FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY ACQUIRES FLORIDA-BASED PALM COAST ABSTRACT & TITLE


March 19, 2002, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation’s largest title insurers and a member of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) family of companies, today announced that it has acquired Palm Coast Abstract & Title Company and Blyar Financial, Inc., both of Palm Coast, Fla., from their owner, Raymond L. Bauch. Terms of the acquisition, which was effective as of Feb. 1, 2002, were not disclosed.

The acquisition marks First American’s tenth title company purchase in Florida, where it now has 118 direct offices. 

“Palm Coast Title is a well-run operation in a rapidly growing community,” said Mike Conway, Southeast region vice president for First American Title Insurance Company.  “We see this as a great opportunity to increase our presence in Northeast Florida and another step toward our goal of creating the state’s most comprehensive network of title branches and agents."            

Palm Coast Abstract & Title serves the Flagler and St. John’s county area, one of the fastest growing real estate markets on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.  Located off the I-95 corridor between Jacksonville, Fla., and Daytona Beach, Fla., the area includes several new property developments, many with homes in the $2-3 million range.  Blyar Financial has served as the holding company for Palm Coast Abstract & Title since acquiring it in 1995.  

Laura Leonardo, manager of Palm Coast Abstract & Title, will continue to oversee operations at the title office in Palm Coast.  Leonardo, a former First American employee who serves on the board of directors of the Palm Coast chamber of commerce, will re-join First American Title as a vice president.

“Becoming part of the First American family again is very exciting,” said Leonardo.  “I feel privileged to be part of this organization.”

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American Corporation, traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through more than 900 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 www.firstam.com.

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