Expansion Helps Push Investors Title to First-Quarter Profit
May 5, 2011
A recent expansion into Texas helped North Carolina-based Investors Title Co. post a profit of $1.02 million during the first quarter of 2011.
The company reported a profit of $17,415 during the same period in 2010.
Total revenues increased 46.2 percent versus the prior year period to $20,022,020, primarily due to a 51.6 percent increase in net premiums written. The premium growth is mainly attributable to the company’s recent expansion into Texas, as well as to an overall increase in purchase transactions insured.
Agent commissions increased 94.3 percent over the prior year as a result of growth in agency premiums and an increase in agent business from markets with higher premium rates, primarily Texas. Excluding commissions and premium taxes, which fluctuate with the amount of premiums written, operating expenses decreased 5.1 percent versus the prior year period, mostly due to the reduction in claims expense. Claims expense benefitted from favorable loss development in recent policy years, as well as from a decline in the relative share of North Carolina business as a percentage of the total.
Since North Carolina’s premium rates are less than half the national average, the resulting loss ratio for North Carolina business is higher than for our other markets. In addition, the company continues to benefit from lower occupancy and operating costs in its branch offices.
“We are pleased to report an increase in revenues driven by continued expansion of our agent base, as well as a favorable mix of business,” said J. Allen Fine, chairman of Investors Title. “Operating expense comparisons remain favorable, driven by positive developments in claims loss rates and the continued impact of cost reduction initiatives from the past several years. Our balance sheet remains very strong, and we continue to focus on enhancing our competitive strengths and market presence.”