Item 1A. Risk Factors
In evaluating our company and our business, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Annual Report”), including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The occurrence of one or more of the events or circumstances described in these risk factors, alone or in combination with other events or circumstances, may have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, revenue, financial condition, results of operations and future prospects, in which case the market price of our securities (including our common stock) could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment. Unless otherwise indicated, reference in this section and elsewhere in this Annual Report to our business being adversely affected, negatively impacted or harmed will include an adverse effect on, or a negative impact or harm to, our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, revenue and our future prospects. The material and other risks and uncertainties summarized above in this Annual Report and described below are not intended to be exhaustive and are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations. This Annual Report also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors, including the risks described below. See “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”
Unless the context otherwise requires, references to the “company,” “Company,” “Doma,” “we,” “us,” “our” and similar terms refer to Doma Holdings, Inc. (f/k/a Capitol Investment Corp. V) and its consolidated subsidiaries. References to “Capitol” refer to our predecessor company prior to the consummation of the Business Combination. References to “Old Doma” refer to Old Doma prior to the Business Combination and to States Title Holding, Inc. (“States Title”), the wholly owned subsidiary of Doma, upon the consummation of the Business Combination.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
COVID-19 has adversely affected our business and could have adverse effects on our business in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact around the world, prompting governments and businesses to take unprecedented measures. Such measures have included certain restrictions on travel and business operations, temporary closures of businesses, and/or quarantine and shelter-in-place orders. The COVID-19 pandemic has at times significantly impacted macroeconomic activity and caused significant volatility and disruption in the financial and real estate markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on the national economy and the communities in which we operate. While the pandemic’s effect on the macroeconomic environment has yet to be fully determined and could continue for months or years, we expect that the pandemic and governmental programs created as a response to the pandemic, now or in the future, could affect core aspects of our business. Such effects, if they worsen or continue for a prolonged period, may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operation.
We operate in the real estate industry and our business volumes are directly affected by market trends for mortgage refinancing transactions, existing real estate resale transactions and new real estate purchase transactions, particularly in the residential segment of the market. Our success depends on a high volume of residential and, to a lesser extent, commercial real estate transactions, throughout the markets in which we operate. This transaction volume affects all of the ways that we generate revenue, including the number of transactions our title and escrow business closes. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic initially led to a material decline in purchase transactions. Subsequent U.S. federal stimulus measures, including interest rate reductions by the Federal Reserve, and local regulatory initiatives, such as permitting remote notarization, eventually led to a quick recovery for the real estate industry and resulted in an increase in mortgage refinancing and purchase volumes. These initiatives have also led to a greater demand for homes, higher home prices, and record low home inventories. Changes in the aforementioned economic policies and initiatives and/or existing or new limitations imposed by governmental authorities on processes and procedures attendant to real estate transactions, such as in-person showings, in-home inspections and appraisals and county recordings, negative market reactions to new measures, as well as COVID-19’s overall impacts on the U.S. economy, continue to create volatility and uncertainty in the real estate market and may in the future have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and prospects.
The COVID-19 pandemic may also affect the volume and severity of our title insurance claims in the future. As part of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act initially allowed borrowers to request a mortgage forbearance and prevented lenders and loan service providers from foreclosing on mortgages backed by the government-sponsored enterprises (“GSE”), such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or federal mortgages. Although the federal moratorium on foreclosures of GSE-backed mortgages expired on July 31, 2021, there is uncertainty as to whether the government will revive this moratorium or offer additional relief in the future. The expiration of these foreclosure moratoriums could result in an influx of foreclosure proceedings, which could expose lenders to mortgage losses. If defaults or foreclosures are at elevated levels, there may be an influx of title insurance claims under loan policies or claims might be reported earlier than under normal conditions. A significant increase in claim volume or the severity of those claims could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
As a result of the pandemic, in March 2020, we transitioned to a remote working environment, with a peak of 81% of our team members working remotely as of May 2020. Although many team members have returned to the office, we believe our remote team members have transitioned well to working from home, and have not had any productivity issues to date. However, over an extended time, such remote operations may decrease the cohesiveness of our teams and our ability to maintain our culture, both of which are integral to our success. Additionally, a remote working environment may impede our ability to undertake new business projects, to foster a creative environment, to hire new team members and to retain existing team members.
To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects the Company’s business or financial condition, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report.
We have a history of net losses and could continue to incur substantial net losses in the future.
We have incurred net losses on an annual basis since our incorporation in 2016. We incurred net losses of $27.1 million, $35.1 million and $113.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. As a result of these losses, we had an accumulated deficit of $44.0 million, $79.1 million and $192.2 million as of December 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. We expect to continue to incur significant sales and marketing expenses, including digital marketing and brand advertising, research and development and other expenses as we expand our sales and marketing efforts to increase adoption of our title and escrow products, continue to expand and improve our title and escrow product offerings and enhance our customer experience. As we continue to invest in our business, we expect expenses to continue to increase in the near term. These investments may not result in increased revenue or growth in our business. If we fail to manage our losses or to grow our revenue sufficiently, our business will be seriously harmed.
In addition, as a public company, we will also incur significant additional legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. We may encounter unforeseen or unpredictable factors, including unforeseen operating expenses, complications or delays, which may also result in increased costs. Further, it is difficult to predict the size and growth rate of our market or demand for our title and escrow products, and success of current or potential future competitors. The net losses we incur may fluctuate significantly from period to period. We will need to generate significant additional revenue and maintain or improve our gross margins to achieve and sustain profitability. It is possible we will not achieve profitability or, even if we do achieve profitability, we may not remain profitable for any substantial period of time.
Our future growth and profitability depend in part on our ability to successfully operate in the highly competitive real estate and insurance industries.
The real estate and insurance industries are intensely competitive and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Our competitors include larger and better capitalized traditional insurers with substantially longer operating histories and may in the future include one or more of a growing number of other technology companies entering the insurance industry. Some of these competitors may be more resilient to pricing competition than we are or have the resources necessary to develop competing machine intelligence technologies or reverse engineer certain aspects of our technology, which could adversely affect our prospects.
Even though consumers have a legal right to select their own settlement service vendors and title insurance providers, consumers generally rely on referrals from real estate agents, lenders, developers and attorneys when selecting their settlement services vendors and title insurance providers. There is a great deal of competition among settlement service vendors and title insurance providers for these sources of transactions. We source a significant
number of our customer transactions through our Doma Enterprise partners and third-party title agents (“Third-Party Agent(s)”). We rely on our go-to-market team to attract, develop and retain these Doma Enterprise partnerships and Third-Party Agents. However, our title and escrow business and proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms are still nascent compared to the established business models and title and escrow practices of the well-established incumbents in the title insurance industry. For example, the top four title insurance companies in 2020 accounted for about 81% of industry-wide premium volume. These competitors rely on their well-established national brands, reputation and experience, size, financial strength and ratings. This competition could adversely affect demand for our products, reduce our market share and growth prospects, and potentially reduce our profitability. We may also be unable to attract and retain the business development talent necessary to compete with the well-established brands, regional underwriters and new entrants into the title and escrow industry.
Our future growth will depend in large part on our ability to grow our title and escrow business using our patented technology and machine intelligence-driven title and escrow processes to disrupt the way title underwriting has traditionally been conducted and sold. However, due to the competitive nature of the real estate and insurance industries, there can be no assurance that we will continue to compete effectively within our industries, or that competitive pressures will not have a material effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
Our success and ability to grow our business depend on retaining and expanding our Doma Enterprise partner base. If we fail to add new Doma Enterprise partners or retain current Doma Enterprise partners, our business, revenue, operating results and financial condition could be harmed.
We acquire a significant amount of our order volume through our Doma Enterprise partners. Our success and ability to grow our title and escrow business depend on retaining and expanding our Doma Enterprise partner base. We must retain and expand our relationships with Doma Enterprise partners to significantly expand our order volumes, allow for future product offerings, achieve benefits of scale, and enhance the quantity and quality of proprietary data on which our machine intelligence technology’s capability is based.
Our Doma Enterprise partnership agreements do not contain exclusivity provisions that would prevent such Doma Enterprise partners from providing leads to competing companies. In addition, the agreements governing these Doma Enterprise partnerships contain termination provisions that allow the partner to terminate the agreement early without cause. If one or more of these significant Doma Enterprise partners terminate our relationship or reduce the number of leads provided to us, without some growth offset with other Doma Enterprise partners, our business would be harmed. Our failure to retain any of our existing Doma Enterprise partner relationships, either due to the expiration of their agreements or as a result of their exercise of early termination rights or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations (including growth rates) and financial condition, to the extent we do not acquire new Doma Enterprise partners of similar size and profitability or otherwise grow our business. There can be no assurance that these Doma Enterprise partners will not terminate our relationship with them or continue referring business to us in the future.
The competition for new Doma Enterprise partners is also significant, and we may be unsuccessful in our attempts to expand our Doma Enterprise partner base, which could adversely affect our ability to grow. Moreover, the acquisition of a substantial number of new Doma Enterprise partners will require additional staffing and investment in customer acquisition. Our ability to obtain and retain Doma Enterprise relationships depends on our ability to strengthen our reputation and brand, provide superior customer experiences, and maintain our competitive pricing. Additionally, some multi-state lenders may be reluctant to partner with us if they have long-established relationships with larger, traditional title insurers, whom they may perceive to offer reliability given their size, financial resources, and longevity.
Our success depends to a significant extent on the timely rollout of our machine intelligence technology across our centralized operations and branch footprint.
On January 7, 2019, we acquired from the Lennar Corporation (“Lennar”), its subsidiary, NATIC (which has been renamed “Doma Title Insurance, Inc.” or referred to herein as “DTI”), a major national underwriter, and a significant volume portfolio of national retail operations under the North American Title Company brand (which is being rebranded as Doma Insurance Agency in its related markets) (collectively, the “Acquired Business”) (the “North American Title Acquisition”). Since the North American Title Acquisition, we have continued to invest in the development and rollout of our machine intelligence platform, Doma Intelligence, and have implemented several initiatives to realign the operations of the Acquired Business. We have begun to transform the Acquired Business’s retail agency operations, including streamlining our physical branch footprint and rationalizing branch back-office
functions into a common corporate function, implemented a common production platform across all of our branches, and implemented our machine intelligence technology in parts of our North American Title local operations. We continue to invest substantially in our machine intelligence technology, and our success depends to a significant extent on the timely rollout of our machine intelligence technology across our centralized operations and branch footprint. Our success also depends on our ability to expand the use of our machine intelligence technology beyond refinance transactions and into purchase transactions (starting in the quarter ended December 31, 2021, we began running purchase transactions on the Doma Intelligence platform). Significant delays to our planned expansion of the Doma Intelligence platform, which could occur due to, among other reasons, technology implementation delays at individual local branches, availability of title and property data in certain areas, inability to hire or train adequate service personnel, or regulatory requirements, could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and growth prospects, including our margin growth and ability to realize significant cost savings over time as manual processes are replaced with our data science-driven approach to title and escrow services.
