October 23, 2012

Rising CT title insurer gets $21M equity infusion

A Stamford title underwriter whose model is selling title protection directly to real estate buyers got a $21 million equity infusion from a Swiss reinsurer and existing stockholders, authorities say.

Entitle Direct Group Inc. said Tuesday Zurich reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd. invested $19 million and shareholders invested an additional $2 million.

Proceeds bolster the surplus of EnTitle Insurance Co. so it can continue building its direct-to-consumer distribution channel to crack open the insular market dominated by just four insurers, CEO Timothy Dwyer said.

Title insurance is a component of real estate closing costs to protect buyers against unforeseen liens or other claims against a real estate deed.

Lower title insurance, particulary reducing the title agent commissions as high as 80 percent, curbs closing costs, Dwyer said.

With total capital of $7.5 billion PartnerRe, which has operations in southern Connecticut, is making its first foray into underwriting title insurance, authorities said.

New York City investment banker Sandler O'Neill + Partners L.P. was Entitle Direct Group's sole placement agent in the equity infusion, officials said.

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