First American Launches New Title Division to Increase Market Share and Improve Profitability


February 27, 2003, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation’s leading diversified provider of business information and related products and services, today announced that’s its largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, will launch a new operating division designed to aggressively compete for market share in key regions across the United States. 

The new division, The Talon Group, will provide high-quality title and settlement services in the nation’s top real estate markets. While other national title insurance underwriters have kept multiple brands following acquisitions, this is the first time a company in the title industry has intentionally established a competitive brand in order to gain market share and improve long-term profitability.  

“First American is committed to improving the overall profitability of our title operations and expanding our presence in the marketplace,” said Parker S. Kennedy, president of The First American Corporation. “Building parallel title operations allows us to quickly grow market share and leverage our automated title production systems to spread fixed costs; doubling the impact of our sales force and contributing to improved margins.”

Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company said: “First American’s strength has always been in the quality of its people. We already have many of the best people in the business. With The Talon Group, we gain the ability to recruit experienced title veterans, while preserving First American’s top people. In the past, First American has been forced to pass on opportunities to hire and bring in new relationship-based business because we already had very good people in key positions across the company. The introduction of The Talon Group will allow our company and its shareholders to benefit from the best both groups will offer.”

The Talon Group will issue title insurance policies underwritten by First American Title Insurance Company and will provide First American’s other title-related products and services. The Talon Group will focus its efforts on key areas of the nation where nearly 70 percent of the country’s real estate transactions occur. These high-volume areas have centralized title production where The Talon Group can take full advantage of First American’s industry-leading FAST Transaction System to speed title production.

William T. Halvorsen, president of the new title division said: “The Talon Group will offer a service-oriented approach unlike anything the industry has seen before. The Talon Group will attract new customers to its own unique culture and through a national network of existing business relationships. Our team of industry veterans is experienced in a variety of geographic markets and understands the title business, both as a national underwriter and as a large agent. We believe this perspective will greatly benefit our customers and give us an advantage over the competition.”

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 nearly 1,100 offices and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. 

The First American Corporation, a Fortune 500 company and the nation’s leading diversified provider of business information, supplies businesses and consumers with the information resources that affect the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job; renting an apartment; buying a car, house, boat or airplane; securing a mortgage; opening or buying a business; and planning for retirement. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within seven primary business segments including: Title Information and Services, Specialty Insurance, Trust and Other Services, Mortgage Information, Property Information, Credit Information and Screening Information. With revenues of $4.70 billion in 2002, First American has more than 25,000 employees in approximately 1,300 offices across the nation and around the world. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.

Certain statements made in this press release, including those relating to market share growth, efficiencies gained from title production systems, sales force impact and margin improvement are forward-looking. Risks and uncertainties exist which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the anticipated results to differ from those described in the forward-looking statements include: interest rate fluctuations; changes in the performance of the real estate markets; access to public records and other data; general volatility in the capital markets; changes in applicable government regulations; consolidation among the company’s significant customers and competitors; the company’s continued ability to identify businesses to be acquired; changes in the company’s ability to integrate businesses which it acquires; and other factors described in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2001, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. The company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made.

 

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