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M.I. Defaults, Volume Rise

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Despite two consecutive monthly declines in the number of new applications and the number of policies issued, mortgage insurers pushed the dollar volume of policies written higher for two months in a row. This year’s volume of new business, however, is likely to be just one-fifth of the peak reached just three years ago. Monthly defaults increased from November but improved from a year ago.

Last month, 19,989 mortgage insurance policies were written for $5.1 billion by members of the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, the trade group reported today. There were 21,877 policies written for $4.9 billion in November 2009 — when the number of policies dropped from October but the dollar volume increased. In December 2008, 41,827 policies were written for $7.2 billion.

The figures reflected data submitted by MICA members Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., Radian Guaranty Inc., Republic Mortgage Insurance Co. and United Guaranty Corp.

Bulk activity accounted for just 3 policies for less than $0.1 billion during December 2009, while traditional business accounted for the rest.

During all of 2009, mortgage insurers wrote 442,224 policies for $80.9 billion — freefalling from 971,595 policies for $162.2 billion during 2008. Mortgage insurance volume was just a fraction of the 1,979,074 policies written for $300.1 billion in 2007.

Based on the current pace of activity — mortgage insurance volume is likely to come in around 250,000 policies for $60 billion during all of this year.

New applications received fell for the second consecutive month to 26,284 from November’s 28,140.

Primary insurance-in-force fell to $863.4 billion from $879.7 billion on Nov. 31, 2009, and $952.2 billion on Dec. 31, 2008. The total has declined each month since Aug. 31, 2008, when it stood at $801.7 billion.

Primary insurance defaults resumed their ascent in December, climbing to 94,651 from November’s 89,772. But defaults declined from 105,110 a year ago.

Primary insurance cures finished December at 61,032, jumping from 55,437 in November and 49,749 a year earlier.

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