We have a limited operating history and a novel business model. This makes it difficult to evaluate our current business performance and growth prospects.
We have a limited operating history. Since we launched the Doma Intelligence platform in February 2018, we have experienced rapid growth, which makes it difficult to evaluate our current business performance or future prospects. Our historical results may not be indicative of, or comparable to, our future results. Our inability to adequately assess our performance and growth could have a material adverse effect on our brand, business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, as our business model of using machine intelligence technology to enable seamless real estate closings is novel, we have limited data to validate key aspects of our business model, such as the use of our proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms. It may take many years for title insurance claims to arise, and insufficient time has passed since the launch of the Doma Intelligence platform and its use at scale to have observed claims activity to validate the performance of the model. We cannot provide any assurance that the early claims data that we collect will provide useful measures for evaluating the Doma Intelligence platform and our automation capabilities, and determining reserve and reinsurance requirements. Limited claims history could result in our not setting aside adequate reserves and/or maintaining sufficient reinsurance, which may adversely affect our ability to write future title insurance policies, resulting in the assumption of more risk with respect to those policies or an increase in our capital requirements.
Our brand may not become as widely known or accepted as incumbents’ brands or our brand may become tarnished.
Many of our competitors in the real estate and title insurance industries have brands that are well recognized. As a relatively new entrant into the title and escrow market, we have spent, and expect that we will for the foreseeable future continue to spend, considerable amounts of money and other resources on creating brand awareness and building our reputation. We may not be able to build brand awareness to levels matching our competitors, and our efforts at building, maintaining and enhancing our reputation could fail and/or may not be cost-effective. Complaints or negative publicity about our business practices, our marketing and advertising campaigns (including marketing affiliations or partnerships), our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the integrity of the data that we provide to customers and partners, data privacy and security issues, and other aspects of our business, whether real or perceived, could diminish confidence in our brand, which could adversely affect our reputation and business. As we expand our product offerings and enter new markets, we will need to establish our reputation with current and prospective homeowners, lenders, title agents and real estate professionals, and to the extent we are not successful in creating positive impressions, our business in these newer markets could be adversely affected. While we may choose to engage in a broader marketing campaign to further promote our brand, this effort may not be successful or cost-effective. If we are unable to maintain or enhance our reputation or enhance consumer awareness of our brand in a cost-effective manner, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We may not be able to manage our growth effectively.
We have experienced substantial growth in our operations, and we expect to experience continued substantial growth in our business. Our rapid growth has placed and may continue to place significant demands on management and our operational and financial resources. We have hired and expect to continue hiring additional personnel to support our rapid growth. Our organizational structure is becoming more complex as we add staff, and we will need
to enhance our operational, financial and management controls as well as our reporting systems and procedures. We will require significant capital expenditures and the allocation of valuable management resources to grow and change in these areas without undermining our corporate culture of rapid innovation, teamwork and focus on the title and escrow experience for current and prospective homeowners, lenders, title agents and real estate professionals. If we cannot manage our growth effectively to maintain the quality and efficiency of our customer experience as well as the cost-effectiveness of our products, our business could be harmed as a result, and our results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
If we are unable to expand our product offerings, our prospects for future growth may be adversely affected.
We are, and intend in the future to continue, investing significant resources in developing new, and enhancing existing, product offerings, including an expansion of the use of our machine intelligence underwriting approach to the residential purchase market. Our ability to attract and retain customers and partners and therefore increase our revenue depends on our ability to successfully expand our product offerings. New initiatives and product offerings are inherently risky, as they involve unproven business strategies and new products and services with which we may have limited or no prior development or operating experience. Risks from our innovative initiatives include those associated with potential defects in the design and development of the technologies used to automate processes, the misapplication of technologies, the reliance on data that may prove inadequate, and the failure to meet customer and partner expectations, among others. Failure to accurately predict demand or growth with respect to new or enhanced products in which we invest could have an adverse impact on our business, and there is always risk that these new products and services will be unprofitable, will increase our costs or will decrease our operating margins or take longer than anticipated to achieve target margins. Further, our development efforts with respect to these initiatives could distract management from current operations and could divert capital and other resources from our existing business. Moreover, insurance regulation applicable to new products or product enhancements could limit our ability to introduce new product offerings, and required regulatory approvals could delay product introductions. As a result of these risks, we could invest significant amounts of capital or other resources in product offerings that are unsuccessful, experience reputational damage or other adverse effects, which could be material. Additionally, we can provide no assurance that we will be able to develop, commercially market and achieve acceptance of our new products and services. Our investment of resources to develop new products and services may either be insufficient or result in expenses that are excessive in light of revenue actually originated from these new products and services. If we are unable to offer new or enhanced products by continuing to innovate and improve on our technology, we may be unable to successfully compete with other companies that are currently in, or that may enter, our industry, we may not be able to realize the expected benefits of our investments, and our reputation and future growth could be materially adversely affected.
Acquisitions or investments could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition.
We regularly review and assess strategic alternatives in the ordinary course of our business, including potential acquisitions or investments, and, from time to time, we are in active discussions regarding potential acquisitions and investments. In 2019, we completed the North American Title Acquisition, and we expect to pursue additional acquisitions or investments that we believe will help us achieve our strategic objectives. There is no assurance that such acquisitions or investments will perform as expected or will be successfully integrated into our business or generate substantial revenue, and we may overestimate cash flow, underestimate costs or fail to understand the risks related to any investment or acquired business. The process of acquiring a business, product or technology can also cause us to incur various expenses and create unforeseen operating difficulties, expenditures and other challenges, whether or not those acquisitions are consummated, such as:
•intense competition for suitable acquisition targets, which could increase prices and adversely affect our ability to consummate deals on favorable or acceptable terms;
•inadequacy of reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses;
•failure or material delay in closing a transaction, including as a result of regulatory review and approvals;
•regulatory conditions attached to the approval of the acquisition and other regulatory hurdles;
•a need for additional capital that was not anticipated at the time of the acquisition;
•anticipated benefits not materializing or being lower than anticipated;
•diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;
•transition of the acquired company’s customers or suppliers;
•difficulties in integrating the technologies, operations, existing contracts and personnel of an acquired company;
•retention of employees or business partners of an acquired company;
•cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;
•integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources and other administrative systems;
•the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked effective controls, procedures and policies;
•coordination of product development and sales and marketing functions;
•theft of our trade secrets or confidential information that we share with potential acquisition candidates;
•risk that an acquired company or investment in new offerings cannibalizes a portion of our existing business;
•adverse market reaction to an acquisition;
•liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including intellectual property infringement and misappropriation claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities; and
•litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, users, former stockholders or other third parties.
If we are unable to address these difficulties and challenges or other problems encountered in connection with prior or any future acquisition or investment, we might not realize the anticipated benefits of that acquisition or investment and we might incur unanticipated liabilities or otherwise suffer harm to our business.
To the extent that we pay the consideration for any future acquisitions or investments in cash, it would reduce the amount of cash available to us for other purposes. Future acquisitions or investments could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities or the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expenses, increased interest expenses or impairment charges against goodwill on our consolidated balance sheet, any of which could seriously harm our business.
Our product development cycles are complex, and we may incur significant expenses before we generate revenues and efficiencies, if any, from new products.
Because our products are highly technical and require rigorous testing, development cycles can be complex. Moreover, development projects can be technically challenging and expensive, and may be delayed or defeated by the inability to obtain the necessary licensing or other regulatory approvals. The nature of these development cycles may cause us to experience delays between the time we incur expenses associated with research and development, and the time we generate revenues and efficiencies, if any, from such expenses. If we expend a significant amount of resources on research and development, and our efforts do not lead to the successful introduction or improvement of products that are competitive in the marketplace, this could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. Additionally, anticipated demand from customers and partners for a product we are developing could decrease after the development cycle has commenced. Such decreased demand from customers and partners may cause us to fall short of our sales targets, and we may nonetheless be unable to avoid substantial costs associated with the product’s development. If we are unable to complete product development cycles successfully and in a timely fashion and generate revenues and efficiencies from such future products, the growth of our business may be harmed.
Adverse changes in economic conditions, especially those affecting the levels of real estate and mortgage activity, may reduce our revenues.
Our financial condition and results of operations are affected by changes in economic conditions, particularly mortgage interest rates, credit availability, real estate prices and consumer confidence. Our revenues and earnings have fluctuated in the past due to the cyclical nature of the housing industry and we expect them to fluctuate in the future.
The demand for our title and escrow offerings is dependent primarily on the volume of residential real estate transactions. The volume of these transactions historically has been influenced by such factors as mortgage interest rates, availability of financing and the overall state of the economy. Typically, when interest rates are increasing or when the economy is experiencing a downturn, real estate activity declines. As a result, the real estate and title insurance industries tend to experience decreased revenues and earnings.
Our revenues and results of operations have been and may in the future be adversely affected by a decline in affordable real estate, real estate activity or the availability of financing alternatives. In addition, weakness or adverse changes in the level of real estate activity could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Historically, the demand for products offered through our Doma Intelligence platform has been driven by mortgage refinancing activity (starting in the quarter ended December 31, 2021, we began running purchase transactions on our Doma Intelligence platform), which has improved as a result of lower interest rates. If interest rates in the United States rise as has been projected by the Mortgage Bankers Association, or general mortgage activity decreases for any other reason, it is likely that mortgage activity will decline, which would negatively impact our business. If we do not further expand our customer and partner base, increase wallet share with existing partners, or improve market share of purchase transactions, we may experience lower transaction volume than our historical volume or expectations during periods of lower mortgage activity.
We expect several factors to cause our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which may make it difficult to predict our future performance.
