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Investors Title Co. Message Board

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  • astral_tsar astral_tsar Dec 9, 2008 7:07 PM Flag

    Thoughts on Inv. Title?


    I agree with you that there's likely to be little money earned for the next year or two. That's happened for a couple of years in the early-1990s real-estate crisis. You could get firms with weak balance sheets going under, like LandAmerica did last month.

    I think ITIC is better off than most firms in this environment, because they have a lot of investments, mostly municipal bonds, far beyond what they need for claim reserves. If I take cash and investments and net out all liabilities, I get $33 per share. Add in something for future title insurance earnings, and on paper this stock is probably worth a whole lot.

    But ITIC is obscure and thinly traded, and I'm not sure it's ever going to trade for what it's probably worth. I've looked at data going back to the 1980s, though, and most years the stock has traded for book + claims reserves (what Buffett calls the 'float'.) At the end of Q3 that book + reserves figure was $56-$57 per share.

    I imagine they'll add to book value (and reserves) over time, just by collecting the interest on those bonds if nothing else, so I wouldn't be shocked to see $60 in 2010.

    (Sorry for the long rambling response.)

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