June 13, 2000, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest title insurers, today announced that it has acquired Advance Title, Inc. in Destin, Fla., from owner Joe Butler. Terms of the acquisition, which closed on June 1, 2000, were not disclosed.

"The Florida panhandle is the leading sector for change in the state with the counties of Walton and Okaloosa being critical growth areas for First American," said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company. "Our acquisition of Advance Title, which also serves the additional county of Santa Rosa, will allow us to combine synergies with our existing offices and provide greater coverage in this area. Advance Title also has an extensive title plant with approximately 35,000 closed files dating back to 1980 covering each county they serve. This, when added to the well-integrated title plants of Associated Land Title Group, purchased earlier this year, will provide faster, more efficient title information to our agents and offices, advancing First American's long-standing reputation as a market leader."

Advance Title, which has another office in Ft. Walton Beach, will operate under its own name as a First American branch. Joe Butler, who has 20 years of title industry experience, and his son, Brett Butler, who has eight years of title industry experience, both will remain with the company as president and chief financial officer, respectively. In addition, both have been named vice presidents of First American Title Insurance Company. First American, which has had an underwriting relationship with Advance Title since 1982, will fold its Ft. Walton Beach and Destin offices into the corresponding offices of Advance Title.

Advance Title was founded in 1981 and overseen exclusively by founder Joe Butler since its inception. Since then, the company has grown to include six licensed title agents and a host of supporting staff offering their professional services from offices in Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.

"We feel this acquisition is the best thing that we could have done," said Butler. "We offer First American a teamwork-oriented, established company with expertise in the growing real estate market in the Florida panhandle. But independently, Advance Title could only grow so far. By aligning ourselves with a company with the national reputation of First American, with its size and technological and financial resources, we are now positioned to service our long-standing and potential customers even more effectively."

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through more than 800 offices and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. Information about The First American Corporation's subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at


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