Our revenue and results of operations could vary significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year, and may fail to match periodic expectations as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control. Our results may vary from period to period as a result of fluctuations in the number of real estate transactions we handle, as well as fluctuations in the timing and amount of our expenses. In addition, the insurance industry is subject to its own cyclical trends and uncertainties, including fluctuating interest rates and real estate prices. Fluctuations and variability across the industry may also affect our revenue. As a result, comparing our results of operations on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful, and the results of any one period should not be relied on as an indication of future performance. Our results of operations may not meet the expectations of investors or public market analysts who follow us, which may adversely affect our stock price. In addition to other risk factors discussed in this section and elsewhere in this Annual Report, factors that may contribute to the variability of our quarterly and annual results include:
•our ability to attract new customers and partners, and retain existing customers and partners, including in a cost-effective manner;
•our ability to accurately forecast revenue and losses, and appropriately plan our expenses;
•the effects of changes in search engine placement and prominence;
•the effects of increased competition on our business;
•our ability to successfully maintain our position in and expand in existing markets as well as successfully enter new markets;
•our ability to protect our existing intellectual property and to create new intellectual property;
•our ability to maintain an adequate rate of growth and effectively manage that growth;
•the length and unpredictability of our sales cycle;
•our ability to keep pace with technology changes in the title insurance industry;
•the success of our sales, marketing and customer service efforts;
•costs associated with defending claims, including title claims, intellectual property infringement claims, misclassifications and related judgments or settlements;
•the impact of, and changes in, governmental or other regulation affecting our business;
•changes in the economy generally (including due to COVID-19), which could impact the industries in which we operate;
•the attraction and retention of qualified employees and key personnel;
•our ability to choose and effectively manage third-party service providers;
•our ability to identify and engage in joint ventures and strategic partnerships;
•the effectiveness of our internal controls; and
•changes in our tax rates or exposure to additional tax liabilities.
The historical financial results of Old Doma included elsewhere in this Annual Report may not be indicative of what our actual financial position or results of operations would have been as a standalone public company or those we will achieve in the future.
The historical financial results of Old Doma included in this Annual Report may not reflect the financial condition, results of operations or cash flows Old Doma would have achieved as a standalone public company during the periods presented or those we will achieve in the future. This is primarily the result of the following factors: (i) we will incur additional ongoing costs as a result of the Business Combination, including costs related to public company reporting, investor relations and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”); and (ii) our capital structure is different from that reflected in Old Doma’s historical financial statements. Our financial condition and future results of operations could be materially different from amounts reflected in Old Doma’s historical financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report, so it may be difficult for investors to compare our future results to historical results or to evaluate Old Doma’s relative performance or trends in its business.
We may require additional capital to support business growth or to satisfy our regulatory capital and surplus requirements, and this capital might not be available on acceptable terms, if at all.
We intend to continue to make investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new features and products or enhance our existing products and services, satisfy our regulatory capital and surplus requirements, cover losses, improve our operating infrastructure or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. We expect our capital expenditures and working capital requirements to continue to increase in the immediate future, as we continue to invest in the deployment of the Doma Intelligence platform and expand our footprint in local markets and into new geographies. Many factors will affect our capital needs as well as their amount and timing, including our growth and profitability, regulatory requirements, market disruptions and other developments. If our present capital and surplus is insufficient to meet our current or future operating requirements, including regulatory capital and surplus requirements, or to cover losses, we may need to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings or curtail our product development activities or other growth initiatives.
Historically, we have funded our operations, marketing expenditures and capital expenditures primarily through debt and equity issuances. We evaluate financing opportunities from time to time, and our ability to obtain financing will depend, among other things, on our development efforts, business plans and operating performance, and the condition of the capital markets at the time we seek financing. We cannot be certain that additional financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all.
If we raise additional funds through the issuance of equity, equity-linked or debt securities, those securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of our common stock, and existing stockholders may experience dilution. Any debt financing secured by us in the future could require that a substantial portion of our operating cash flow be devoted to the payment of interest and principal on such indebtedness, which may decrease
available funds for other business activities, and could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital-raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. Moreover, as the holding company of insurance subsidiary, we are subject to extensive laws and regulations in every jurisdiction in which we conduct business, and any issuances of equity or convertible debt securities to secure additional funds may be impeded by regulatory approvals or requirements imposed by such regulatory authorities if such issuances were deemed to result in a person acquiring “control” of our company under applicable insurance laws and regulations. Such regulatory requirements may require potential investors to disclose their organizational structure and detailed financial statements as well as require managing partners, directors and/or senior officers to submit biographical affidavits, which may deter investments in our company.
If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us, when we require it, our ability to continue to support our business growth, maintain minimum amounts of risk-based capital and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited, and our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We collect, process, store, share, disclose and use consumer information and other data and are subject to stringent and changing privacy laws, regulations and standards, policies and contractual obligations. Our actual or perceived failure to protect such information and data, respect consumers’ privacy or comply with data privacy and security laws and regulations and our policies and contractual obligations could damage our reputation and brand and harm our business and operating results.
Use of technology to offer title and escrow products involves the storage and transmission of information, including personal information, in relation to our staff, contractors, business partners and current, past or potential customers. We have legal and contractual obligations regarding confidentiality and the protection and appropriate use of personally identifiable and other proprietary or confidential information. Data privacy has become a significant issue in the United States and around the world. The regulatory framework for privacy issues worldwide is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. Many government bodies and agencies have adopted or are considering adopting laws and regulations regarding the processing, collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information and breach notification procedures. We are also required to comply with laws, rules and regulations, as well as contractual obligations, relating to data security. Interpretation of these laws, rules and regulations and their application to our platform in applicable jurisdictions is ongoing and cannot be fully determined at this time.
We are subject to numerous and constantly evolving privacy laws and regulations. Certain of our activities are subject to the privacy regulations of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, along with its implementing regulations, which restricts certain collection, processing, storage, use and disclosure of personal information, requires notice to individuals of privacy practices, provides individuals with certain rights to prevent the use and disclosure of certain nonpublic or otherwise legally protected information and imposes requirements for the safeguarding and proper destruction of personal information through the issuance of data security standards or guidelines. On October 24, 2017, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) adopted its Insurance Data Security Model Law, or the Insurance Data Security Model Law, intended to serve as model legislation for states to enact in order to govern the cybersecurity and data protection practices of insurers, insurance agents, and other licensed entities registered under state insurance laws. Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia have adopted versions of the Insurance Data Security Model Law, each with a different effective date, and other states may adopt versions of the Insurance Data Security Model Law in the future. The New York Department of Financial Services has promulgated its own Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies that is not based upon the Insurance Data Security Model Law, and requires insurance companies to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program, and implement and maintain cybersecurity policies and procedures with specific requirements. In addition, the California Financial Information Privacy Act further regulates how California consumers’ nonpublic personal information is shared and includes certain more stringent obligations than the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
On June 28, 2018, California enacted a new privacy law known as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”), which became effective January 1, 2020. The CCPA increases privacy rights for California residents, and imposes obligations on companies that process their personal information, including an obligation to provide certain new disclosures to such residents. Specifically, among other things, the CCPA creates new consumer rights, and imposes corresponding obligations on covered businesses, relating to the access to, deletion of, and sharing of personal information collected by covered businesses, including California residents’ right to access and delete their
personal information, opt out of certain sharing and sales of their personal information, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The law exempts from certain requirements of the CCPA certain information that is collected, processed, sold, or disclosed pursuant to the California Financial Information Privacy Act or the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The definition of “personal information” in the CCPA is broad and may encompass other information that we maintain beyond that excluded under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act or the California Financial Information Privacy Act exemption. Further, the CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain data breaches that result in the loss of personal information. This private right of action is expected to increase the likelihood of, and risks associated with, data breach litigation. In addition, it remains unclear how various provisions of the CCPA will be interpreted and enforced. Moreover, the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) was approved by California voters in November 2020 and will further modify and expand the CCPA, including by expanding consumers’ rights with respect to certain personal information and creating a new state agency to oversee implementation and enforcement efforts. We may be required to expend significant time and financial resources to evaluate our practices for compliance with CPRA. Some observers have noted that the CCPA and CPRA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States, and multiple states have enacted, or are expected to enact, similar laws. There is also discussion in Congress of a new comprehensive federal data protection and privacy law to which we likely would be subject if it is enacted. The effects of the CCPA and CPRA, and other similar state or federal laws, are potentially significant and may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, and to incur substantial costs and potential liability in an effort to comply with such legislation.
Complying with privacy and data protection laws and regulations may cause us to incur substantial operational costs or require us to change our business practices. Although we take steps to comply with financial industry cybersecurity regulations and other data security laws such as the CCPA and believe we are materially compliant with their requirements, our failure to comply with new or existing cybersecurity regulations could result in material regulatory actions and other penalties. Because the interpretation and application of privacy and data protection laws are still uncertain, it is possible that these laws and other actual or alleged legal obligations, such as contractual or self-regulatory obligations, may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing data management practices or the features of our platform. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits and other claims, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our platform, which could have an adverse effect on our business. Any inability to adequately address privacy concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable privacy or data protection laws, regulations and policies, could result in additional cost and liability to us, damage our reputation, inhibit sales and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Additionally, we are subject to the terms of our privacy policies and privacy-related obligations to third parties. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with our privacy policies, our privacy-related obligations to consumers or other third parties, or our privacy-related legal obligations, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of sensitive information, which could include personally identifiable information or other user data, may result in governmental or regulatory investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, compliance orders, litigation or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and could cause consumers to lose trust in us, all of which could be costly and have an adverse effect on our business. In addition, new and changed rules and regulations regarding privacy, data protection (in particular those that impact the use of machine intelligence) and cross-border transfers of consumer information could cause us to delay planned uses and disclosures of data to comply with applicable privacy and data protection requirements. For example, our use of certain vendors outside of the United States to perform services on our platform could subject us to additional data protection regimes and increased risk of noncompliance. Moreover, if third parties that we work with violate applicable laws or our policies, such violations also may put personal information at risk, which may result in increased regulatory scrutiny and have a material adverse effect to our reputation, business and operating results.
If the security of the personal information that we (or our vendors) collect, store or process is compromised or is otherwise accessed without authorization, or if we fail to comply with our commitments and assurances regarding the privacy and security of such information, our reputation may be harmed and we may be exposed to significant liability and loss of business.
