February 24, 2024

Housing Finance Development

It's Your Housing Finance Development

INVESTORS TITLE CO MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (form 10-K)

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated
Financial Statements and the related notes in this report. The following
discussion may contain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking
statements are based on certain assumptions and expectations of future events
that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may
vary. See the sections in this Annual Report on Form 10-K titled “Safe Harbor
and Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” included in Part I, Item 1A
that could affect forward-looking statements.


                                       19

——————————————————————————–

Overview

Investors Title Company (the “Company”) is a holding company that engages
primarily in issuing title insurance through two subsidiaries, Investors Title
Insurance Company
(“ITIC”) and National Investors Title Insurance Company
(“NITIC”). Total revenues from the title segment accounted for 94.9% of the
Company’s revenues in 2022. Through ITIC and NITIC, the Company underwrites land
title insurance for owners and mortgagees as a primary insurer.

Title insurance protects against loss or damage resulting from title defects
that affect real property. When real property is conveyed from one party to
another, occasionally there is an undisclosed defect in the title or a mistake
or omission in a prior deed, will or mortgage that may give a third party a
legal claim against such property. If a covered claim is made against real
property, title insurance provides indemnification against insured defects.

There are two basic types of title insurance policies – one for the mortgage
lender and one for the real property owner. A lender often requires the property
owner to purchase a lender’s title insurance policy to protect its position as a
holder of a mortgage loan, but the lender’s title insurance policy does not
protect the property owner. The property owner has to purchase a separate
owner’s title insurance policy to protect its investment.

The Company issues title insurance policies directly and through a network of
agents. Issuing agents are typically real estate attorneys, independent agents
or subsidiaries of community and regional mortgage lending institutions,
depending on local customs and regulations and the Company’s marketing strategy
in a particular territory. The ability to attract and retain issuing agents is a
key determinant of the Company’s growth in title insurance premiums written.

Revenues for the title insurance segment primarily result from purchases of new
and existing residential and commercial real estate, refinance activity and
certain other types of mortgage lending such as home equity lines of credit.

Title insurance premiums vary from state to state and are subject to extensive
regulation. Statutes generally provide that rates must not be excessive,
inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. The process of implementing a rate change
in most states involves pre-approval by the applicable state insurance
regulator.

Volume is a factor in the Company’s profitability due to fixed operating costs
that are incurred by the Company regardless of title insurance premium volume.
The resulting operating leverage tends to amplify the impact of changes in
volume on the Company’s profitability. The Company’s profitability also depends,
in part, upon its ability to manage its investment portfolio to maximize
investment returns and to minimize risks such as interest rate changes, defaults
and impairments of assets.

The Company’s volume of title insurance premiums is affected by the overall
level of residential and commercial real estate activity, which includes
property sales, mortgage financing and mortgage refinancing. Real estate
activity, home sales and mortgage lending are cyclical in nature. Real estate
activity is affected by a number of factors, including the availability of
mortgage credit, the cost of real estate, consumer confidence, employment and
family income levels, and general United States economic conditions. Interest
rate volatility is also an important factor in the level of residential and
commercial real estate activity.

The Company’s title insurance premiums in future periods are likely to fluctuate
due to these and other factors which are beyond management’s control.

Services other than title insurance provided by operating divisions of the
Company are not reported separately, but rather are reported collectively in a
category called “All Other”. These other services include those offered by the
Company and by its wholly owned subsidiaries, Investors Title Exchange
Corporation
(“ITEC”), Investors Title Accommodation Corporation (“ITAC”),
Investors Trust Company (“Investors Trust“) and Investors Title Management
Services, Inc.
(“ITMS”).


                                       20

——————————————————————————–

The Company’s exchange services division, consisting of the operations of ITEC
and ITAC, provides customer services in connection with tax-deferred real
property exchanges. ITEC acts as a qualified intermediary in tax-deferred
exchanges of real property held for productive use in a trade or business or for
investment, and its income is derived from fees for handling exchange
transactions and interest earned on client deposits held by the Company. In its
role as qualified intermediary, ITEC coordinates the exchange aspects of the
real estate transaction, and its duties include drafting standard exchange
documents, holding the exchange funds between the time the old property is sold
and the new property is purchased, and accepting the formal identification of
the replacement property within the required identification period. ITAC
provides services as an exchange accommodation titleholder for accomplishing
“parking transactions” as set forth in the safe harbor contained in Internal
Revenue Procedure 2000-37. These transactions include reverse exchanges when
taxpayers decide to acquire replacement property before selling the relinquished
property, or “build to suit” exchanges, when improvements must be made to the
replacement property before the taxpayer acquires the improved replacement
property. The services provided by the Company’s exchange services division,
ITEC and ITAC, are pursuant to provisions in the IRC. From time to time, these
laws are subject to review and changes, which may negatively affect the demand
for tax-deferred exchanges in general, and consequently, the revenues and
profitability of the Company’s exchange services division.

The Company’s trust services division, Investors Trust, provides investment
management and trust services to individuals, companies, banks and trusts.

ITMS offers various consulting and management services to provide clients with
the technical expertise to start and successfully operate a title insurance
agency.

Business Trends and Recent Conditions

The housing market is heavily influenced by government policies and overall
economic conditions. Regulatory reform and initiatives by various governmental
agencies, including the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and other regulatory
changes, could impact lending standards or the processes and procedures used by
the Company. The current real estate environment, including interest rates and
general economic activity, typically influence the demand for real estate.
Changes in either of these areas, in addition to ongoing supply constraints and
volatility in the cost and availability of building materials, could impact the
Company’s results of operations in future periods.

COVID-19 could continue to affect the Company in a number of ways including, but
not limited to, the impact of employees becoming ill, quarantined, or otherwise
unable to work or travel due to illness or governmental restriction, potential
decreases in net premiums written in the future, and future fluctuations in the
Company’s investment portfolio.

The current period of inflation, as well as ongoing military conflict between
Russia and Ukraine, has created additional volatile market conditions and
uncertainties in the global economy. These events have impacted and could
continue to impact the Company in a number of ways including, but not limited
to, future fluctuations in the Company’s investment portfolio and potential
decreases in net premiums written. The Federal Open Market Committee (“FOMC”) of
the Federal Reserve has been highly attentive to the risks that these events
have created, and in response has been raising the target federal funds rate at
recent meetings. Although the federal funds rate does not directly impact
mortgage interest rates, it can have a significant influence as lenders pass on
the costs of rate increases to consumers. Higher mortgage interest rates have
impacted the demand and pricing of real estate.

