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Will refis check title insurers’ losses?

Revenue has shrunk for 11 straight quarters

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The title insurance industry posted a cumulative $710 million operating loss in 2008 -- about eight times bigger than 2007 -- but this year's refinancing boom is expected to provide some welcome relief, an industry association reports. Because title insurers are also paying significantly less in taxes, net losses for 2008 are expected to be a less severe $434.2 million, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) said. But that's still a big turnaround from the $315.1 million in profits the industry registered in 2007, in spite of a cumulative $87.8 million operating loss. In releasing its statistical analysis of the title industry's 2008 results, ALTA said the last three months of the year marked the 11th quarter in a row with declines in title insurance premiums. Not only that, but each quarter's year-over-year decline was greater than the last. In the third quarter of 2007, title revenue was down 15 percent from a year ago. By the fourth quarter of 2008, the year-over-ye...