Cyberattacks and other malicious internet-based activity continue to increase. In addition to traditional computer “hackers,” malicious code (such as viruses and worms), employee theft or misuse and denial-of-service attacks, sophisticated nation-state and nation-state-supported actors now engage in attacks (including advanced persistent
threat intrusions). On July 18, 2021, Cloudstar, a provider of technology solutions to the title insurance industry, reported a successful ransomware attack on its systems. While this attack did not have any impact on our systems and had no material impact on our business or operations, it may indicate the specific targeting of the real estate settlement services industry. We may experience an increased risk of cyberattacks to the extent any such targeting exists and continues. We cannot guarantee that our or our vendors’ security measures will be sufficient to protect against unauthorized access to or other compromise of personal information. The techniques used to sabotage or to obtain unauthorized access to our or our vendors’ technology, systems, networks and/or physical facilities in which data is stored or through which data is transmitted change frequently, and we or our vendors may be unable to implement adequate preventative measures or stop security breaches while they are occurring. The security measures that we have integrated into our technology, systems, networks and physical facilities, and any such measures implemented by our vendors, which are designed to protect against, detect and minimize security breaches, may not be adequate to prevent or detect service interruption, system failure or data loss.
Security breaches, including by hackers or insiders, could expose personal or confidential information, which could result in potential regulatory investigations, fines, penalties, compliance orders, liability, litigation and remediation costs, as well as reputational harm, any of which could materially adversely affect our business and financial results. Third parties may also exploit vulnerabilities in, or obtain unauthorized access to, technology, systems, networks and/or physical facilities utilized by our vendors. For example, unauthorized parties could steal or access our users’ names, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and other information that we collect when providing our title and escrow products such as bank account or other payment information. Further, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or consumers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our information or consumers’ information. Any of these incidents, or any other types of security or privacy-related incidents, could result in an investigation by a competent regulator, resulting in a fine or penalty, or an order to implement specific compliance measures. It could also trigger claims by affected third parties. While we use encryption and authentication technology licensed from third parties designed to effect secure transmission of such information, we cannot guarantee the security of the transfer and storage of personal or other confidential information. Any or all of the issues above could adversely affect our ability to attract or retain customers or partners, or subject us to governmental or third-party lawsuits, investigations, regulatory fines or other actions or liability, resulting in a material adverse effect to our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are required to comply with laws, rules and regulations as well as contractual obligations that require us to maintain the security of personal information. We have contractual and legal obligations to notify relevant stakeholders of security breaches. We operate in an industry prone to cyberattacks. We have previously and may in the future become the target of cyberattacks by third parties seeking unauthorized access to our or our customers’ data or to disrupt our ability to provide our services. Failure to prevent or mitigate cyberattacks could result in the unauthorized access to personal information. Most jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals, regulatory authorities and others of security breaches involving certain types of data. In addition, our agreements with certain customers and partners may require us to notify them in the event of a security breach. Such mandatory disclosures are costly, could lead to negative publicity, may cause our customers or partners to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures, and require us to expend significant capital and other resources to respond to and/or alleviate problems caused by the actual or perceived security breach. A security breach of any of our vendors that process personal information of our customers may pose similar risks.
A security breach may cause us to breach customer or partner contracts. Our agreements with certain customers or partners may require us to use industry-standard or reasonable measures to safeguard personal information. We also may be subject to laws that require us to use industry-standard or reasonable security measures to safeguard personal information. A security breach could lead to claims by our customers or other relevant stakeholders that we have failed to comply with such legal or contractual obligations. As a result, we could be subject to legal action or our customers or partners could end their relationships with us. There can be no assurance that the limitations of liability in our contracts would be enforceable or adequate or would otherwise protect us from liabilities or damages, and in some cases our agreements with customers or partners do not limit our remediation costs or liability with respect to data breaches.
Litigation resulting from security breaches may adversely affect our business. Unauthorized access to our technology, systems, networks or physical facilities, or those of our vendors, could result in litigation with our customers or other relevant stakeholders. These proceedings could force us to spend money in defense or settlement, divert management’s time and attention, increase our costs of doing business, or adversely affect our reputation. We could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our products and/or
technology capabilities in response to such litigation, which could have an adverse effect on our business. If a security breach were to occur, and the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal information was disrupted, we could incur significant liability, or our technology, systems or networks may be perceived as less desirable, which could negatively affect our business and damage our reputation.
We may not have adequate insurance coverage. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed our available insurance coverage, or result in changes to our insurance policies (including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or coinsurance requirements), could have an adverse effect on our business. In addition, we cannot be sure that our existing insurance coverage and coverage for errors and omissions will continue to be available on acceptable terms or that our insurers will not deny coverage as to any future claim.
Technology disruptions or failures, including a failure in our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties with whom we do business, could disrupt our business or cause legal or reputational harm .
We are dependent on the secure, efficient, and uninterrupted operation of our technology infrastructure, including computer systems, related software applications and data centers, as well as those of certain third parties and affiliates. Our platform and computer/telecommunication networks must accommodate a high volume of traffic and deliver frequently updated information, the accuracy and timeliness of which is critical to our business. Our technology must be able to facilitate a title and escrow experience that equals or exceeds the experience provided by our competitors. We have or may in the future experience service disruptions and failures caused by system or software failure, fire, power loss, telecommunications failures, team member misconduct, human error, computer hackers, computer viruses and disabling devices, malicious or destructive code, denial of service or information, as well as natural disasters, health pandemics and other similar events, and our disaster recovery planning may not be sufficient for all situations. This is especially applicable in the current response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift we have experienced in having most of our team members work from their homes, as our team members access our secure networks through their home networks. The implementation of technology changes and upgrades to maintain current and integrate new technology systems may also cause service interruptions. Any such disruption could interrupt or delay our ability to provide services to our Enterprise partners, Third-Party Agents and consumers, and could also impair the ability of third parties to provide critical services to us.
Additionally, the technology and other controls and processes we have created to help us identify misrepresented information in our title and escrow operations were designed to obtain reasonable, not absolute, assurance that such information is identified and addressed appropriately. Accordingly, such controls may not have detected, and may fail in the future to detect, all misrepresented information in our title and escrow operations. If our operations are disrupted or otherwise negatively affected by a technology disruption or failure, this could result in customer and partner dissatisfaction and damage to our reputation and brand and material adverse impacts on our business. We do not carry business interruption insurance sufficient to compensate us for all losses that may result from interruptions in our service as a result of systems disruptions, failures and similar events.
Our title and escrow business relies on data from consumers and unaffiliated third parties, the unavailability or inaccuracy of which could limit the functionality of our products.
We use data, technology and intellectual property from consumers and unaffiliated third parties in certain of our products, including the data used by the machine learning algorithms in the Doma Intelligence platform, and we may license additional third-party technology and intellectual property in the future. Any errors or defects in this third-party data, technology and intellectual property could result in errors that could harm our brand and business. In addition, licensed data, technology and intellectual property may not continue to be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.
Further, although we believe that there are currently adequate replacements for the third-party data, technology and intellectual property we presently use, the loss of our right to use any of this data, technology and intellectual property could result in delays in producing or delivering affected products until equivalent data, technology or intellectual property is identified, licensed or otherwise procured, and integrated.
Our business would be disrupted if any data, technology and intellectual property we license from others or functional equivalents of this software were either no longer available to us or no longer offered to us on commercially reasonable terms. In either case, we would be required either to attempt to redesign our products to function with data, technology and intellectual property available from other parties or to develop these components ourselves, which would result in increased costs and could result in delays in product sales and the release of new
product offerings. Alternatively, we might be forced to limit the features available in affected products. Any of these results could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our success depends upon the real estate and title insurance industries continuing to adopt new products at their current pace and the continued growth and acceptance of data science and machine intelligence-driven products and services as effective alternatives to traditional manual products and services.
We provide our title and escrow products through our platform that competes with traditional manual counterparts. We believe that the continued growth and acceptance of instant experiences generally will depend, to a large extent, on the continued growth in commercial use of the internet and the continued migration of traditional offline markets and industries online.
The title and escrow process may not migrate to new technologies as quickly as (or at the levels that) we expect, and existing or future federal and state laws may prevent us from offering certain of our title and escrow products. For example, although a majority of states have enacted permanent remote online notarization, and others have issued emergency measures in response to COVID-19, states such as California do not allow remote notarization, and others may not enact permanent authorization for remote notarization, which may impact our ability to introduce our products in certain markets.
Furthermore, although consumers have a legal right to select their own title insurance provider, as well as all of their settlement service vendors, consumers regularly use the providers recommended by their advisor, which may be their real estate agent, loan officer or attorney. If consumer awareness of their right to select their own title insurance provider or settlement service vendors and/or if demand for online title and escrow products does not increase, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Moreover, if, for any reason, an unfavorable perception develops that data automation, machine intelligence and/or bots are less efficacious than in-person closings or traditional offline methods of preparing closing disclosures, purchasing title insurance, underwriting, claims processing, and other functions that use data automation, machine intelligence and/or bots, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Our proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms may not operate properly or as we expect them to, which may expose us to adverse financial, business or reputational impacts. Moreover, our proprietary machine intelligence algorithms may lead to unintentional bias and discrimination.
We use proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms in a variety of ways. For example, our Doma Intelligence platform uses data science and machine intelligence algorithms when determining whether to underwrite a real estate transaction and when preparing a closing disclosure. The failure of any of these algorithms to function effectively may expose us to adverse financial, business, or reputational impacts.
The continuous development, maintenance and operation of our data analytics engine is expensive and complex, and may involve unforeseen difficulties including material performance problems or undetected defects or errors. We may encounter technical obstacles, and it is possible that we may discover additional problems that prevent our proprietary machine intelligence algorithms from operating properly. These deficiencies could undermine the decisions, predictions or analysis our data science and machine intelligence algorithms produce, which could subject us to competitive harm, legal or regulatory liability and brand or reputational harm. As a result of any actual or perceived deficiency with our proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms, we could lose any of our Doma Enterprise partners through which we generate a meaningful amount of business. Additionally, our proprietary machine intelligence algorithms may lead to unintentional bias and discrimination in the underwriting process, which could subject us to competitive harm, legal or regulatory liability and brand or reputational harm.
Beginning in the quarter ended December 31, 2021, we expanded the use of our data science and machine intelligence algorithms from use in underwriting title insurance policies for residential real estate refinancing transactions, to use in underwriting title insurance policies for residential purchase transactions. While we follow best practices in data science and machine intelligence development, purchase transactions have different risks than refinancing transactions do, and we may experience unexpected performance that could subject us to increased claims, adverse changes in revenue and profitability, and reduced business growth.