Regulatory Environment

The FOMC issues disclosures on a periodic basis that include projections of the
federal funds rate and expected actions. The FOMC had maintained a target range
between 0.00% and 0.25% from March 2020 until March 2022, when the target
federal funds rate range was increased to between 0.25% and 0.50%. The target
federal funds rate range was further raised at subsequent meetings, with the
FOMC’s most recent change increasing the target range in February 2023 to
between 4.50% and 4.75%. The FOMC has noted that it anticipates that ongoing
increases in the target range will be appropriate and, in addition, has decided
to continue with balance sheet holdings reductions that began in May of 2022. In
normal economic situations, future adjustments to the FOMC’s stance of monetary
policy are expected to be based on realized and expected economic developments
to achieve maximum employment and inflation near the FOMC’s symmetric long-term
2.0% objective.


                                       21

——————————————————————————–

Real Estate Environment

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (“MBA”) January 19, 2023 Mortgage Finance
Forecast (“MBA Forecast”) projects 2023 purchase activity to decrease 8.8% to
$1,439 billion and refinance activity to decrease 32.7% to $449 billion,
resulting in a decrease in total mortgage originations of 15.9% to $1,888
billion
, all from 2022 levels. In 2022, purchase activity accounted for 70.3% of
all mortgage originations and is projected in the MBA Forecast to represent
76.2% of all mortgage originations in 2023. According to data published by
Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates in the United
States
were 5.3% and 3.0% for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021,
respectively. Per the MBA Forecast, mortgage interest rates are projected to
decrease over the subsequent 3-year period, reaching 4.4% in 2025. Due to the
rapidly changing environment that has continued to be influenced by COVID-19,
supply constraints, inflationary pressures and geopolitical conflicts, these
projections and the impact of actual future developments on the Company could be
subject to material change.

Historically, activity in real estate markets has varied over the course of
market cycles by geographic region and in response to evolving economic factors.
Operating results can vary from year to year based on cyclical market conditions
and do not necessarily indicate the Company’s future operating results and cash
flows.

Critical Accounting Estimates and Policies

The Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company are prepared in conformity
with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”) and
follow general practices within the industries in which it operates. This
preparation requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect
the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. These
estimates and assumptions are based on information available as of the date of
the financial statements; accordingly, as this information changes, actual
results could differ from the estimates and assumptions reflected in the
financial statements. Certain estimates inherently have a greater reliance on
the use of assumptions and judgments and, as such, have a greater possibility of
producing results that could be materially different than originally reported.
Management believes the following estimates are both important to the portrayal
of the Company’s financial condition and results of operations and require
subjective or complex judgments and, therefore, management considers the
following to be critical accounting estimates.

Reserve for Claim Losses

The Company’s reserve for claims is established using estimates of amounts
required to settle claims for which notice has been received (reported) and the
amount estimated to be required to satisfy incurred claims of policyholders
which may be reported in the future (incurred but not reported, or “IBNR”). The
total reserve for all losses incurred but unpaid as of December 31, 2022 is
represented by the reserve for claims totaling $37.2 million in the Consolidated
Balance Sheets included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (the
“Consolidated Balance Sheets”). Of that total, approximately $3.3 million was
reserved for specific claims which have been reported to the Company, and
approximately $33.9 million was reserved for IBNR claims.

A provision for estimated future claims payments is recorded at the time the
related policy revenue is recorded. The Company records the claims provision
estimate as a percentage of net premiums written. In making loss estimates,
management determines a loss provision rate, which it then applies to net
premiums written. This loss provision rate is set to provide for losses on
current year policies. By their nature, title claims can often be complex, vary
greatly in dollar amounts, vary in number due to economic and market conditions
such as an increase in mortgage foreclosures, and involve uncertainties as to
ultimate exposure. In addition, some claims may require a number of years to
settle and determine the final liability for indemnity and loss adjustment
expense. The payment experience may extend for more than 20 years after the
issuance of a policy. Events such as fraud, defalcation and multiple property
defects can substantially and unexpectedly cause increases in estimates of
losses. Due to the length of time over which claim payments are made and
regularly occurring changes in underlying economic and market conditions, these
estimates are subject to variability.

Management considers factors such as the Company’s historical claims experience,
case reserve estimates on reported claims, large claims, actuarial projections
and other relevant factors in determining its loss provision rates and the
aggregate recorded expected liability for claims. In establishing the reserve,
actuarial projections are compared with recorded reserves to evaluate the
adequacy of such recorded claims reserves and any necessary adjustments are then
recorded in the current period’s Consolidated Statement of Operations. Loss
ratios for earlier years tend to be more reliable than recent policy years as
those years are more fully developed. As the most recent claims experience
develops and new information becomes available, the loss reserve estimate
related to prior periods will change to more accurately reflect updated and
improved emerging data. The Company reflects any adjustments to the reserve in
the results of operations in the period in which new information (principally
claims experience) becomes available.

The Company initially reserves for each known claim based upon an assessment of
specific facts and updates the reserve amount as necessary over the course of
administering each claim.

                                       22

——————————————————————————–

The Company assumes the reported liability for known claims and IBNR, in the
aggregate, will be comparable to its historical claims experience unless
factors, such as loss experience and charged premium rates, change
significantly. Also affecting the Company’s assumptions are large losses related
to fraud and defalcation, as these can cause significant variances in loss
emergence patterns. Management defines a large loss as one where incurred losses
exceed $500,000. Due to the small volume of large claims, the long-tail nature
of title insurance claims and the inherent uncertainty in loss emergence
patterns, large claim activity can vary significantly between policy years. The
estimated development of large claims by policy year is, therefore, subject to
significant changes as experience develops. The loss provision rate is set to
provide for losses on current year policies and changes in prior year estimates.

