Old Republic International Corp., which owns mortgage and title insurers, swung to a third-quarter loss as claims continued to rise along with mortgage delinquencies.

Still, Old Republic said its "strong financial underpinnings" and the profitability of its general insurance business "should provide reasonable earnings support and capital-management flexibility" until earnings rebound in 2010.

The Chicago company reported a net loss of $48 million, or 21 cents a share, after posting net income of $29.2 million, or 12 cents a share, in last year's third quarter. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a 16-cent loss on revenue of $998 million.

The mortgage guarantee business reported a widened loss of $152.8 million, its fifth straight quarterly loss. The claims ratio continued to rise, with payments now double premiums received as delinquencies continued to rise and per-claim losses increased. But revenue climbed 10% on premium gains.

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