Any of these eventualities could result in a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We rely extensively on models in managing many aspects of our business, and if they are not accurate or are misinterpreted, it could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We rely extensively on models in managing many aspects of our business, including title insurance underwriting, fee balancing, document quality control, customer communications handling, liquidity and capital planning (including stress testing), and reserving. The models may prove in practice to be less predictive than we expect for a variety of reasons, including as a result of errors in constructing, interpreting or using the models or the use of inaccurate assumptions (including failures to update assumptions appropriately or in a timely manner). Our assumptions may be inaccurate for many reasons, including that they often involve matters that are inherently difficult to predict and beyond our control (e.g., macroeconomic conditions and their impact on Enterprise partner, Third-Party Agent and consumer behaviors and the ratio of title insurance claims to premiums collected), and they often involve complex interactions between several dependent and independent variables, factors and other assumptions. For example, while our ratio of claims paid to premiums collected for transactions running through the Doma Intelligence platform has been less than 1% to date, we expect that as our claims history increases, such ratio will be in the low single digits to high single digits for refinance and purchase transactions, based on, among other things, the state of the U.S. macroeconomy during any given period. The errors or inaccuracies in our models may be material, and could lead us to make wrong or sub-optimal decisions in managing our business, and this could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We must comply with extensive government regulations. These regulations could adversely affect our ability to increase our revenues and operating results.
We must comply with extensive federal and state government laws and regulations. We are also subject to various licensing requirements by individual state insurance departments and other regulators in the states in which we transact business. These laws, regulations and license requirements are complex and subject to change. Changes may sometimes lead to additional expenses, increased legal exposure, increased required reserves or capital and surplus, and additional limits on our ability to grow or to achieve targeted profitability. Regulations to which we are subject include, but are not limited to:
•prior approval of transactions resulting in a change of “control”;
•approval of policy forms and premiums;
•restrictions on the sharing of insurance commissions and payment of referral fees;
•privacy regulation and data security;
•regulation of corporate governance and risk management;
•periodic examinations of operations, finances, market conduct and claims practices; and required periodic financial reporting;
•statutory and risk-based capital solvency requirements, including the minimum capital and surplus our insurance subsidiary must maintain;
•establishing minimum reserves that insurance carriers like our insurance subsidiary must hold to pay projected insurance claims;
•required participation by our regulated insurance subsidiary in state guaranty funds;
•restrictions on the type and concentration of our insurance subsidiary’s investments;
•restrictions on the advertising and marketing of insurance by our insurance subsidiary;
•restrictions on the adjustment and settlement of insurance claims by our insurance subsidiary;
•restrictions on our insurance subsidiary’s use of rebates to induce a policyholder to purchase insurance;
•restrictions on our insurance subsidiary’s sale, solicitation and negotiation of insurance;
•prohibitions on the underwriting of insurance on the basis of race, sex, religion and other protected classes;
•restrictions on the ability of our insurance subsidiary to pay dividends to us or enter into certain related party transactions without prior regulatory approval; and
•rules requiring our insurance subsidiary’s maintenance of statutory deposits for the benefit of policyholders.
Our ability to retain state licenses depends on our ability to meet licensing requirements established by the NAIC and adopted by each state, subject to variations across states. If we are unable to satisfy the applicable licensing requirements of any particular state, we could lose our license to do business in that state, which would result in the temporary or permanent cessation of our operations in that state. Alternatively, if we are unable to satisfy applicable state licensing requirements, we may be subject to additional regulatory oversight, have our license suspended, or be subject to the seizure of assets. Any such event could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.
Also, given our short operating history to date and rapid rate of growth, we are vulnerable to regulators identifying errors in certain of our operations, including those related to rates and fees charged to consumers, correct and timely policy issuance, and accurate and secure disbursement of funds. As a result of such noncompliance, regulators could impose fines, rebates or other penalties, including cease-and-desist orders with respect to our operations in an individual state, or all states, until the identified noncompliance is rectified.
In addition, several states have adopted legislation prohibiting unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts and practices in the business of insurance as well as unfair claims practices. Prohibited practices include, but are not limited to, misrepresentations, false advertising, coercion, disparaging other insurers, unfair claims settlement procedures, and discrimination in the business of insurance. Noncompliance with any of such state statutes may subject us to regulatory action by the relevant state insurance regulator, and possibly private litigation. States also regulate various aspects of the contractual relationships between insurers and Third-Party Agents.
Although state insurance regulators have primary responsibility for administering and enforcing insurance regulations in the United States, such laws and regulations are further administered and enforced by several additional governmental authorities, each of which exercises a degree of interpretive latitude, including state securities administrators, state attorney generals as well as federal agencies including the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Insurance Office and the U.S. Department of Justice. Consequently, compliance with any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue may not result in compliance with another’s interpretation of the same issue, particularly when compliance is judged in hindsight. Such regulations or enforcement actions are often responsive to current consumer and political sensitivities, which may arise after a major event. Such rules and regulations may result in rate suppression, limit our ability to manage our exposure to unprofitable or volatile risks, or lead to fines, premium refunds or other adverse consequences. The federal government also may regulate aspects of our businesses, such as the protection of consumer confidential information. Failure to comply with federal requirements could subject us to regulatory fines and other sanctions.
In addition, there is risk that any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue or the scope of a regulator’s authority may change over time to our detriment. There is also a risk that changes in the overall legal environment may cause us to change our views regarding the actions we need to take from a legal risk management perspective. This would necessitate changes to our practices that may adversely impact our business. Furthermore, in some cases, these laws and regulations are designed to protect or benefit the interests of a specific constituency rather than a range of constituencies. State insurance laws and regulations are generally intended to protect the interests of purchasers or users of insurance products, rather than the holders of securities that we issue. For example, state insurance laws are generally prescriptive with respect to the content and timeliness of notices we must provide policyholders. Failure to comply with state insurance laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. As another example, the federal government could pass a law expanding its authority to regulate the insurance industry, which could expand federal regulation over our business to our detriment. These laws and regulations may limit our ability to grow, to raise additional capital or to improve the profitability of our business.
Litigation and legal proceedings filed by or against us and our subsidiaries could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
From time to time, we are subject to allegations, and may be party to litigation and legal proceedings relating to our business operations. Litigation and other proceedings may include complaints from or litigation by customers or reinsurers related to alleged breaches of contract or otherwise. We expect that as our market share increases, competitors may pursue litigation to require us to change our business practices or offerings and limit our ability to compete effectively.
As is typical in the insurance industry, we continually face risks associated with litigation of various types arising in the normal course of our business operations, including disputes relating to insurance claims under our title insurance policies as well as other general commercial and corporate litigation. Although we are not currently involved in any material litigation with consumers, members of the insurance industry are periodically the target of class action lawsuits and other types of litigation, some of which involve claims for substantial or indeterminate amounts, and the outcomes of which are unpredictable. This litigation is based on a variety of issues, including sale of insurance and claim settlement practices. In addition, because we employ a technology platform that collects consumer data, it is possible customers or consumer groups could bring individual or class action claims alleging our methods of collecting data and pricing risk are impermissibly discriminatory. We cannot predict with any certainty whether we will be involved in such litigation in the future or what impact such litigation would have on our business. If we were to be involved in litigation and it was determined adversely, it could require us to pay significant damages or to change aspects of our operations, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results. Even claims without merit can be time-consuming and costly to defend, and may divert management’s attention and resources away from our business and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, routine lawsuits over claims that are not individually material could in the future become material if aggregated with a substantial number of similar lawsuits. In addition to increasing costs, a significant volume of customer complaints or litigation could also adversely affect our brand and reputation, regardless of whether such allegations have merit or whether we are liable. We cannot predict with certainty the costs of defense, the costs of prosecution, insurance coverage or the ultimate outcome of litigation or other proceedings filed by or against us, including remedies or damage awards, and adverse results in such litigation, and other proceedings may harm our business and financial condition.
In March 2021, we received notice that our subsidiary, North American Title Company, Inc., was named a defendant in a legacy ongoing class action lawsuit styled “Carolyn Cortina, et al. v. North American Title Company, et al” (the “Cortina Litigation”) pending against Lennar Title Group, LLC (formerly known as CalAtlantic Title Group, LLC, and before that as North American Title Group, LLC) (“Lennar Title”) and certain of its subsidiaries, entities wholly owned indirectly by Lennar that were not acquired by us in the North American Title acquisition. We further learned that a proposed judgment in the principal amount of approximately $20.4 million and prejudgment interest of approximately $20.4 million against North American Title Company, Inc. and Lennar Title and certain of its subsidiaries is pending before the trial court.
In August 2020, plaintiffs in the Cortina Litigation filed a motion to amend the complaint to add North American Title Company, Inc. to the complaint, to have the amended pleading deemed filed and served as of the date of the order granting leave, and to have the existing defendants’ answer filed in October 2010 deemed filed as if on behalf of North American Title Company, Inc. notwithstanding that none of our entities had previously been parties to the dispute or served with any pleadings in the litigation. Plaintiffs alleged that the originally named defendant, North American Title Company, is also known as North American Title Company, Inc. and CalAtlantic Title, Inc. and that the transfer of assets of North American Title Company to us in the North American Title acquisition, which carved out the liability for the Cortina Litigation, was a fraudulent transfer designed to leave plaintiffs without a source of recovery. On March 2, 2021, the trial court issued a minute order granting the motion.
When we acquired certain North American Title entities and assets in the North American Title acquisition, liabilities arising from the Cortina Litigation were expressly deemed excluded liabilities that would be retained by Lennar Title following the acquisition. Consistent therewith, since the acquisition, Lennar Title has continued to control the defense, without our involvement, of the Cortina Litigation. Accordingly, on March 12, 2021, in light of plaintiffs’ request for entry of the proposed judgment, we delivered a demand to Lennar Title to confirm Lennar Title’s indemnification for all damages we may incur in connection with the Cortina Litigation and that Lennar Title intends to control the defense related to the Cortina Litigation on behalf of all our indemnified parties. On March 13, 2021, Lennar Title, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lennar Corporation, delivered notice confirming that it would indemnify us for damages incurred by our indemnified parties arising out of the Cortina Litigation and stating that it elected to control the defense, at its expense, for such matter, and, on March 18, 2021, we entered into a Joint Defense Agreement with Lennar Title with respect to such litigation. At this time, based on the foregoing, we do not believe that there is a reasonable possibility that the final outcome of the Cortina Litigation will have an adverse effect on our future financial results. In January 2022, one of our subsidiaries, Doma Title of California, Inc., was dismissed, without prejudice, from the action.
Our exposure to regulation and residential real estate transaction activity may be greater in California, where we source a significant proportion of our premiums.