Management also considers actuarial analyses in evaluating the claims reserve.
The actuarial methods used to evaluate the reserve are loss development methods,
Bornhuetter-Ferguson methods and Cape Cod methods, all of which are accepted
actuarial methods for estimating ultimate losses and, therefore, loss reserves.
In the loss development method, each policy year’s paid or incurred losses are
projected to an ultimate level using loss development factors. In the
Bornhuetter-Ferguson method, a type of expected loss method, losses for each
policy year are estimated based on an expected loss ratio derived directly from
a previous estimate of ultimate loss for each policy year plus an additional
provision for losses that have not been reported or paid as of the evaluation
date. Bornhuetter-Ferguson methods produce more stable ultimate loss estimates
than do loss development methods, which are more responsive to the current loss
data but can lead to volatile results. The Cape Cod method, a special case of
the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method, blends the results of the loss development and
expected loss methods. For more recent policy years, the Cape Cod methods give
more weight to the results of the expected loss methods; for older policy years,
more weight is given to the loss development method results.

The key actuarial assumptions are principally loss development factors and
expected loss ratios. The selected loss development factors are based on a
combination of the Company’s historical loss experience and title industry loss
experience. Expected loss ratios are estimated for each policy year based on the
Company’s own experience and title industry loss ratios. When updated data is
incorporated into the actuarial models, the resulting loss development factors
and expected loss ratios will likely change from the prior values. Changes in
these values for historical policy years have generally been the result of
actual Company and industry experience during the calendar years.

If one or more of the variables or assumptions used changed such that the
Company’s recorded loss ratio, or loss provision as a percentage of net title
premiums, increased or decreased three loss ratio percentage points, the impact
on after-tax income for the year ended December 31, 2022 would be as follows:

(in thousands)
Increase in loss ratio of three percentage points $ (5,893)
Decrease in loss ratio of three percentage points $ 5,893

Company management believes that using a sensitivity of three loss percentage
points for the loss ratio provides a reasonable benchmark for analysis of the
calendar year loss provision of the Company based on historical loss ratios by
year.

Despite the variability of such estimates, management believes that, based on
historical claims experience and actuarial analysis, the Company’s reserve for
claims is adequate to cover claim losses resulting from pending and future
claims for policies issued through December 31, 2022. The ultimate settlement of
claims will likely vary from the reserve estimates included in the accompanying
Consolidated Financial Statements. The Company continually reviews and adjusts
its reserve estimates to reflect its loss experience and any new information
that becomes available. There are no known claims that are expected to have a
material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position or operating
results.

Premiums Written and Commissions to Agents

Generally, title insurance premiums are recognized at the time of settlement of
the related real estate transaction, as the earnings process is then considered
complete, irrespective of the timing of the issuance of a title insurance policy
or commitment. Expenses typically associated with premiums, including agent
commissions, premium taxes, and a provision for future claims are recognized
concurrent with recognition of related premium revenue.


                                       23

——————————————————————————–

Total premiums include an estimate of premiums for policies that have been
issued directly and by agents, but not reported to the Company as of the balance
sheet date. To determine the estimated premiums, the Company uses historical
experience, as well as other factors, to make certain assumptions about the
average elapsed time between the policy effective date and the date the policies
are reported. Reporting lag times vary by market. In certain markets, the lag
time may be very short, but in others, can be as high as three months. From time
to time, the Company adjusts the inputs to the estimation process as branches
and agents report transactions and new information becomes available. The
Company reviews and adjusts lag time estimates periodically, using historical
experience and other factors, and reflects any adjustments in the result of
operations in the period in which new information becomes available.

Quarterly, the Company evaluates the collectability of receivables. Write-offs
of receivables have not been material to the Company.

Valuation, Impairment and Credit Losses of Investments in Securities

Investments in Fixed Maturity Securities: Fixed maturity securities are
classified as available-for-sale and reported at estimated fair value with
unrealized gains and losses, net of tax, reported as accumulated other
comprehensive income. Securities are regularly reviewed for differences between
the cost and estimated fair value of each security indicating impairment.
Factors considered in determining whether the impairment is credit-related
include the financial condition and prospects of the issuer (including credit
ratings and analyst reports) and macro-economic changes. If the Company intends
to sell an available-for-sale security in an unrealized loss position, or
determines that it is more likely than not that the Company will be required to
sell the security before it recovers its amortized cost basis, the security is
impaired and it is written down to estimated fair value with all losses
recognized in earnings. For available-for-sale fixed maturity securities in an
unrealized loss position for which the Company does not intend to sell the
security, the Company evaluates the securities to determine whether the decline
in the estimated fair value below the amortized cost basis (impairment) is due
to credit-related factors or noncredit-related factors. Any impairment that is
not credit-related is recognized in other comprehensive loss, net of applicable
taxes. Credit-related impairment is recognized as an allowance for credit losses
(“ACL”) on the Consolidated Balance Sheets, limited to the amount by which the
amortized cost basis exceeds the estimated fair value, with a corresponding
adjustment to earnings.

Both the ACL and the adjustment to the Consolidated Statements of Operations may
be reversed if conditions change. Changes in the ACL are recorded as provision
for (or reversal of) credit loss expense. Losses are charged against the ACL
when management believes the uncollectability of an available-for-sale fixed
maturity security is confirmed or when certain criteria regarding intent or
requirement to sell is met. Accrued interest receivable is excluded from the
estimate of credit losses. Impairment reviews are inherently uncertain and the
value of the investment may not fully recover or may decline in future periods
resulting in a realized loss. Realized gains and losses are determined on the
specific identification method. Refer to Note 3 to the Consolidated Financial
Statements for further information about the Company’s investments in fixed
maturity securities.

Investments in Equity Securities: Equity securities represent ownership
interests held by the Company in entities for investment purposes. Unrealized
holding gains and losses are reported in the Consolidated Statements of
Operations as changes in the estimated fair value of equity security
investments. Realized investment gains and losses from sales are recorded on the
trade date and are determined using the specific identification method. Refer to
Note 3 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information about
the Company’s investments in equity securities.

Other Investments: Other investments consist of investments in real estate and
unconsolidated affiliated entities, typically structured as limited liability
companies (“LLCs”), without readily determinable fair values.

Real estate investments are reported at amortized cost. The Company monitors any
events or changes in circumstances that may have had a significant adverse
effect on the fair value of real estate investments and makes any necessary
adjustments, with any reductions in the carrying amount of these investments
recorded in net realized investment gains in the Consolidated Statement of
Operations when recognized.

