Private Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance

Private mortgage insurance (PMI), also known as mortgage guaranty insurance, guarantees that in the event of a default, the insurer will pay the mortgage lender for any loss resulting from a property foreclosure, up to a specific amount. PMI, which is purchased by the borrower but protects the lender, is sometimes confused with mortgage life insurance, a life insurance product that pays off the mortgage if the borrower dies before the loan is repaid. Banks generally require PMI for all borrowers with down payments of less than 20 percent of the home price. The industry’s combined ratio, a measure of profitability, deteriorated (i.e., rose) significantly in 2007 and 2008, reflecting the economic downturn and the subsequent rise in mortgage defaults, and remained at high levels through 2012. In 2015 the combined ratio fell to 58.1, the lowest level since it was 52.1 in 2001.

 

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance, 2006-2015

($000)

Year Net premiums written (1) Annual percent change Combined ratio (2) Annual point change (3)
2006 $4,565,899 2.5% 71.0 -4.2 pts.
2007 5,192,104 13.7 129.0 58.1
2008 5,371,878 3.5 219.8 90.8
2009 4,564,406 -15.0 201.9 -17.9
2010 4,248,798 -6.9 198.4 -3.6
2011 4,242,340 -0.2 219.0 20.7
2012 3,965,896 -6.5 189.7 -29.4
2013 4,329,947 9.2 98.0 -91.7
2014 4,180,006 -3.5 70.2 -27.7
2015 4,681,917 12.0 58.1 -12.1

(1) After reinsurance transactions, excludes state funds.
(2) After dividends to policyholders. A drop in the combined ratio represents an improvement; an increase represents a deterioration.
(3) Calculated from unrounded numbers.

Source: NAIC data, sourced from S&P Global Market Intelligence, Insurance Information Institute.

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