Old Republic International Corp. reported positive revenue for 2020, in large part because its title insurance arm made up for a decrease in general earned premiums.
The Chicago-based company saw a total of $670 million in net income in 2020, excluding investment gains or losses, up 21% from $554 million in 2019. This growth stemmed from greater profitability in the general and title insurance segments.
This comes as no surprise as mortgage title insurance premiums surged by 17.6% year over year in the third quarter to $5.1 billion, according to the market share analysis released at the end of last year from the American Land Title Association.
The company said that while COVID-19 and the response to the pandemic resulted in lower earned premiums for its general insurance segment, title insurance remained strong.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated governmental responses continued to have a widespread impact on the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter,” Old Republic stated in its earnings release. “A majority of Old Republic’s approximately 9,000 associates are working remotely. The pandemic’s impact on employment levels, businesses, and other economic activities contributed to a slight reduction in earned premiums in the General Insurance segment. The Title Insurance segment experienced strong growth in premium and fee revenues.”
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Old Republic reported a 20% increase in title insurance income for the full year in 2020, rounding out at $3.29 billion, compared to $2.74 billion in 2019.
“Title Insurance operating revenues were up 30.3% in the fourth quarter and 19.8% for the full year,” the company stated. “This performance was driven by a robust real estate market supported by a continued low interest rate environment, resulting in an increase in home sales and refinance activity. Net investment income was relatively flat for the quarter and increased slightly for the year-to-date period.”
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