Other investments are accounted for under either the equity method or the
measurement alternative method. The measurement alternative method is used when
an investment does not qualify for the equity method or an estimated fair value
using the net asset value per share. Under the measurement alternative method,
investments are recorded at cost, less any impairment and plus or minus any
changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for an
identical or similar investment of the same issuer. The Company monitors any
events or changes in circumstances that may have had a significant adverse
effect on the estimated fair value of these investments and makes any necessary
adjustments.

The fair values of the majority of the Company’s investments are based on quoted
market prices from independent pricing services. Refer to Note 3 to the
Consolidated Financial Statements for further information about the Company’s
valuation techniques.


                                       24

——————————————————————————–

Deferred Taxes

The Company recorded net deferred tax liabilities at December 31, 2022 and 2021.
The deferred tax liabilities recorded during both periods primarily relate to
net unrealized gains on investments, the excess of tax over book depreciation,
intangible assets, and the recorded statutory premium reserve, net of reserve
for claims. Refer to Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further
information on the Company’s deferred taxes.

Cyclicality and Seasonality

Real estate activity, home sales and mortgage lending are cyclical in nature.
Title insurance premiums are closely related to the level of real estate
activity and the average price of real estate sales. Real estate activity is
affected by a number of factors, including the availability of mortgage credit,
the cost of real estate, consumer confidence, employment and family income
levels, and general United States economic conditions. Interest rate volatility
is also an important factor in the level of residential and commercial real
estate activity. The Company’s premiums in future periods are likely to
fluctuate due to these and other factors which are beyond management’s control.

Historically, the title insurance business tends to be seasonal as well as
cyclical. Because home sales are typically strongest in periods of favorable
weather, the first calendar quarter tends to have the lowest activity levels,
while the spring and summer seasons tend to be more active. Refinance activity
is generally less seasonal, but is subject to interest rate fluctuations.

Results of Operations

The following table presents certain Consolidated Statements of Operations data
for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021:


For the Years Ended December 31, (in thousands)                           2022               2021

Revenues:

Net premiums written                                                  $ 248,632          $ 273,885
Escrow and other title-related fees                                      21,721             13,678
Non-title services                                                       14,524              9,667
Interest and dividends                                                    4,704              3,773
Other investment income                                                   3,896              6,920
Net realized investment gains                                             9,735              1,869
Changes in the estimated fair value of equity security
investments                                                             (20,961)            14,934
Other                                                                     1,141              4,772
Total Revenues                                                          283,392            329,498

Operating Expenses:
Commissions to agents                                                   121,566            142,815
Provision for claims                                                      4,255              5,686
Personnel expenses                                                       85,331             64,193
Office and technology expenses                                           17,323             13,059
Other expenses                                                           24,809             18,813
Total Operating Expenses                                                253,284            244,566

Income before Income Taxes                                               30,108             84,932

Provision for Income Taxes                                                6,205             17,912

Net Income                                                            $  23,903          $  67,020



                                       25

——————————————————————————–

Insurance Revenues

Insurance revenues include net premiums written and escrow and other
title-related income that includes escrow fees, commissions and settlement fees.
Non-title services revenue, investment-related revenues and other income are
discussed separately below. The following is a summary of the Company’s total
revenue broken out between the title insurance segment and all other income with
intersegment eliminations netted with each segment; therefore, the individual
segment amounts will not agree to Note 12 in the accompanying Consolidated
Financial Statements.


(in thousands, except percentages)        2022           %           2021           %
Title Insurance                        $ 269,004        94.9      $ 310,592        94.3
All Other                                 14,388         5.1         18,906         5.7
Total                                  $ 283,392       100.0      $ 329,498       100.0



Net Premiums Written

Net premiums written decreased 9.2% in 2022 to $248.6 million, compared with
$273.9 million in 2021. The decrease in 2022, compared with 2021, was primarily
driven by an overall decline in the level of real estate transaction volumes
resulting from higher average mortgage interest rates.

Total premiums include an estimate of premiums for policies that have been
issued directly and by agents, but not reported to the Company as of the balance
sheet date. To determine the estimated premiums, the Company uses historical
experience, as well as other factors, to make certain assumptions about the
average elapsed time between the policy effective date and the date the policies
are reported. From time to time, the Company adjusts the inputs to the
estimation process as reported transactions and new information becomes
available from direct and agency business. In addition to estimating revenues,
the Company also estimates and accrues agent commissions, claims provision,
premium taxes, income taxes, and other expenses associated with the estimated
revenues that have been accrued. The Company reflects any adjustments to the
accruals in the results of operations in the period in which new information
becomes available.

Title insurance companies typically issue title insurance policies directly or
through title agencies. Following is a breakdown of net premiums generated by
direct and agency operations for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021,
with certain balances for 2021 reclassified to conform to the 2022 presentation.


(in thousands, except percentages)        2022           %           2021           %
Direct                                 $  85,676        34.5      $  82,085        30.0
Agency                                   162,956        65.5        191,800        70.0
Total                                  $ 248,632       100.0      $ 273,885       100.0


Direct Net Premiums: The Company’s direct business consists of operations at the
home office, branch offices, and wholly owned title insurance agencies. In the
Company’s direct operations, the Company issues a title insurance policy and
retains the entire premium, as no commissions are recognized in connection with
these policies. Net premiums written from direct operations increased 4.4% in
2022 to $85.7 million, compared with $82.1 million in 2021. The increase in net
premiums written from direct operations for 2022, compared with 2021, was
primarily attributable to higher average home prices and increased premiums
written by wholly owned agencies in our Texas market, partially offset by a
decline in transaction volume associated with higher mortgage interest rates.

Agency Net Premiums: When a policy is written through a non-wholly owned title
agency, the premium is shared between the agency and the underwriter. The agent
retains a majority of the premium as a commission and remits the net amount to
the Company. Title insurance commissions earned by the Company’s agents are
recognized as expenses concurrently with premium recognition. Agency net
premiums written decreased 15.0% in 2022 to $163.0 million, compared with $191.8
million
in 2021. The decrease in 2022, compared with 2021, was primarily
attributable to an overall decline in the level of real estate transaction
volume following the rise in mortgage interest rates, partially offset by higher
average home prices.


