Investors Title's net income jumps 49 percent

Investors Title, which issues and underwrites title insurance policies, posted a 49 percent jump in net income in the fourth quarter.

The Chapel Hill company, which reported its fourth-quarter and year-end results earlier this week, managed the jump in net income despite a slight revenue decline of one-half percent as a result of lower operating expenses. The company attributed the lower expenses to, among other things, a decline in commissions paid to agents in line with lower premium volume and a reduction in the provision for claims.

Net income for the quarter totaled $2.7 million, or $1.33 per share, compared to $1.8 million, or 88 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue totaled $31.9 million, versus $32.1 million a year ago.

For the full year, net income totaled $9.7 million, down from $14.8 million in 2013. Revenue totaled $123.1 million, down from $126.3 million.

“Despite reductions in the number of mortgage originations in 2014 versus the prior year, we are pleased to report that our revenues contracted only slightly, due to market share increases driven by targeted expansions in our agent network,” Chairman J. Allen Fine said in a prepared statement.

Title insurance protects against losses arising from ownership disputes. The market for title insurance typically rises and falls based on the health of the housing market and refinancing activity.

Investors Title also manages investments for individuals and businesses.

Investors Title shares closed Thursday at $75.09, up $2.19. Its 52-week high is $82.08; its 52-week low is $62.53.