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 2017 the combined ratio fell to 40.4, the lowest level since it was 47.3 in 2000.