                                       26

——————————————————————————–


The following is a schedule of net premiums written in select states in which
the Company's two insurance subsidiaries, ITIC and NITIC, currently underwrite
title insurance:

State (in thousands)        2022           2021
North Carolina           $  88,777      $  99,049
Texas                       72,278         62,557
South Carolina              23,454         24,981
Georgia                     22,954         34,619
All Others                  41,987         53,197
  Premiums Written         249,450        274,403
Reinsurance Assumed              -              -
Reinsurance Ceded             (818)          (518)
  Net Premiums Written   $ 248,632      $ 273,885


The increase in net premiums written in the state of Texas in 2022, compared
with 2021, primarily resulted from the Company’s recent acquisitions of title
insurance agencies doing business in the state of Texas. The Company evaluates
nonorganic growth opportunities, such as acquisitions of title insurance
agencies, from time to time in the ordinary course of business.

Escrow and Other Title-Related Fees

Escrow and other title-related fees consists primarily of commission income,
escrow and other various fees associated with the issuance of a title insurance
policy including settlement, examination and closing fees. In 2022, escrow and
other title-related fee revenue increased 58.8% to $21.7 million, compared with
$13.7 million in 2021, primarily due to a larger share of business in markets
that generate escrow income, and fee income associated with commercial activity.

Revenue from Non-Title Services

Revenue from non-title services includes trust services, agency management
services and exchange services income. Non-title service revenues increased
50.2% in 2022 to $14.5 million, compared with $9.7 million in 2021. The increase
in 2022, compared with 2021, primarily related to increases in like-kind
exchange revenues.

Investment Related Revenues

Investment related revenues include interest and dividends, other investment
income, net realized investment gains and changes in the estimated fair value of
equity security investments.

Interest and Dividends

The Company derives a substantial portion of its income from investments in
fixed maturity securities, which are primarily municipal and corporate fixed
maturity securities, and equity securities. The Company’s investment policy is
designed to comply with regulatory requirements and to balance the competing
objectives of asset quality and investment returns. The Company’s title
insurance subsidiaries are required by statute to maintain minimum levels of
investments in order to protect the interests of policyholders. Fixed maturity
securities totaling approximately $6.7 million and $7.0 million at December 31,
2022
and 2021, respectively, were deposited with the insurance departments of
the states in which business is conducted.

The Company’s investment strategy emphasizes after-tax income and principal
preservation. The Company’s investments are primarily in fixed maturity
securities and, to a lesser extent, equity securities. The average effective
maturity of the majority of the fixed maturity securities is less than 10 years.
The Company’s invested assets are managed to fund its obligations and evaluated
to ensure long term stability of capital accounts.


                                       27

——————————————————————————–

As the Company generates cash from operations, it is invested in accordance with
the Company’s investment policy and corporate goals. The Company’s investment
policy has been designed to balance multiple goals, including the assurance of a
stable source of income from interest and dividends, the preservation of
principal, and the provision of liquidity sufficient to meet insurance
underwriting and other obligations as they become payable in the future.
Securities purchased may include a combination of taxable or tax-exempt fixed
maturity securities and equity securities. The Company also invests in
short-term investments that typically include money market funds, and, at times,
the Company has or could invest in U.S. Treasury bills, commercial paper and
certificates of deposit. The Company strives to maintain a high quality
investment portfolio. In 2022, ongoing evaluation of changing business and
financial market conditions led to portions of cash flow from operations, and
certain amounts resulting from sales and maturities in the company’s investment
portfolio, to be invested in short term investments to take advantage of
elevated short-term interest rates.

Interest and dividends were $4.7 million in 2022, compared with $3.8 million in
2021. Interest and investment income levels are primarily a function of general
market performance, interest rates and the amount of cash available for
investment. Refer to Note 3 in the accompanying Consolidated Financial
Statements for the major categories of investments, scheduled maturities,
amortized costs, estimated fair values of investment securities and earnings by
security category.

Other Investment Income

Other investment income consists primarily of income related to investments in
unconsolidated affiliates, typically structured as LLCs, accounted for under
either the equity method of accounting or the measurement alternative for
investments that do not have readily determinable fair values. The measurement
alternative method requires investments without readily determinable fair values
to be recorded at cost, less impairments, and plus or minus any changes
resulting from observable price changes. The Company monitors any events or
changes in circumstances that may have had a significant adverse effect on the
fair value of these investments and makes any necessary adjustments.

Other investment income was $3.9 million in 2022, compared with $6.9 million in
2021. Changes in other investment income are impacted by fluctuations in the
carrying value of the underlying investment and/or distributions received.

Net Realized Investment Gains

Dispositions of equity securities at a realized gain or loss reflect such
factors as industry sector allocation decisions, ongoing assessments of issuers’
business prospects and tax planning considerations. Additionally, the amounts
included in net realized investment gains are affected by assessments of
securities’ valuation for impairment. As a result of the interaction of these
factors and considerations, the net realized investment gain or loss can vary
significantly from period to period.

The net realized investment gains were $9.7 million for 2022, compared with $1.9
million
for 2021. The net realized gain on the sales of investments and other
assets of $9.9 million in 2022 was partially offset by impairment charges of
$172 thousand for certain fixed maturity securities where the intent to hold had
changed in 2022. There were no impairment charges recorded in 2021. Management
believes unrealized losses on the remaining fixed maturity securities at
December 31, 2022 are not credit-related.

The securities in the Company’s investment portfolio are subject to economic
conditions and market risks. The Company considers relevant facts and
circumstances in evaluating whether a credit or interest-related impairment of a
fixed maturity security has occurred. Relevant facts and circumstances include
the extent and length of time the fair value of an investment has been below
cost.

There are a number of risks and uncertainties inherent in the process of
monitoring impairments and determining if an impairment exists. These risks and
uncertainties include the risk that the economic outlook will be worse than
expected or have more of an impact on the issuer than anticipated; the risk that
the Company’s assessment of an issuer’s ability to meet all of its contractual
obligations will change based on changes in the characteristics of that issuer;
the risk that information obtained by the Company or changes in other facts and
circumstances leads management to change its intent to sell the fixed maturity
security; and the risk that management is making decisions based on inaccurate
information in the financial statements provided by issuers.

