OCTOBER 04, 2022 11:28 AM (EDT)
Best’s Market Segment Report: U.S. Title Insurers Post Solid Results for 2021 Amid Volatile Landscape
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - OCTOBER 04, 2022 11:28 AM (EDT)
The U.S. title insurance industry saw its net income jump 46% in 2021 to $2.3 billion, more than double the increase seen in the previous year. However, according to a new AM Best report, macroeconomic pressures in 2022, specifically those affecting mortgage rates, have created a volatile landscape for title insurers.
The Best’s Market Segment Report, “Solid Results for 2021 amid a Volatile Landscape for Title Insurers,” states that the title segment’s top-line premium growth, improved underwriting and strong operating performance in 2021 helped bolster its capital strength heading into 2022, despite the inflationary pressures, the near-certainty of interest rate hikes and a reduction in monetary support from the government. The title industry recorded net premiums written growth of 33% in 2021 to $24.8 billion, representing largest year-over-year increase of the last decade. Title insurers also have generated double-digit growth in net underwriting income each of the last four years, including growth of more than 40% in 2020 and 2021— with the last two years representing the highest totals of the decade. The improvements in loss and loss adjustment expense and underwriting expense ratios reflected tighter credit standards and effective expense management.
“In 2020 and 2021, surges in the economy and the housing market, and hence, the title industry, were supported by extraordinary monetary policy through lower interest rates and the Fed’s purchase of mortgage securities, but stubbornly high inflation has forced the Fed to pivot its policy response in 2022,” said David Blades, associate director, AM Best. “The tightening cycle will likely continue throughout the remainder of 2022, with additional rate increases forecast later this year and in 2023.”
With the tightening financial conditions, the housing market is showing signs of softening, owing to the higher mortgage rates, a lack of affordability and a slowing economy. Rising interest rates have prompted a decline in refinancings as well. “As has historically been the case, macroeconomic factors are likely to play a large part in determining the health of the title market throughout the latter portion of 2022 and into 2023,” said Kourtnie Beckwith, financial analyst, AM Best.
AM Best expects the title segment’s growth to slow substantially in the latter part of 2022 and into 2023, in light of the ongoing hikes in interest rates, reduced monetary support from the government, inflationary pressures and a possible decline in consumer confidence. However, despite a significant slowdown, the title segment should remain profitable. Title companies will continue to seize opportunities to grow, such as forming partnerships or acquiring tech companies that complement their operations, and as regional and local title insurers expand their market share. As a result, AM Best is holding its outlook for the title industry at stable, unless first-quarter 2023 data suggests something widely different than anticipated.
To access the full copy of this market segment report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=324592 .
AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.