Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Big title insurers all in the red

Top four companies have shed more than 18,000 jobs

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Four of the nation's five biggest title insurers reported they were in the red during the third quarter, and the fifth -- LandAmerica Financial Inc. -- is also expected to have bad news when it releases results next week. LandAmerica, which surprised analysts in July by announcing a bigger-than-expected $50 million second-quarter loss, was scheduled to release third-quarter numbers Wednesday. Saying it needed additional time to complete and review its financial statements, LandAmerica now says it will release results on Nov. 10. Three months ago, the nation's biggest title insurer, First American Corp., managed to cut expenses faster than revenue declined during the second quarter, and was alone among the big five in reporting a profit (see story). Now, continued weakness in housing markets has caught up with First American, with the company reporting an $8.3 million third-quarter loss despite further cost cutting that included layoffs of 1,250 employees. Since the end of th...