A large portion of our premiums originated from residential real estate transactions in California. As compared to our competitors who operate on a wider geographic scale or whose business is less concentrated in California, any adverse changes in the regulatory environment affecting title insurance and real estate settlement in California that could include reductions in the maximum rates permitted to be charged, inadequate rate increases or more fundamental changes in the design or implementation of the California title insurance regulatory framework, may expose us to more significant risks and our business, financial condition and result of operations could be materially adversely affected.
In addition, to the extent residential real estate transaction volume in California changes significantly, whether due to changes in real estate values that differ from the overall U.S. real estate market, changes in the local economy relative to the U.S. economy, or natural disasters that disproportionately impact residential real estate activity in California, we could experience lower premiums and growth than historically observed or projected.
Our expansion within the United States will subject us to additional costs and risks, and our plans may not be successful.
Our success depends in part on our ability to expand into additional markets in the United States. As of December 31, 2021, DTI is licensed and operates in approximately 80% of the United States (by state count) and the District of Columbia, and our title and escrow agency operations were licensed, where required, in approximately 50% of the United States (by state count) with operations, both overall and with our Enterprise channel, in approximately 80% of those states (by state count). We plan to have a presence in all states that offer title insurance products, but cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide nationwide title and escrow services on any specific timeline or at all. Moreover, one or more states could revoke our license to operate, or implement additional regulatory hurdles that could preclude or inhibit our ability to obtain or maintain our license in such states.
As we seek to expand in the United States, we may incur significant operating expenses, although our expansion may not be successful for a variety of reasons, including because of:
•barriers to obtaining the required government approvals, licenses or other authorizations;
•failures in identifying and entering into joint ventures with strategic partners, or entering into joint ventures that do not produce the desired results;
•challenges in, and the cost of, complying with various laws and regulatory standards, including with respect to the insurance business and insurance distribution, capital and outsourcing requirements, data privacy, tax and local regulatory restrictions;
•difficulty in recruiting and retaining licensed, talented and capable employees;
•competition from local incumbents that already own market share, better understand the local market, may market and operate more effectively and may enjoy greater local affinity or awareness;
•the availability of accurate and comprehensive data sources, which we need to operate aspects of the Doma Intelligence platform;
•unfavorable economic terms due to government-regulated insurance rates and premiums; and
•differing market demand, which may make our product offerings less successful.
Expansion into new markets in the United States will also require additional investments by us both in marketing and with respect to securing applicable regulatory approvals. These incremental costs may result from hiring additional personnel, from engaging third-party service providers and from incurring other research and development costs. If we invest substantial time and resources to expand our operations while our revenues from those additional operations do not exceed the expense of establishing and maintaining them, or if we are unable to manage these risks effectively, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
If we fail to grow our geographic footprint or geographic growth occurs at a slower rate than expected, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
Regulators may limit our ability to develop or implement our proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms and/or may eliminate or restrict the confidentiality of our proprietary technology, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our future success depends on our ability to continue to develop and implement our proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms, and to maintain the confidentiality of this technology. Changes to existing regulations, their interpretation or implementation, or new regulations could impede our use of this technology, or require that we disclose our proprietary technology to our competitors, which could impair our competitive position and result in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We rely on highly skilled and experienced personnel and if we are unable to attract, retain or motivate key personnel or hire qualified personnel, our business may be seriously harmed. In addition, the loss of key senior management personnel could harm our business and future prospects.
Our performance largely depends on the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate and retain highly skilled and experienced personnel and, if we are unable to hire and train a sufficient number of qualified employees for any reason, we may not be able to maintain or implement our current initiatives or grow, or our business may contract and we may lose market share. Moreover, certain of our competitors or other insurance or technology businesses may seek to hire our employees. We cannot assure you that our equity incentives and other compensation will provide adequate incentives to attract, retain and motivate employees in the future, particularly if the market price of our common stock does not increase or declines. If we do not succeed in attracting, retaining and motivating highly qualified personnel, our business may be seriously harmed.
We depend on our senior management, including Max Simkoff, our founder and chief executive officer; Noaman Ahmad, our chief financial officer; and Hasan Rizvi, our chief technology officer, as well as other key personnel. We may not be able to retain the services of any of our senior management or other key personnel, as their employment is at-will and they could leave at any time. If we lose the services of one or more of our senior management or other key personnel, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may not be able to successfully manage our business, meet competitive challenges or achieve our growth objectives. Further, to the extent that our business grows, we will need to attract and retain additional qualified management personnel in a timely manner, and we may not be able to do so. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate, retain and integrate highly skilled personnel in all areas of our organization.
Failure of our enterprise-wide risk management processes could result in unexpected monetary losses, damage to our reputation, additional costs or impairment of our ability to conduct business effectively.
Our risk management framework is designed to identify, monitor and mitigate risks that could have a negative impact on our financial condition or reputation. This framework includes departments or groups dedicated to enterprise risk management, information security, disaster recovery and other information technology-related risks, business continuity, legal and compliance, compensation structures and other human resources matters, vendor management and internal audit, among others. Many of the processes overseen by these departments function at the enterprise level, but many also function through, or rely to a certain degree upon, risk mitigation efforts in local operating groups.
Similarly, with respect to the risks we assume in the ordinary course of our business through the issuance of title insurance policies and the provision of related products and services, we employ localized as well as centralized risk mitigation efforts. These efforts include the implementation of underwriting policies and procedures and other mechanisms for assessing risk. Manual underwriting of title insurance policies and making risk-assumption decisions frequently involve judgment. We maintain a tiered system of underwriting authority, wherein title officers at the state level have limited underwriting authority, third-party title agents are subject to authorization levels above which they must consult with the underwriting counsel of our insurance subsidiary, and underwriting counsel at the regional level, reporting to the Chief Underwriting Counsel, have authority to approve or deny a transaction at any level of financial exposure. While we believe these tiers of authority reduce the likelihood that we will make materially adverse risk determinations, if our risk mitigation efforts prove inadequate, our business, financial position and results of operation could be adversely affected.
Performance of our investment portfolio is subject to a variety of investment risks that may adversely affect our financial results.
Our results of operations depend, in part, on the performance of our investment portfolio. We seek to hold a diversified portfolio of investments in accordance with our investment policy. In addition, our insurance subsidiary, as domiciled in South Carolina, and must comply with South Carolina and related states’ regulations on investments and restrictions. However, our investments are subject to general economic and market risks as well as risks inherent to particular securities.
Our primary market risk exposures are to changes in interest rates. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risks” in this Annual Report. Our results of operations are directly exposed to changes in interest rates, among other macroeconomic conditions. Fluctuations in interest rates may also impact the interest income earned on floating-rate investments and the fair value of our fixed-rate investments. An increase in interest rates decreases the market value of fixed-rate investments. Conversely, a decrease in interest rates increases the fair market value of fixed-rate investments. Our exposure to interest rate risk correlates to our portfolio of fixed income securities. In recent years, interest rates have been at or near historic lows. A protracted low interest rate environment would continue to place pressure on our net investment income, particularly as it relates to fixed income securities and short-term investments, which, in turn, may adversely affect our operating results. Future increases in interest rates could cause the values of our fixed income securities portfolios to decline, with the magnitude of the decline depending on the maturity of the securities included in our portfolio and the amount by which interest rates increase.
The value of our investment portfolio is subject to the risk that certain investments may default or become impaired due to deterioration in the financial condition of one or more issuers of the securities we hold, or due to deterioration in the financial condition of an insurer that guarantees an issuer’s payments on such investments. Downgrades in the credit ratings of fixed maturities also have a significant negative effect on the market valuation of such securities.
Such factors could reduce our net investment income and result in realized investment losses. Our investment portfolio is subject to increased valuation uncertainties when investment markets are illiquid. The valuation of investments is more subjective when markets are illiquid, thereby increasing the risk that the estimated fair value (i.e., the carrying amount) of the securities we hold in our portfolio does not reflect prices at which actual transactions would occur.
Risks for all types of securities are managed through the application of our investment policy. The maximum percentage and types of securities we may invest in are subject to the insurance laws regulations, which may change. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations would cause nonconforming investments to be treated as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus and, in certain circumstances, we would be required to dispose of such investments.
Although we seek to preserve our capital, we cannot be certain that our investment objectives will be achieved, and results may vary substantially over time. In addition, although we seek to employ investment strategies that are not correlated with our insurance and reinsurance exposures, losses in our investment portfolio may occur at the same time as underwriting losses and, therefore, exacerbate the adverse effect of the losses on us.
Failures at financial institutions at which we deposit funds could adversely affect us.
We deposit substantial funds in financial institutions. These funds include amounts owned by third parties, such as escrow deposits. Should one or more of the financial institutions at which deposits are maintained fail, there is no guarantee that we would recover the funds deposited, whether through Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage or otherwise. In the event of any such failure, we also could be held liable for the funds owned by third parties.
Our actual incurred losses may be greater than our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our financial condition and results of operations depend on our ability to accurately price risk and assess potential losses and loss adjustment expenses under the terms of the title insurance policies we underwrite. Our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves are subject to significant variability due to our limited use of reinsurance as well as the inherent risks of writing title insurance policies, which include their long duration and sensitivity to future changes in economic conditions. For the title insurance industry overall, approximately 75% of ultimate claim amounts are reported within the first seven years of the policy life.
There are two types of reserve accounts that reflect the amount of claims and/or events that have transpired: “known claim reserves” and “incurred but not reported” (“IBNR”). Known claim reserves do not represent an exact calculation of liability. Rather, these reserves represent an estimate of what the expected ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost, and the ultimate liability may be greater or less than the current estimate. In our industry, there is always the risk that reserves may prove inadequate since we may underestimate the cost of claims and claims administration. The factors that are considered in establishing known claim reserves include but are not limited to, claim severity, facts that are uncovered or determined during the course of the claim, analysis and applicability of judicial theories of liability and defenses, procedural posture of the claim and other factors. Known claim reserves are adjusted regularly as the facts are discovered and coverage under the policy is analyzed and determined.
We base our loss and loss adjustment expense reserve estimates on our assessment of current economic and business trends, as well as estimates of future trends in claim volume, claim severity, and other factors. These variables are affected by internal and external events that could increase our exposure to losses, including changes in actuarial projections, claims handling procedures, variation in state-by-state claims experience, inflation, a decline in real estate prices, rise in interest rates or increase in mortgage defaults and foreclosures, other macroeconomic and judicial trends and legislative and regulatory changes.