Changes in the Estimated Fair Value of Equity Security Investments

Changes in the estimated fair value of equity security investments were $(21.0)
million
in 2022 and $14.9 million in 2021. Such fluctuations are the result of
changes in general market conditions during the respective periods. All major
indices experienced significant declines in 2022.


                                       28

——————————————————————————–

Other Income

Other income primarily includes gains and losses on the disposal of assets,
rental income from real estate investments and miscellaneous revenues. Other
income was $1.1 million in 2022, compared with $4.8 million for 2021. The
decrease in 2022, compared with 2021, primarily related to a gain on the sale of
a property in 2021.

Expenses

The Company’s operating expenses consist primarily of commissions to agents,
personnel expenses, office and technology expenses and the provision for claims.
Operating expenses increased 3.6% in 2022, compared with 2021, primarily due to
increases in personnel, office, technology and other operating expenses,
partially offset by a decrease in commissions to agents.

Following is a summary of the Company’s operating expenses for 2022 and 2021.
Intersegment eliminations have been netted; therefore, the individual segment
amounts will not agree to Note 12 in the accompanying Consolidated Financial
Statements.


(in thousands, except percentages)        2022           %           2021           %
Title Insurance                        $ 242,280        95.7      $ 234,573        95.9
All Other                                 11,004         4.3          9,993         4.1
Total                                  $ 253,284       100.0      $ 244,566       100.0



Total Company

Personnel Expenses: Personnel expenses include base salaries, benefits and
payroll taxes, bonuses paid to employees and contract labor expenses. Personnel
expenses were $85.3 million and $64.2 million for 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Personnel expenses increased by 32.9% in 2022, compared with 2021, primarily due
to staffing of new offices and hiring to support growth initiatives. Increases
in staffing levels are the result of both organic growth and recent acquisitions
of title insurance agencies, as the Company continues expansion of its
geographic footprint. Employee headcount increased by 16.5%, when compared to
the same prior year period, primarily due to the Company’s continued expansion
efforts in the Texas market. On a consolidated basis, personnel expenses as a
percentage of total revenues were 30.1% and 19.5% in 2022 and 2021,
respectively.

Office and Technology Expenses: Office and technology expenses primarily
include facilities expenses, software and hardware expenses, depreciation
expense, telecommunications expenses, and business insurance. Office and
technology expenses were $17.3 million and $13.1 million for 2022 and 2021,
respectively. The increase in office and technology expenses in 2022, compared
with 2021, was primarily in support of expanding the Company’s geographic
footprint, the result of adding new office locations due to both organic growth
and recent acquisitions of title insurance agencies, and various ongoing
technology initiatives.

Other Expenses: Other expenses primarily include business development expenses,
premium-related taxes and licensing, professional services, title and service
fees, amortization of intangible assets and other general expenses. Other
expenses were $24.8 million and $18.8 million for 2022 and 2021, respectively.
The increase in 2022, compared with 2021, was primarily related to increases in
title and service fees, technology fees, business development expenses, and
amortization of intangible assets.

Title Insurance

Commissions to Agents: Agent commissions represent the portion of premiums
retained by agents pursuant to the terms of their respective agency contracts.
In 2022, commissions to agents decreased 14.9% to $121.6 million, compared with
$142.8 million in 2021. Commission expense as a percentage of net premiums
written by agents was 74.6% and 74.5% in 2022 and 2021, respectively. The
decrease in commission expense, when comparing 2022 with 2021, was commensurate
with the decrease in agent premium volume. Commission rates vary by market due
to local practice, competition and state regulations.

Provision for Claims: The provision for claims decreased 25.2% in 2022, compared
to 2021. The provision for claims as a percentage of net premiums written was
1.7% and 2.1% in 2022 and 2021, respectively. The dollar decrease in the
provision for claims in 2022, compared with 2021, was primarily due to
reductions in net premiums written and the impact of changes in the geographical
mix for underwriting risk.

The decrease in the loss provision rate in 2022, from the 2021 level, resulted
in approximately $907 thousand less in reserves than would have been recorded at
the higher 2021 level. Loss provision rates are subject to variability and are
reviewed and adjusted as experience develops.


                                       29

——————————————————————————–

Title claims are typically reported and paid within the first several years of
policy issuance. The provision for claims reflects actual payments of claims,
net of recovery amounts, plus adjustments to the specific and incurred but not
reported claims reserves, the latter of which are actuarially determined based
on historical claims experience. Actual payments of claims, net of recoveries,
were $3.8 million and $2.5 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

Reserve for Claims: At December 31, 2022, the total reserve for claims was $37.2
million
. Of that total, approximately $3.3 million was reserved for specific
claims, and approximately $33.9 million was reserved for claims for which the
Company had no notice. Because of the uncertainty of future claims, changes in
economic conditions and the fact that many claims do not materialize for several
years, reserve estimates are subject to variability.

Changes from prior periods in the expected liability for claims reflect the
uncertainty of the claims environment, as well as the limited predictive power
of historical data. The Company continually updates and refines its reserve
estimates as current experience develops and credible data emerges. Such data
includes payments on claims closed during the quarter, new details that emerge
on open cases that cause claims adjusters to increase or decrease the case
reserves, and the impact that these types of changes have on the Company’s total
loss provision. Adjustments may be required as new information develops which
often varies from past experience.

Income Taxes

The provision for income taxes was $6.2 million and $17.9 million for 2022 and
2021, respectively. Income tax expense, including federal and state taxes, as a
percentage of income before income taxes was 20.6% and 21.1% for 2022 and 2021,
respectively. The effective income tax rates for both 2022 and 2021 differ from
the U.S. federal statutory income tax rate of 21% primarily due to the effect of
tax-exempt income and state taxes. Tax-exempt income lowers the effective tax
rate.

The Company believes it is more likely than not that the tax benefits associated
with recognized impairments and unrecognized losses recorded through
December 31, 2022 will be realized. However, this judgment could be impacted by
further market fluctuations. Information regarding the components of income tax
expense and the items included in the reconciliation of the effective rate with
the federal statutory rate can be found in Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial
Statements.

