Fitch Ratings Releases U.S. Title Insurance Industry Outlook

December 7, 2005

CHICAGO -- Fitch Ratings published its review and Outlook for the U.S. title insurance industry, with a look back at the industry's favorable results of 2005 and where it defied expectations by increasing revenue and profitability relative to 2004.

Copies of the report are available on Fitch's web site at ''.

The origins of these solid industry operating results include a low mortgage rate environment that promoted strong mortgage origination volume and a robust real estate market, which was reflected in the number of housing starts and sales of new and existing homes.

Fitch's report also looks forward to expected performance for the title insurance industry in 2006. Indeed, Fitch expects the housing market, after reaching record levels of new and existing home sales in 2005, to moderate significantly in 2006. Fitch believes the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is expected to increase through the first half of 2006 but remain low relative to historic norms.

In the mortgage market, refinancing activity in 2006 will account for a smaller percentage than that of past years. Given the industry fundamentals, Fitch expects reduced title operating revenue in 2006, which will still represent a solid result for the industry.

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