Our IBNR reserves generally relate to the five most recent policy years. For policy years at the early stage of development (generally the last five years), IBNR is generally estimated using a combination of expected loss rate and multiplicative loss development factor calculations. For more mature policy years, IBNR generally is estimated using multiplicative loss development factor calculations. The expected loss rate method estimates IBNR by applying an expected loss rate to total title insurance premiums and escrow fees, and adjusting for policy year maturity using estimated loss development patterns. Multiplicative loss development factor calculations estimate IBNR by applying factors derived from loss development patterns to losses realized to date. The expected loss rate and loss development patterns are based on historical experience. Due to our long claim exposure, our provision for claims periodically includes amounts of adverse or positive claims development on policies issued in prior years, when claims on such policies are higher or lower than initially expected.
We estimate the loss provision rate at the beginning of each year and reassess the rate at midyear as of June 30 of every year to ensure that the resulting sum of the known claim reserves, IBNR loss, and loss adjustment expense reserves included in our balance sheet together reflect our best estimate of the total costs required to settle all IBNR and known claims. However, our estimates could prove to be inadequate. Changes in expected ultimate losses and corresponding loss rates for recent policy years are considered likely and could result in a material adjustment to the IBNR reserves. A material change in expected ultimate losses and corresponding loss rates for older policy years is also possible, particularly for policy years with loss rates exceeding historical norms. Our estimates could ultimately prove to be materially different from actual claims experience, which may adversely affect our result of operations and financial conditions.
If any of our insurance reserves should prove to be inadequate for the reasons discussed above, or for any other reason, we will be required to increase reserves, resulting in a reduction in our net income and stockholders’ equity in the period in which the deficiency is identified. Future loss experience substantially in excess of established reserves could also have a material adverse effect on future earnings and liquidity and financial rating, which would affect our ability to attract new business or to retain existing Enterprise partners and Third-Party Agents.
There are risks associated with our indebtedness.
On December 31, 2020, Old Doma entered into a credit agreement with Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd. (“HSCM”) providing for a $150.0 million senior secured term loan (“Senior Debt”) that was funded by the lenders, which are affiliates of HSCM on January 29, 2021 (“Funding Date”). The Senior Debt matures five years from the Funding Date. Old Doma (now known as States Title) used a portion of the net proceeds from the Senior Debt to repay all amounts outstanding and owed under the note payable to Lennar Title Group, LLC, including approximately $65.5 million in aggregate principal amount outstanding and accrued interest.
The provisions of the Senior Debt and any additional indebtedness we incur will limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things, incur or assume debt, incur certain liens or permit them to exist, undergo certain changes in business, management, control or business locations, dispose of assets, make certain investments, merge with other companies, pay dividends and enter into certain transactions with affiliates. States Title is also required to comply with certain financial covenants set forth in the Senior Debt.
In addition, a failure to comply with the provisions of our current and any additional indebtedness, including the Senior Debt, could result in a default or an event of default that could enable our lenders to declare the outstanding principal of that debt, together with accrued and unpaid interest plus the amount of any applicable prepayment premium, to be immediately due and payable. If we were unable to repay those amounts, the lenders under our Senior Debt and any other future secured debt agreement could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure that indebtedness.
The Senior Debt is secured by a first-priority pledge and security interest in substantially all assets of our wholly owned subsidiary States Title (which represent substantially all of our assets) and its existing and future domestic subsidiaries and is guaranteed by all of States Title’s domestic subsidiaries (in each case, subject to customary exclusions, including the exclusion of regulated insurance company subsidiaries). Any of these events could materially adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition.
The outstanding indebtedness and any additional indebtedness we incur may have significant consequences, including, without limitation, the following:
•our ability to pay interest and repay the principal for our indebtedness is dependent upon our ability to manage our business operations and generate sufficient cash flows to service such debt. We may be required to use a significant portion of our cash flow from operations and other available cash to service this indebtedness, thereby reducing the amount of cash available for other purposes, including capital expenditures, acquisitions and strategic investments;
•our indebtedness and leverage may increase our vulnerability to downturns in our business, to competitive pressures, and to adverse changes in general economic and industry conditions;
•our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, share repurchases, or other general corporate and other purposes may be limited; and
•our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and our industry may be limited.
Changes in tax law could adversely affect our business and financial conditions.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”), enacted on December 22, 2017, significantly affected U.S. tax law, including by changing how the U.S. imposes tax on certain types of income of corporations and by reducing the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate to 21%. It also imposed new limitations on several tax benefits, including deductions for business interest, use of net operating loss (“NOL”) carryforwards, taxation of foreign income, and the foreign tax credit, among others. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCR Act”) enacted on March 18, 2020, and the CARES Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, further amended the U.S. federal tax code, including in respect of certain changes that were made by the TCJA, generally on a temporary basis. There can be no assurance that future tax law changes will not increase the rate of the corporate income tax significantly, impose new limitations on deductions, credits or other tax benefits, or make other changes that may adversely affect our business, cash flows or financial performance. In addition, the IRS has yet to issue guidance on important issues regarding the changes made by the TCJA and the CARES Act. In the absence of such guidance, we will take positions with respect to several unsettled issues. There is no assurance that the IRS or a court will agree with the positions taken by us, in which case tax penalties and interest may be imposed that could adversely affect our business, cash flows or financial performance.
Other future changes in tax laws or regulations, or the interpretation thereof, tax policy initiatives and reforms under consideration and the practices of tax authorities could adversely affect us. We are unable to predict what tax reform may be proposed or enacted in the future or what effect such changes would have on our business, but such changes could affect our financial position and overall or effective tax rates in the future, reduce after-tax returns to our stockholders, and increase the complexity, burden and cost of tax compliance. If our effective tax rate increases, our operating results and cash flow could be adversely affected. Our effective income tax rate can vary significantly between periods due to a few complex factors including, but not limited to, projected levels of taxable income, tax audits conducted and settled by tax authorities, and adjustments to income taxes upon finalization of income tax returns.
Our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
As of December 31, 2021, we had federal income tax NOLs of approximately $126.2 million available to offset our future taxable income, if any, prior to consideration of annual limitations that may be imposed under section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), or otherwise. Of our NOLs, $0.2 million of losses will begin to expire in 2036 and the remainder of federal NOLs can be carried forward indefinitely.
We may be unable to fully use our NOLs, if at all. Under section 382 of the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change” (very generally defined as a greater than 50% change, by value, in the corporation’s equity ownership by certain stockholders, or groups of stockholders, who own at least 5% of a company’s stock over a rolling three-year period), the corporation’s ability to use its pre-ownership change NOLs to offset its post-ownership change income may be limited. We may have experienced ownership changes in the past, and we may experience ownership changes in the future as a result of subsequent shifts in our stock ownership, including this offering, some of which may be outside of our control. If we undergo an ownership change, we may be prevented from fully utilizing our NOLs existing at the time of the ownership change prior to their expiration. Future regulatory changes could also limit our ability to utilize our NOLs. To the extent we are not able to offset future taxable income with our NOLs, our net income and cash flows may be adversely affected.
The TCJA, as modified by the CARES Act, among other things, includes changes to U.S. federal tax rates and the rules governing NOL carryforwards. For federal NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the TCJA as modified by the CARES Act limits a taxpayer’s ability to utilize NOL carryforwards in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020 to 80% of taxable income. In addition, federal NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 can be carried forward indefinitely, but carryback of NOLs are generally permitted to the prior five taxable years only for NOLs arising in taxable years beginning before 2021 and after 2017. Deferred tax assets for NOLs will need to be measured at the applicable tax rate in effect when the NOLs are expected to be utilized. The new limitation on use of NOLs may significantly impact our ability to utilize our NOLs to offset taxable income in the future. In addition, for state income tax purposes, there may be periods during which the use of NOL carryforwards is suspended or otherwise limited, which could accelerate or permanently increase state taxes owed. For example, California recently imposed limits on the usability of California state NOLs to offset taxable income in tax years beginning after 2019 and before 2023, including no two year carryback beginning in 2019 and no carryforward for tax years 2020 through 2022. The NOLs can be computed but not utilized in these periods. Additionally, the state NOLs generally have a definite life carryforward that can affect the ability to utilize all of the state NOLs.
Unfavorable economic or other business conditions could cause us to record an impairment of all or a portion of our goodwill, other intangible assets and other long-lived assets.
We annually perform impairment tests of the carrying values of our goodwill, other indefinite-lived intangible assets and other long-lived assets. We may also perform an evaluation whenever events may indicate an impairment has occurred. In assessing whether an impairment has occurred, we consider various factors including our long-term prospects, unexpected declines in our market capitalization, negative macroeconomic trends or negative industry and company-specific trends. If we conclude that the carrying values of these assets exceed the fair value, we may be required to record an impairment of these assets. Any substantial impairment that may be required in the future could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.
If our customers were to claim that the title insurance policies they purchased failed to provide adequate or appropriate coverage, we could face claims that could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Although we aim to extend the benefits of coverage provided under each of our title insurance policies, customers could purchase policies that prove to be inadequate or inappropriate. If such customers were to bring a claim or claims alleging that we failed in our responsibilities to provide them with the type or amount of coverage that they sought to purchase, we could be found liable for amounts significantly in excess of the policy limit, resulting in an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. While we maintain agents errors and omissions insurance coverage to protect us against such liability, such coverage may be insufficient or inadequate.
Unexpected changes in the interpretation of our coverage or provisions, including loss limitations and exclusions, in our policies could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
There can be no assurances that specifically negotiated loss limitations or exclusions in our policies will be enforceable in the manner we intend, or at all. As industry practices and legal, judicial, social and other conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge. While these limitations and exclusions help us assess and mitigate our loss exposure, it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void a limitation or exclusion, or legislation could be enacted modifying or barring the use of such limitations or exclusions. These types of governmental actions and court decisions, if issued post-policy, could result in higher than anticipated losses and loss adjustment expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations by either broadening coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the frequency or severity of claims. In addition, court decisions, such as the 1995 Montrose decision in California, could read policy exclusions narrowly so as to expand coverage, thereby requiring insurers to create and write new exclusions. Under the insurance laws, the insurer typically has the burden of proving an exclusion applies, and any ambiguities in the terms of a loss limitation or exclusion provision are typically construed against the insurer. These issues may adversely affect our business by either broadening coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the frequency or severity of claims. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued insurance contracts that are affected by the changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance contracts may not be known for many years after a contract is issued.