After-Tax Profit Margin

The Company’s after-tax profit margin varies according to a number of factors,
including the volume and type of real estate activity. On a combined basis, the
after-tax profit margins were 8.4% and 20.3% in 2022 and 2021, respectively. The
decrease in after-tax margin in 2022, compared with 2021, was primarily related
to a decrease in total revenue and an increase in expenses. The Company
continually strives to enhance its competitive strengths and market position,
including ongoing initiatives to manage its operating expenses.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The Company’s material cash requirements include general operating expenses,
contractual and other obligations for the future payment of title claims,
employment agreements, lease agreements, income taxes, capital expenditures,
dividends on its common stock and other contractual commitments for goods and
services needed for operations. All other arrangements entered into by the
Company are not reasonably likely to have a material effect on liquidity or the
availability of capital resources. Cash flows from operations have historically
been the primary source of financing for expanding operations, whether through
organic growth or outside investments. The Company believes its balances of
cash, short-term investments and other readily marketable securities, along with
cash flows generated by ongoing operations, will be sufficient to satisfy its
cash requirements over the next 12 months and thereafter, including the funding
of operating activities and commitments for investing and financing activities.
There are currently no known trends that the Company believes will materially
impact the Company’s capital resources, nor is the Company anticipating any
material changes in the mix or relative cost of such resources except as
otherwise disclosed in the Business Trends and Recent Conditions section of this
Management’s Discussion and Analysis.

The Company evaluates nonorganic growth opportunities, such as mergers and
acquisitions, from time to time in the ordinary course of business. Because of
the episodic nature of these events, related incremental liquidity and capital
resource needs can be difficult to predict.

The Company’s operating results and cash flows are heavily dependent on the real
estate market. The Company’s business has certain fixed costs such as personnel;
therefore, changes in the real estate market are monitored closely, and
operating expenses such as staffing levels are managed and adjusted accordingly.
The Company believes that its significant working capital position and
management of operating expenses will aid its ability to manage cash resources
through fluctuations in the real estate market.


                                       30

——————————————————————————–

Cash Flows: Net cash flows provided by operating activities were $36.2 million
and $51.9 million for 2022 and 2021, respectively. Cash flows provided by
operating activities differ from net income due to adjustments for non-cash
items, such as changes in the estimated fair value of equity security
investments, gains and losses on investments and property, the timing of
disbursements for taxes, claims and other accrued liabilities, and collections
or changes in receivables and other assets.

Cash flows from non-operating activities have historically consisted of
purchases and proceeds from investing activities, the issuance of dividends and
repurchases of common stock. In 2022, the Company had higher investment purchase
activity and lower dividends paid when compared to 2021. In the fourth quarters
of 2022 and 2021, the Company paid special cash dividends in the amounts of
$3.00 and $18.00 per share, respectively, in addition to regular cash dividends.
Total dividends paid per share were $4.84 and $19.82 in 2022 and 2021,
respectively.

The Company maintains a high degree of liquidity within its investment portfolio
in the form of cash, short-term investments, and other readily marketable
securities. As of December 31, 2022, the Company held cash and cash equivalents
of $35.3 million, short-term investments of $103.6 million, available-for-sale
fixed maturity securities of $54.0 million and equity securities of $51.7
million
. The net effect of all activities on total cash and cash equivalents was
a decrease of $1.9 million for 2022. In 2022, ongoing evaluation of changing
business and financial market conditions led to portions of cash flow from
operations, and certain amounts resulting from sales and maturities in the
company’s investment portfolio, to be invested in short term investments to take
advantage of elevated short-term interest rates.

Capital Resources: The amount of capital resources the Company maintains is
influenced by state regulation, the need to maintain superior financial ratings
from third-party rating agencies and other marketing and operational
considerations.

The Company’s significant sources of funds are dividends and distributions from
its subsidiaries, primarily its two title insurance subsidiaries. Cash is
received from its subsidiaries in the form of dividends and as reimbursements
for operating and other administrative expenses that it incurs. The
reimbursements are executed within the guidelines of management agreements
between the Company and its subsidiaries.

The ability of the Company’s title insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends to
the Company is subject to state regulation from their respective states of
domicile. Each state regulates the extent to which title underwriters can pay
dividends or make distributions and requires prior regulatory approval of the
payment of dividends and other intercompany transfers. The maximum dividend
permitted by law is not necessarily indicative of an insurer’s actual ability to
pay dividends. Depending on regulatory conditions, the Company may in the future
need to retain cash in its title insurance subsidiaries in order to maintain
their statutory capital position. As of December 31, 2022, both ITIC and NITIC
met the minimum capital, surplus and reserve requirements for each state in
which they are licensed.

As of December 31, 2022, approximately $110.3 million of the consolidated
shareholders’ equity represented net assets of the Company’s subsidiaries that
are restricted by regulation from being transferred in the form of dividends,
loans or advances to the parent company without prior approval from the
respective state insurance department. The Company believes, however, that
amounts available for transfer from the insurance and other subsidiaries are
adequate to meet the Company’s current operating needs.

During 2023, the maximum distributions the insurance subsidiaries can make to
the Company without prior approval from applicable regulators total
approximately $30.9 million.

While state regulations and the need to cover risks may set a minimum level for
capital requirements, other factors necessitate maintaining capital resources in
excess of the required minimum amounts. For instance, the Company’s capital
resources help it maintain high ratings from insurance company rating agencies.
Superior ratings strengthen the Company’s ability to compete with larger, well
known title insurers with national footprints.

A strong financial position provides the necessary flexibility to fund potential
acquisition activity, to invest in the Company’s core business, and to minimize
the financial impact of potential adverse developments. Adverse developments
that generally require additional capital include adverse financial results,
changes in statutory accounting requirements by regulators, reserve charges,
investment losses or costs incurred to adapt to a changing regulatory
environment, including costs related to CFPB regulation of the real estate
industry.

The Company bases its capitalization levels in part on net coverage retained.
Since the Company’s geographical focus has been and continues to be concentrated
in states with average premium rates typically lower than the national average,
capitalization relative to premiums will usually appear higher than industry
averages.


