substantially higher home values,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s CEO. “Those factors—caused in part by the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic—contributed to the record title insurance premium volume, which the title industry won’t see again soon. The majority of title professionals were busier in 2021 than they ever have been, but even important than volume is that—no matter how busy they are—ALTA members continue to prioritize accuracy, security and efficiency to ensure homebuyers are protected before they even step over their new threshold.”
The top 10 underwriters identified by ALTA are:
- First American Title Insurance Co., 20.5%
- Old Republic National Title Insurance Co., 14.8%
- Chicago Title Insurance Co., 14%
- Fidelity National Title Insurance Co., 13.5%
- Stewart Title Guaranty Co., 8.9%
- Westcor Land Title Insurance Co., 5.9%
- Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co., 4.1%
- WFG National Title Insurance Co., 2.8%
- Title Resources Guaranty Co., 2.4%
- Doma Title Insurance Co., 1.9 %
Top 5 States:
Texas, $3.52 billion (+39.5%)
Florida, $2.89 billion (+52.1%)
California, $2.82 billion (+24.6%)
New York, $1.45 billion (+42.8%)
Pennsylvania, $1.18 billion (+42.4%)