Fitch Affirms Ratings Of Old Republic Title Group At 'AA-'

January 25, 2002

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Fitch has affirmed the 'AA-' insurer financial strength ratings of the Old Republic Title Group (ORT), which consists of the following title insurance companies: Old Republic National Title Insurance Co., Old Republic General Title Insurance Corp., Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Co. and American Guaranty Title Co. The Rating Outlook is Stable.

ORT's ratings are supported by its position as a national title insurer, and conservative capital position as measured by Fitch's risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio. ORT is owned by Old Republic International Corp. (NYSE: ORI - news), a publicly traded insurance organization, with interests in property/casualty, title, mortgage guaranty, and life insurance. The support and financial flexibility that ORI provides ORT is factored into the ratings. ORI reported consolidated GAAP assets of $7.8 billion and stockholders' equity of $2.7 billion at Sept. 30, 2001. ORT has maintained its market share, but as the smallest of the national title insurers, it is continually challenged to retain its competitive position and grow market share.

ORT's consolidated GAAP revenue and fees for the first nine months of 2001 were $466 million, up from $384 million in the comparable period in 2000. Pretax operating income over the same period was $52.8 million, which already exceeds the figure for full-year 2000. Title insurance in general benefited from a declining interest rate environment during 2001, which triggered a refinancing boom. However, industry results are expected to decline in 2002 as the real estate market is negatively impacted by the economic recession.

Fitch uses its own risk-adjusted capital ratio to measure the capital adequacy of title insurance companies. ORT's risk-adjusted capital ratio was the highest of the national title insurers at 265%, and contributes to its insurer financial strength ratings.

Entity/Issue/Type

Action

Rating/Outlook

Old Republic National Title Ins. Co.

IFS Affirmed

'AA-'/Stable

Old Republic General Title Ins. Corp.

IFS Affirmed

'AA-'/Stable

Mississippi Valley Title Ins. Co.

IFS Affirmed

'AA-'/Stable

American Guaranty Title Ins. Co.

IFS Affirmed

'AA-'/Stable

Source: Fitch


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

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