                                       31

——————————————————————————–

Due to the Company’s historical ability to consistently generate positive cash
flows from its consolidated operations and investment income, management
believes that funds generated from operations will enable the Company to
adequately meet its current operating needs for the foreseeable future. However,
with any continued impact of COVID-19, ongoing inflationary pressures and the
ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, there can be no assurance
that future experience will be similar to historical experience, since it is
influenced by such factors as the interest rate environment, real estate
activity, the Company’s claims-paying ability and its financial strength
ratings. In addition to operational and investment considerations, taking
advantage of opportunistic external growth opportunities may necessitate
obtaining additional capital resources. The Company is carefully monitoring the
COVID-19 situation, inflation, the conflict in Ukraine, and other trends that
could potentially result in material adverse liquidity changes, and will
continually assess its capital allocation strategy, including decisions relating
to payment of dividends, repurchasing the Company’s common stock and/or
conserving cash.

Purchase of Company Stock: On November 9, 2015, the Board of Directors of the
Company approved the purchase of an additional 163,335 shares pursuant to the
Company’s repurchase plan, such that there was authority remaining under the
plan to purchase up to an aggregate of 500,000 shares of the Company’s common
stock pursuant to the plan immediately after this approval. Unless terminated
earlier by resolution of the Board of Directors, the plan will expire when all
shares authorized for purchase under the plan have been purchased. Pursuant to
the Company’s ongoing purchase program, the Company purchased 945 shares at an
average per share price of $141.01 in 2022. No shares were purchased in 2021.
The Company anticipates making further purchases under this plan from time to
time in the future, depending on such factors as the prevailing market price of
the Company’s common stock, the Company’s available cash and the existing
alternative uses for such cash.

Capital Expenditures: Capital expenditures were approximately $5.7 million and
$6.5 million during 2022 and 2021, respectively, with the higher 2021
expenditures related primarily to system development initiative expenses. The
Company has plans for various capital improvement projects, including increased
investment in a number of technology and system development initiatives and
hardware purchases which are anticipated to be funded via cash flows from
operations. All material anticipated capital expenditures are subject to
periodic review and revision and may vary depending on a number of factors.

Contractual Obligations: As of December 31, 2022, the Company had a claims
reserve totaling $37.2 million. The amounts and timing of these obligations are
estimated and not set contractually. Events such as fraud, defalcation, and
multiple property title defects can substantially and unexpectedly cause
increases in both the amount and timing of estimated title insurance loss
payments and loss cost trends whereby increases or decreases in inflationary
factors (including the value of real estate) will influence the ultimate amount
of title insurance loss payments and could increase total obligations and
influence claim payout patterns. Due to the length of time over which claim
payments are made and regularly occurring changes in underlying economic and
market conditions, claim estimates are subject to variability and future
payments could increase or decrease from these estimated amounts in the future.

ITIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, has entered into employment
agreements with certain executive officers. The amounts accrued for these
agreements at December 31, 2022 and 2021 were approximately $15.0 million and
$13.4 million, respectively, which includes postretirement compensation and
health benefits, and were calculated based on the terms of the contracts. These
executive contracts are accounted for on an individual contract basis. As
payments are based upon the occurrence of specific events, including death,
disability, retirement, termination without cause or upon a change in control,
payment periods are currently uncertain. Information regarding retirement
agreements and other postretirement benefit plans can be found in Note 10 to the
Consolidated Financial Statements.

The Company enters into lease agreements that are primarily used for office
space. These leases are accounted for as operating leases, with lease expense
recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease. The Company
occasionally assumes equipment lease agreements through business acquisitions.
These leases are accounted for as finance leases. A portion of the Company’s
current leases include an option to extend or cancel the lease term, and the
exercise of such an option is solely at the Company’s discretion. The total of
undiscounted future minimum lease payments under leases that have initial or
remaining noncancelable lease terms in excess of one year as of December 31,
2022
is $5.2 million, which includes lease payments related to options to extend
or cancel the lease term if the Company determined at the date of adoption that
the lease was expected to be renewed or extended. Information regarding leases
can be found in Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

In the normal course of business, the Company enters into other contractual
commitments for goods and services needed for operations. Such commitments are
not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s liquidity.


                                       32

——————————————————————————–

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

As a service to its customers, the Company, through ITIC, administers escrow and
trust deposits representing earnest money received under real estate contracts,
undisbursed amounts received for settlement of mortgage loans and indemnities
against specific title risks. Cash held by the Company for these purposes was
approximately $24.2 million and $27.5 million as of December 31, 2022 and 2021,
respectively. These amounts are not considered assets of the Company and,
therefore, are excluded from the Consolidated Balance Sheets. However, the
Company remains contingently liable for the disposition of these deposits.

In addition, in administering tax-deferred like-kind exchanges pursuant to §
1031 of the IRC, ITEC serves as a qualified intermediary for exchanges, holding
the net sales proceeds from relinquished property to be used for purchase of
replacement property. ITAC serves as exchange accommodation titleholder and,
through LLCs that are wholly owned subsidiaries of ITAC, holds property in
reverse exchange transactions. Like-kind exchange deposits and reverse exchange
property held by the Company for the purpose of completing such transactions
totaled approximately $432.0 million and $763.9 million as of December 31, 2022
and 2021, respectively. These exchange deposits are held at third-party
financial institutions. Exchange deposits are not considered assets of the
Company and, therefore, are excluded from the Consolidated Balance Sheets;
however, the Company remains contingently liable for the disposition of the
transfers of property, disbursements of proceeds and the return on the proceeds
at the agreed upon rate. Exchange services revenue includes earnings on these
deposits; therefore, investment income is shown as non-title services rather
than investment income. These like-kind exchange funds are primarily invested in
money market and other short-term investments.

External assets under management of Investors Trust Company totaled
approximately $635.3 million and $728.2 million as of December 31, 2022 and
2021, respectively. These amounts are not considered assets of the Company and,
therefore, are excluded from the Consolidated Balance Sheets.

It is not the general practice of the Company to enter into off-balance sheet
arrangements or issue guarantees to third parties. The Company does not have any
material source of liquidity or financing that involves off-balance sheet
arrangements. Other than items noted above, off-balance sheet arrangements are
generally limited to the future payments due under various agreements with
third-party service providers.

© Edgar Online, source Glimpses

link