First American Acquires United General Title Insurance Company

—Increases Market Share in Key Real Estate Markets—


February 24, 2005, SANTA ANA, Calif. and DENVER

First American Title Insurance Company announced today that it has acquired privately held United General Financial Services, Inc., and its subsidiary companies, including United General Title Insurance Company, for an undisclosed purchase price. The acquisition closed Feb. 18, 2005. 

Headquartered in Denver, United General has been one of the nation’s fastest growing title insurers since its purchase by current president and chief executive officer John P. Dwyer and key management personnel in 1995.  Gross revenues increased from approximately $38 million in 1995 to $208 million in 2004. A licensed title insurance underwriter in 36 states and the District of Columbia, United General has an extensive network of affiliated agents across the U.S. and direct office operations in California.  According to 2003 market share statistics published by the American Land Title Association, United General is the 6th largest title insurer by geographic coverage in the country with 1.64 percent national market share.  It is well-established in the key title insurance markets of California, New York, Texas and Florida.  In 2004, Demotech, Inc., a financial analysis and actuarial firm independent of the insurers it reviews, rated United General as “A’ A Prime. Unsurpassed. Strongly recommended for commercial real estate transactions.”     

“United General is a tremendous addition to the First American family of companies and an important component of our growth strategies,” said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company.  “It is a well-run, profitable company with a solid reputation, and it has made significant gains in major markets across the country.  Its commitment to integrity and quality service are well-aligned with First American’s corporate values, and we look forward to helping further grow United General into a major national brand.”

Established in Louisiana in 1983, United General was redomiciled in Colorado in 1999. In 2001, the company formed RealAlliance®, a joint venture between United General and two leading title insurance underwriters operating nationally through a network of local title agents. Real Alliance uses a proprietary transaction management system that enables local, independent agents to work seamlessly with other independent agents to perform transactions across 48 states and in every major U.S. real estate market.      

“In this time of industry change and transition, we have found in First American a company that is committed to the core values of the industry—its tradition, history and agents—while being squarely focused on and leading the evolution of the industry,” said John P. Dwyer, president and chief executive officer of United General Financial Services and United General Title Insurance Company.  “First American’s financial strength and industry expertise considerably enhance our ability to grow our business and provide significant additional resources to our agents, while remaining ever-focused on our core principles and objectives.” 

Dwyer will continue to manage United General as company president and hold the position of regional vice president with First American Title Insurance Company.  In addition to Dwyer, all key management personnel will continue with United General.

About United General
United General Financial Services provides title insurance products and services through United General Title Insurance Company. United General Title Insurance Company is one of the fastest growing title insurers with a national scope, dedicated to increasing the productivity and profitability of its agents and customers. The Company's services are marketed through a network of carefully selected agents and, where agents are not readily available, through direct offices and employees representing 36 states and the District of Columbia. Plus, through strategic business arrangements, United General can serve the needs of customers in 46 jurisdictions. To characterize United General's growth, the Company's gross revenues in 1995 were approximately $38 million and in 2003 topped $257 million.


About First American
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 nearly 1,500 offices and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. The company has its headquarters in Santa AnaCalif. 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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