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Old Republic Records 12.8% Decline In Net Income In 2023

Despite cooling interest rates, the title insurance segment at Big Four title firm Old Republic recorded a 22.8% annualized decline in net premiums and fees during the fourth quarter of 2023, which contributed heavily to a 12.8% decrease for all of last year.

During the last three months of the year, the company’s title segment reported that it earned $645.4 million in net premiums and fees. In addition, the title segment also reported a pretax income of $43.9 million, down 2.5% for the quarter.

For the full year, Old Republic’s title segment reported net fee and premium earnings of $2.563 billion, down 33.2% compared to 2022, and a pretax income of $133.5 million, a drop of 56.7%. In its earnings release, Old Republic noted that some of the title segment’s decline can be tied to a 21% pullback in commercial premiums in the fourth quarter and a 22% drop in commercial premiums for the year as a whole.

“As we have discussed on previous earning calls, 2023 was a challenging real estate market,” Carolyn Monroe, the president and CEO of Old Republic National Title Holding Co., said during the firm’s fourth-quarter earnings call with investors last Thursday. “Our full year premiums and fees reflect those market conditions and were down around 33% compared to 2022.”

Declines in the firm’s title segment were partially offset by growth in its general insurance sector. As a whole, Old Republic reported total operating revenue of $1.9408 billion in Q4 2023, down 2.8% annually, and a net income of $190.6 million, down 62.8% year over year.

For full year 2023, Old Republic reported a total operating revenue of $7.4493 billion, down 10.1% from 2022, and a net income of $598.6 million, a yearly decrease of 12.8%.

Looking ahead to 2024, the century-old firm says it is looking to modernize through improved technology and automation.

“These initiatives improve the efficiency of our teams, which will allow us to take advantage of improving market conditions when they occur with less of a need to scale up,” Monroe said.

“We’re very mindful of the slower revenues, but there’s just some things that when you’re a company that manages for the long run, you have to continue doing. And we are fortunate that we’ve been allowed to continue investing in our technology, and a lot of it has to do with being prepared for with the cyber issues, that type of thing. It just isn’t the right time to really cut back.”

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