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. 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 2013 the combined ratio fell to 98.0, the lowest level since 2006.
MORTGAGE GUARANTY INSURANCE, 2004-2013