, and did little to help title premium volume during the first quarter of 2023. In the first three months of the year, the title industry generated $3.37 billion in title insurance premiums, down 43% from the prior year, according to he American Land Title Association‘s released on Thursday.
Compared to the prior year, total operating income decreased by 71.6%. However, the trade group noted that the industry remains in a strong financial position, with total assets of almost $11.7 billion, while legal surplus was $5.2 billion and legal reserves were $5.9 billion.
In addition to lower premium volume, the industry also paid $162.7 million in claims, up from $132.5 million in the first quarter of 2022.
The five states with the highest title premium volumes during the first quarter of the year were Texas ($522.896 million), Florida ($421.968 million), California ($238.769 million), New York ($213.157 million) and Pennsylvania ($133.286 million). The same five states held the top spots in 2022.
All five states posted year-over-year declines in title premiums in the first quarter of 2023, with California posting the largest annual decline at 49.2% and Florida posting the smallest annual decline at 39.5%.
Main subscribers of the quarter by market share includedwith 23.0%; with 15.5%; with 12.7%; chicago title insurance company with 12.4%; and Stewart Title Guaranty Co. with 9.6%.
However, it should be noted that Chicago Title is part of Fidelity. With 25.1% of the market, it was once again the largest company by share of premiums issued during the first quarter of 2023.
, First American’s market share was 22.1%, while Old Republic’s was 15.8%, Fidelity’s 27%, and Stewart’s 8.9%. Stewart has been looking to recoup some of the title bonus he’s lost in recent years. The company’s market share was 10.62% as recently as .
Rounding out the top 10 for the first quarter of 2023 were Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. with 3.7% of the market, placing it in sixth place. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. had 3.3%, Title Resources Guaranty Co. had 2.9%, WFG National Title Insurance Company had 2.4% of the market share, and Dressage Title had 2.0%.
Although the “Big Four” still control the overwhelming majority of the market with a combined 73.2% market share, their collective control is no longer what it once was. In 2019, independent title underwriters such as Westcor, WFG and others had a combined market share of just under 15%, which increased to 26.8% in the first quarter of 2023.