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Title premium volume fell 31% in 2023

As existing home sales dropped to the lowest level it has seen in nearly three decades in 2023, title insurance premium volume also took a hit. In 2023, the title insurance industry generated $15.1 billion in title insurance premiums, a 31% annual drop, according to the American Land Title Association’s  Market Share Analysis, released Tuesday.

In 2022, the title industry generated $21 billion in premiums. ALTA attributed the drop in premium volume to a decrease in mortgage originations.

“While the lack of supply and high mortgage rates continue to hinder home sales and refinances, title professionals continue to serve their customers, protecting property rights and supporting their communities,” Diane Tomb, ALTA’s CEO, said in a statement.

 Even as title premium volume dropped in 2023, the amount the industry paid out in claims rose, jumping from $596 million in 2022 to $638 million in 2023.

The five states with the largest title premium volumes in 2023 were Texas ($2.26 billion), Florida ($1.92 billion), California ($1.30 billion), New York ($899.90 million), and Pennsylvania ($596.40 million). The same five states held the top spots in in 2022.

All five states recorded year-over-year decreases in title premiums in 2023, with New York recording the largest yearly drop at 34.0%, and Florida recording the smallest annual drop at 28.8%.

Top underwriters for the quarter by market share included First American Title insurance Co. with 22.0%; Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. with 15.2%; Fidelity National Title Insurance with 13.4%; Chicago Title Insurance Co. with 13.0%;  and Stewart Title Guaranty Co. with 9.2%.

However, it should be noted that Chicago Title is part of Fidelity. With 26.4% of the market, it was again the largest firm by share of premiums written during the third quarter of 2023.

In the third quarter of 2023, First American’s market share was 21.6%, while Old Republic’s was 14.9%, Fidelity’s was 26.6% and Stewart’s was 9.0%. Stewart has been looking to reclaim some of the title premium it lost in recent years. The firm’s market share was 10.62% as recently as 2019.

Rounding out the top 10 for Q3 2023 were Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. with 3.8% of the market, putting it in sixth place. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. had 3.4%, Title Resources Guaranty Co. had 3.1%, WFG National Title Insurance Co. had 2.5% of the market share, and Doma Title had 2.0%.

The same five firms rounded out the top 10 during the second quarter of the year.

Although the Big Four still command the overwhelming majority of the market with a combined market share of 69.8%, 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 30.2% in 2023.

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