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First American Financial (FAF) Tops Q1 Earnings Estimates

First American Financial Corporation FAF reported first-quarter 2016 adjusted net income of 41 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 36 cents by 5.0%.The bottom line also improved 28.1% year over year. Including non recurring items of 3 cents, net realized investment gains and impairments of 3 cents, net income came in at 47 cents per share in the reported quarter.

 

First American Financial’s revenues were driven by better performance at its title segment. The specialty insurance segment also fared well owing to higher premiums earned in the home warranty business lines.

Stocks gained in after-hours trading session following the earnings beat.

Operational Performance    

First American Financial generated total revenue of $1.2 billion, up 8% from the prior-year quarter. Results also outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.1 billion by 7.0%. The year-over-year increase in revenues was driven by a rise in agent premiums, non-recurring items and net realized investment gains.

The company’s direct purchase revenues grew 9% as a result of higher fees per file.

Total expenses of First American Financial increased 7% to $1.13 billion year over year due to rise in personnel costs, provision for policy losses and other claims. It was partially offset by decline in premiums retained by agents.

Total orders closed per day during the quarter declined 8.5% year on year.

The company’s average revenue per direct order closed improved 5.9% in the reported quarter. Increase in purchase, refinance, default and other transactions drove the upside.

Segment details

Title Insurance and Services: Total revenue increased 8% year over year to $1.1 billion due to an 18% surge in agent premiums. Growth was driven by recent addition of key commercial and national agents. Direct premiums and escrow fees declined by 2% due to a 7% decrease in the number of direct orders closed, partially offset by a 6% increase in average revenue per direct title order.

Information and other revenues dipped 1% year over year to $154.3 million due to low demand for the company’s default information products and a decline in loss mitigation activity.

Pre-tax income for the Title Insurance and Services segment soared 26.2% to $87.7 million, while pre-tax margin rose by 120 basis points (bps) to 8.0%, both on a year-over-year basis.

Specialty Insurance: Total revenue increased 9% from the year-ago quarter to $103.0 million, on higher premiums earned in the home warranty business. Home-warranty claims rate increased due to higher contract servicing costs, while property and casualty business claims rate went up due to higher claims severity.

The loss ratio increased to 58% from 51% in the prior quarter due to higher claims in both business lines. Due to higher claims, pretax margin declined to 11.9% from 18.2% in the prior-year quarter.

Financial Update

First American Financial exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $1.0 billion, down 5% from Dec 31, 2015.
Total assets of First American Financial were $8.3 billion, almost flat with the Dec 31, 2015 level.

Total shareholders’ equity came in at nearly $2.8 billion as of Mar 31, 2016, up 3% from the 2015-end level.

Dividends Update

Cash dividends declared per share was 26 cents for the current quarter.

Zacks Rank and Other Stocks

Currently, First American Financial holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other P&C insurers too recently released their first-quarter earnings results. While the bottom line at RLI Corp. RLI beat its respective Zacks Consensus Estimate, The Travelers Companies Inc. TRV and Progressive Corp. PGR missed the same in the first quarter.

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RLI CORP (RLI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TRAVELERS COS (TRV): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PROGRESSIVE COR (PGR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FIRST AMER FINL (FAF): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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