Companies in this industry offer insurance policies to protect homeowners and other owners of real estate, as well as real estate creditors. Major companies include Fidelity National Financial, First American Title Insurance, Old Republic National Title, and Stewart Title (all based in the US), as well as First Canadian Title and Secure Legal Title (UK).
Home sales and mortgage refinancing are the primary drivers of demand for the title insurance industry. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations because of the large volume of transactions. Large companies benefit from economies of scale in access to large accumulated databases of property records. Small companies can mainly compete by specializing in nonstandard titles or in geographical regions that the large companies don't cover. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 20 largest companies account for about 95% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
About 75% of industry revenue comes from title insurance products and premiums; about 15% comes from title search, title reconveyance and other fees. The two types of title insurance policies, for owners and lenders, may be issued for residential or commercial properties. While many companies target individual home buyers, some companies specialize in commercial properties. Both property sales and mortgage refinancing trigger the need for a title search and an insurance policy.