The First American Family of Companies’ core business lines include title insurance and closing/settlement services; title plant management services; title and other real property records and images; valuation products and services; home warranty products; property and casualty insurance; and banking, trust and investment advisory services.
With total revenue of $5.6 billion in 2016, the company offers its products and services directly and through its agents throughout the United States and abroad. In 2016 and again in 2017, First American was named to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list.
First American offers its products and services directly and through its agents and partners throughout the United States and in more than 40 countries.
In June 2010, First American Financial Corporation was established when The First American Corporation split its businesses to create two separate legal entities, First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) which provides title and financial services and CoreLogic Inc. which provides information solutions and analytics services to the real estate and mortgage industry.
Title insurance is a form of indemnity insurance predominantly found in the United States which insures against financial loss from defects in title to real property and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage loans. The vast majority of title insurance policies are written on land within the United States. Unlike some land registration systems in countries outside the US, the US states' recorder of deeds generally do not guarantee indefeasible title to those recorded titles. Title insurance will defend against a lawsuit attacking the title, or reimburse the insured for the actual monetary loss incurred up to the dollar amount of insurance provided by the policy.
The first title insurance company, the Law Property Assurance and Trust Society, was formed in Pennsylvania in 1853. Typically the real property interests insured are fee simple ownership or a mortgage. However, title insurance can be purchased to insure any interest in real property, including an easement, lease or life estate.
There are two types of policies – owner and lender. Just as lenders require fire insurance and other types of insurance coverage to protect their investment, nearly all institutional lenders also require title insurance [a loan policy] to protect their interest in the collateral of loans secured by real estate. Some mortgage lenders, especially non-institutional lenders, may not require title insurance. Buyers purchasing properties for cash or with a mortgage lender often want title insurance [an owner policy] as well. A loan policy provides no coverage or benefit for the buyer/owner and so the decision to purchase an owner policy is independent of the lender's decision to require a loan policy.
Title insurance is available in many other countries, such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, China, Korea and throughout Europe. However, while a substantial number of properties located in these countries are insured by U.S. title insurers, they do not constitute a significant share of the real estate transactions in those countries. They also do not constitute a large share of U.S. title insurers' revenues. In many cases these are properties to be used for commercial purposes by U.S. companies doing business abroad, or properties financed by U.S lenders. The U.S. companies involved buy title insurance to obtain the security of a U.S. insurer backing up the evidence of title that they receive from the other country's land registration system, and payment of legal defense costs if the title is challenged.