First American Financial profit more than doubles

Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:08am EST

Feb 21 (Reuters) - First American Financial Corp's quarterly profit more than doubled on strong growth and improved margins at its core title insurance business.

Net income rose to $93.3 million, or 85 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $40.2 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

Title insurance revenue rose 30 percent to $1.19 billion. Title insurance pre-tax margin expanded to 12.7 percent from 8.2 percent a year earlier.

Title insurers guarantee property owners have title to their property and can legally transfer it in a sale. Many lenders now require property buyers to have this insurance before extending loans, to protect them from claims by prior owners.

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