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Distorted M.I. Data Indicate Decline in New Business

Mortgage News

Business was slower for the third consecutive month at the nation’s mortgage insurers, while delinquency was lower. But the numbers were distorted by the exit of another mortgage insurer from the sector’s primary trade group.

In January, 21,904 mortgage insurance policies were issued for $5.0 billion by members of the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. The association’s members include Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. and Radian Guaranty Inc.

Business diminished from 23,538 policies written for $5.8 billion during the prior month.

However, last month’s total excluded Republic Mortgage Insurance Co., which was included in the December data.

Although new mortgage insurance applications — which fell to 24,097 in January from 26,036 in December — are normally an indicator of upcoming business, the elimination of Republic makes it unclear if applications declined due to slower business or because of Republic’s exit.

A year ago, MICA members issued 21,896 policies for $6.5 billion.

However, the year-earlier numbers are also distorted since they included Republic as well as United Guaranty Corp. and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. All three insurers were not included last month’s numbers.

A MICA spokesman didn’t immediately reply to a request for production data during January and December of last year for the departed members.

Primary insurance in force at the remaining MICA members was $399.2 billion as of Jan. 31. A month earlier, when Republic was included, the total was $467.6 billion. The balance a year earlier, which included policies held by Republic, United Guaranty and PMI, was $747.9 billion.

Primary insurance defaults fell to 29,348 from December’s 38,481 and were 64,687 in January 2011. The prior-period numbers included data from the exited firms.

Primary insurance cures declined to 23,728 from 27,301 three months earlier and 50,820 a year earlier.

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