Title Insurance Giant Fidelity Sees Huge Jump in Earnings

Fidelity National Financial Inc., the largest title insurance underwriter in the nation, earned $233 million in the third quarter, a 214% spike compared to the same period a year earlier with its pretax margins increasing 220 basis points.

Fidelity’s title insurance business alone posted pretax earnings of $210 million, up from $138 million in 3Q11.

"This quarter again highlights the strength of our title business in an environment of steady, consistent order volumes," said CEO George  Scanlon. "Open and closed orders were primarily refinance driven and generally similar to the second quarter of this year, and we generated another strong 14.4% pretax title margin.”

Scanlon added that the firm also experienced a 7% increase in open resale orders versus the third quarter of 2011, “continuing the improvement in purchase volume we have seen throughout 2012. We are excited about our future earnings potential as we begin to see more meaningful and sustained improvement in the residential purchase market.”

The one slow spot on the title side was in commercial with revenue falling 7% to $92 million from 3Q11, driven by a 10% decline in fee per file.  

FNF’s non-title businesses, including restaurants and aftermarket products for automobiles, added an additional $123 million to pretax earnings.