It was another quarter of mixed results for the publicly traded title insurance underwriters.
However, at three firms, the biggest news happened after the third quarter ended. While not exactly a shocker, the fact that after a decade Old Republic International has finally given up on reviving its mortgage insurance subsidiary should cheer investors.
First American became the last of the big four underwriters to settle no-poaching allegations with New York State, and ended up with the largest fine, at $4.5 million.
Meanwhile, Fidelity National is putting more money into the life insurer it spun off; as one analyst put it, expectations were the title insurer would reduce its stake in F&G, not increase it.
BTIG analyst Soham Bhonsie expressed optimism for the sector.
“Recent trends reported by FNF, First American and to some extent Stewart Title have all had one common theme: October orders were better than expected, despite the move higher in rates,” said Bhonsie, who does not cover Old Republic.
“These are all signs that point to a trough in volumes in our view, and with comps easing over for next few quarters, we think the setup for the sector heading into full year 2024 is becoming increasingly attractive.”