First American Financial Corporation (NYSE:FAF) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Feb 13, 2020 • 11:00 am ET
Greetings and welcome to the First American Financial Corporation Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator Instructions] The copy of today's press release is available on the First American website at www.firstam/ -- I'm sorry, www.firstam.com/investor. Please note that the call is being recorded and will be available for replay from the Company's investor website and for a short time by dialing 877-660-6853 or 201-612-7415 and enter conference ID of 13698002.
I will now turn the call over to Craig Barberio, Vice President, Investor Relations to make an introductory statement.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to First American's fourth quarter and full-year 2019 earnings conference call. Joining us today will be our Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Gilmore, and Mark Seaton, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Some of the statements made today may contain forward-looking statements that do not relate strictly to current or historical fact. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and the Company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made. Risks and uncertainties exist that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these forward-looking statements. For more information on these risks and uncertainties, please refer to this morning's earnings release and the risk factors discussed in our Form 10-K and subsequent SEC filings.
Our presentation today contains certain non-GAAP financial measures that we believe provide additional insight into the operational efficiency and performance of the Company relative to earlier periods and relative to the Company's competitors. For more details on these non-GAAP financial measures, including presentation with and reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financials, please refer to this morning's earnings release, which is available on our website at www.firstam.com.
I will now turn the call over to Dennis Gilmore.
Dennis J. Gilmore
Good morning and thank you for joining our call. Today, I'll begin with a review of our fourth quarter and full year results, followed by a discussion of our outlook for 2020. I'll close with some comments regarding our pending acquisition of Docutech announced this morning.
Fourth quarter earnings per share were $1.97 or $1.80, excluding net realized investment gains. Adjusted EPS for the quarter was up 41% compared to last year. Lower mortgage rates drove improved performance in our refinance and purchase business. Refinance revenue was up 153% in the fourth quarter and our purchase revenue increased 8%. In addition, our commercial business delivered record revenues, up 3% from the prior year. These favorable market conditions, combined with our operational efficiency, enabled us to achieve record margins in our Title Insurance segment. Overall, our Title Insurance segment posted a pretax margin of 17.8% or 16.8%, excluding net realized investment gains.
In our Specialty Insurance segment, our home warranty business continues to deliver strong returns, driven by growth in our