Industry News

Job cuts can’t keep LandAmerica out of the red

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A 28 percent decline in revenue helped push title insurer LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. to a $24.2 million first-quarter loss, despite ongoing cost-cutting measures that include the elimination of the equivalent of 3,600 full-time positions since the beginning of 2007. LandAmerica said "persistently" lower residential mortgage originations helped reduce first-quarter revenue to $686.4 million, down from $948.6 million a year ago. The Richmond, Va.-based company, which also provides escrow and closing services for lenders, developers and real estate agents, reported that claims as a percentage of operating revenue in the title insurance segment rose to 9.7 percent, up from 6.5 percent a year ago. The claims provision for the first quarter included $43.4 million for the 2008 policy year and $13.7 million for increases in claims rates for policies in prior years. LandAmerica said that companywide, it reduced full-time equivalent positions by approximately 300...