Rates head up as title insurance biz booms

Fidelity, First American cutting costs, raising rates

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After cutting thousands of employees to stem losses in 2008, title insurers have seen a dramatic increase in business in recent months that’s largely driven by homeowners rushing to refinance loans to take advantage of low interest rates

As business picks up, First American Corp. and Fidelity National Financial Inc. — parent companies of underwriters that insure about three quarters of title insurance policies — have increased or plan to increase rates by up to 20 percent in the states that generate most of their businesses.