Mortgage Insurer MGIC Posts $273 Million Q4 Loss

Private mortgage insurer MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG) on Tuesday reported a net fourth-quarter loss of $273.3 million — or $2.21 per share — compared to the $1.47 billion net loss in the year-ago quarter. Total 2008 losses came to $518.9 million, roughly a third of total 2007 losses, suggesting at least some improvement over last year. Continued losses result from increased delinquencies in the fourth quarter driven by ” falling home values and the impact of a recession,” and MGIC CEO Curt Culver has said he does not expect a return to profitability in 2009, according to a media statement by the company. Total fourth-quarter revenues totaled $411.5 million due to increased net premiums, and were negatively affected by fourth-quarter losses of $903.4 million “reflecting the continued increase in the number of delinquent loans,” according to the company’s report. The company incurred $3.1 billion in losses for all of 2008, an increase from the $2.4 billion in 2007, hinting at the increased force of delinquent loans last year, which essentially doubled since 2007. As of Dec. 31, 2008, delinquent loans — excluding bulk loans — accounted for 9.5 percent of MGIC’s books, compared with about 5 percent as of Dec. 31, 2007. The company reported writing $5.5 billion in new insurance during the quarter. The company’s premium deficiency reserve declined from $584 million to $454 million through the fourth quarter. “The $454 million premium deficiency reserve as of Dec. 31, 2008 reflects the present value of expected future losses and expenses that exceeded the present value of expected future premium and already established loss reserves,” the company said in its release. It acknowledged Standard & Poor’s Rating Services had downgraded its financial strength rating to A- and warned the recent influx of loan modification programs may not have any positive effect on its books. The mortgage industry is also still grappling with losses in 2006 and 2007 vintages, and MGIC said it expects to continue to incur losses “for a number of years” on these books. “Unless recent loss trends materially mitigate, MGIC’s policyholders position could decline and its risk-to-capital could increase beyond the levels necessary to meet these regulatory requirements and this could occur before the end of 2009,” the company said. “As a result, we are considering options to obtain capital to write new business, which could occur through the sale of equity or debt securities and/or reinsurance. We cannot predict whether we will be successful in obtaining capital from any source but any sale of additional securities could dilute substantially the interest of existing shareholders.” Read the report. Write to Diana Golobay at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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