Fidelity National Financial, the nation’s largest underwriter of title insurance policies, had net earnings of $152 million for 4Q12, down from $233 million in 3Q12 and $173 million one year prior. However, 4Q11 did include $83 million of earnings from discontinued operations, such as the flood insurance business FNF sold in that period.
For the full year, FNF earned $606 million, up from $370 million.
In the quarter, open title orders of 677,400 were a 25% increase over 4Q11. The average fee per file was $1,565, up 6% even though FNF had a larger percentage of refinance orders in the most recent period.
Commercial title revenue was $143 million, up 37% due to a 28% improvement in the fee per file and an 8% increase in closed orders. The fee per commercial file in 4Q12 was $10,600. CEO George Scanlon called 4Q12 “the strongest commercial quarter in the history of our company.”
Fidelity National Title Group had pretax earnings of $251 million for 4Q12 and $783 million for the year, compared with $142 million and $530 million in the same periods in 2011.
FNF’s restaurant group had a pretax loss of $5 million for 4Q12, while its investment in Remy earned $9 million.