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 Secure Legal Title (UK).
Many large US-based companies provide title insurance in Europe and in countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, and South Korea, often for US buyers and lenders. The reliability of government systems of land registration reduces the market for title insurance in countries other than the US, however. The European title insurance market amounts to about only 1% of the US market. The US has no single, comprehensive system of land registration.
The US title insurance industry includes about 2,800 establishments with combined annual revenue of about $14.5 billion.
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 50 largest companies account for about 95% of revenue....