State regulation of the rates we charge for title insurance could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our title insurance subsidiary is subject to extensive rate regulation by the applicable state agencies in the jurisdictions in which they operate. Title insurance rates are regulated differently in various states, with some states requiring the subsidiary to file and receive approval of rates before such rates become effective and some states promulgating the rates that can be charged. In general, premium rates are determined on the basis of historical data for claim frequency and severity as well as related production costs and other expenses. In all states in which our title subsidiary operates, our rates must not be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. Premium rates are likely to prove insufficient when ultimate claims and expenses exceed historically projected levels. Premium rate inadequacy may not become evident quickly and may take time to correct, and could adversely affect our business operating results and financial conditions.
Denial of claims or our failure to accurately and timely pay claims could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Under the terms of our policies and subject to specific state regulations and on unfair claims settlement practices, we are required to accurately and timely evaluate and pay claims. Our ability to do so depends on several factors, including the efficacy of our claims processing, the training and experience of our claims adjusters and our ability to develop or select and implement appropriate procedures and systems to support our claims functions.
An increase in the average time to process claims could lead to customer and partner dissatisfaction and undermine our reputation and position in the title insurance market. If our claims adjusters are unable to effectively process our volume of claims, our ability to grow our business while maintaining high levels of customer and partner satisfaction could be compromised, which in turn, could adversely affect our operating margins. Any failure to pay claims appropriately or timely under the provisions of the policy could also lead to regulatory and administrative actions or other legal proceedings and litigation against us, or result in damage to our reputation, any one of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Unexpected increases in the volume or severity of claims may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our business may experience volatility in claim volume from time to time, and short-term trends may not continue over the longer term. The volume of title insurance claims is subject to cyclical influences from both the real estate and mortgage markets, and changes in claim volume may result from changes in a mix of business, macroeconomic or other factors.
A large portion of our title insurance volume stems from title policies issued to lenders. These policies insure lenders against losses on mortgage loans due to title defects in the collateral property. Even if an underlying title defect exists that could result in a claim, often, the lender must realize an actual loss, or at least be likely to realize an actual loss, for a title insurance liability to exist. As a result, title insurance claims exposure is sensitive to lenders’ losses on mortgage loans and is affected in turn by external factors that affect mortgage loan losses,
particularly macroeconomic factors. A general decline in real estate prices can expose lenders to a greater risk of losses on mortgage loans, as loan-to-value ratios increase, and defaults and foreclosures increase. A significant increase in claim volume or the severity of those claims could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Changes in claim severity are typically driven by limited financing alternatives, declining real estate values and the increase in foreclosures that often results therefrom. While actuarial models for pricing and reserving typically include an expected level of inflation, unanticipated increases in claim severity can arise from events that are inherently difficult to predict. Although we pursue various loss management initiatives to mitigate future increases in claim severity, there can be no assurances that these initiatives will successfully identify or reduce the effect of future increases in claim severity. Moreover, as our business model is nascent, we have limited claims data to evaluate the efficacy of these loss mitigation initiatives.
Our use of Third-Party Agents could adversely impact the frequency and severity of title claims.
We underwrite title insurance policies referred through two principal channels: our Distribution agents (which includes all Doma Enterprise partner referrals and affiliated agents) and other non-captive title and escrow agents in the market. For the title insurance policies we underwrite for Third-Party Agents, these agents may perform the title search and examination function or the agent may utilize our title and escrow products. In either case, the Third-Party Agent is responsible for ensuring that the search and examination is completed. The Third-Party Agent thus retains the majority of the title premium collected, with the balance remitted to our title underwriter for bearing the risk of loss in the event that a claim is made under the title insurance policy. Our relationship with each Third-Party Agent is governed by an agency agreement defining how the Third-Party Agent issues a title insurance policy on our behalf. The agency agreement also sets forth the Third-Party Agent’s liability to us for policy losses attributable to the Third-Party Agent’s errors. For each Third-Party Agent with whom we enter into an agency agreement, financial and loss experience records are maintained. Periodic audits of our agents are also conducted and the number of Third-Party Agents with whom we transact business is strategically managed in an effort to reduce future expenses and manage risks. Despite efforts to monitor the Third-Party Agents with which we transact business, there is no guarantee that a Third-Party Agent will comply with its contractual obligations to us. Furthermore, we cannot be certain that, due to changes in the regulatory environment and litigation trends, we will not be held liable for errors and omissions by Third-Party Agent. Accordingly, our use of Third-Party Agents could adversely impact the frequency and severity of title claims and could expose us to potential liability.
Reinsurance may be unavailable at current levels and prices, which may limit our ability to underwrite new policies. Furthermore, reinsurance subjects us to counterparty risk and may not be adequate to protect us against losses, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Reinsurance is a contract by which an insurer, which may be referred to as the ceding insurer, agrees with a second insurer, called a reinsurer, that the reinsurer will cover a portion of the losses incurred by the ceding insurer in the event a claim is made under a policy issued by the ceding insurer, in exchange for a premium. Our regulated insurance subsidiary obtains reinsurance to help manage its exposure to title insurance risks. Although our reinsurance counterparties are liable to us according to the terms of the reinsurance policies, we remain primarily liable to our policyholders as the direct insurers on all risks reinsured. As a result, reinsurance does not eliminate the obligation of our regulated insurance subsidiary to pay all claims, and we are subject to the risk that one or more of our reinsurers will be unable or unwilling to honor their obligations, that the reinsurers will not pay in a timely fashion, or that our losses are so large that they exceed the limits inherent in our reinsurance treaties, limiting recovery. We are also subject to the risk that, under applicable insurance laws and regulations, we may not be able to take credit for the reinsurance on our financial statements and instead would be required to hold separate admitted assets as reserves to cover claims on the risks that we have ceded to the reinsurer. Our reinsurers may become financially unsound by the time that they are called upon to pay amounts due, which may not occur for many years, in which case we may have no legal ability to recover what is due to us under our agreement with such reinsurer. Any disputes with our reinsurers regarding coverage under reinsurance treatises could be time-consuming, costly and uncertain of success.
Market conditions beyond our control impact the availability and cost of the reinsurance we purchase. No assurances can be made that reinsurance will remain continuously available to us to the same extent and on the same terms and rates as is currently available, as such availability depends in part on factors outside of our control. A new contract may not provide sufficient reinsurance protection. Market forces and external factors, such as significant losses from adverse changes to the real estate market, such as a decline in real estate prices, rise in interest rates or
increase in mortgage defaults and foreclosures, or an increase in capital and surplus requirements, impact the availability and cost of the reinsurance we purchase. If we were unable to maintain our current level of reinsurance or purchase new reinsurance protection in amounts that we consider sufficient at acceptable prices, we would have to either accept an increase in our catastrophe exposure, reduce our insurance underwritings, or develop or seek other alternatives.
The unavailability of acceptable reinsurance protection would have a materially adverse impact on our business model, which depends on reinsurance companies to absorb any unfavorable variance from the level of losses anticipated at underwriting. If we are unable to obtain adequate reinsurance at reasonable rates, we would have to increase our risk exposure or reduce the level of our underwriting commitments, each of which could have a material adverse effect upon our business volume and profitability. Alternatively, we could elect to pay higher than reasonable rates for reinsurance coverage, which could have a material adverse effect upon our profitability unless policy premium rates could be raised, in most cases subject to approval by state regulators, to offset this additional cost.
Starting in late February 2021, we reduced the level of reinsurance of policies underwritten using our machine intelligence system from 100% to 25%, which may impact our overall risk profile and financial and capital condition. To the extent we experience higher claim activity than our projections of claim losses and financial impacts thereof, our financial situation and our business may be adversely affected. To the extent we seek to increase our reinsurance coverage in response to such an event, we may be unable to secure additional coverage at acceptable rates and terms or at all. This may have an adverse effect on our financial condition.
We may be unable to prevent, monitor or detect fraudulent activity, including policy acquisitions or payments of claims that are fraudulent in nature.
If we fail to maintain adequate systems and processes to prevent, monitor and detect fraud, including fraudulent policy acquisitions or claims activity, or if inadvertent errors occur with such prevention, monitoring and detection systems due to human or computer error, our business could be materially adversely impacted. While we believe past incidents of fraudulent activity have been relatively isolated, we cannot be certain that our systems and processes will always be adequate in the face of increasingly sophisticated and ever-changing fraud schemes. We use a variety of tools to protect against fraud, but these tools may not always be successful at preventing such fraud. Instances of fraud may result in increased costs, including possible settlement and litigation expenses, and could have a material adverse effect on our business and reputation.
A downgrade by the ratings agency, reductions in statutory capital and surplus maintained by our title insurance underwriters or a deterioration in other measures of financial strength could adversely affect us.
Certain of our Doma Enterprise partners and third-party agencies use measurements of the financial strength of our title insurance underwriters, including, among others, the rating provided by the rating agency Demotech, Inc. and levels of statutory capital and surplus maintained by those underwriters, in determining the amount of a policy they will accept and the amount of reinsurance required. Our title insurance underwriter’s financial strength rating is A’ (A Prime) by Demotech, Inc. The rating provides the agency’s perspectives on the financial strength, operating performance and cash-generating ability of those operations. The agency continually reviews this rating and the rating is subject to change. Statutory capital and surplus, or the amount by which statutory assets exceed statutory liabilities, is also a measure of financial strength. Our title insurance underwriter maintains a statutory capital and surplus. Accordingly, if the rating or statutory capital and surplus of these title insurance underwriters are reduced from their current levels, or if there is a deterioration in other measures of financial strength, our results of operations, competitive position and liquidity could be adversely affected.
Failure to maintain our statutory capital and surplus at the required levels could adversely affect our ability to maintain regulatory authority to conduct our business.
Our insurance subsidiary is subject to minimum capital and surplus standards, including requirements, prohibitions and limitations applicable to investments, promulgated by South Carolina, its state of domicile, and by New York, where we are not domiciled but expect to be held subject to the minimum capital and surplus requirements upon our admission to insure transactions in the state. Our regulated subsidiaries are required to report their results of minimum capital and surplus calculations and investment practices to the departments of insurance. Failure to maintain the minimum capital and surplus standards could subject our regulated subsidiary to corrective action, including the required submission of a remediation plan, the imposition by the state of a deadline for
remediation, or designation by the state that the insurer is in a “hazardous financial condition” and related issuance of an order to nonadmit, limit, dispose of, withdraw from, or discontinue an investment or investment practice. Our insurance subsidiary is currently in compliance with the minimum capital and surplus requirements.
Severe weather events and other climate related catastrophes, including the effects of climate change, are inherently unpredictable and may have a material adverse effect on our financial results and financial condition.
To the extent that climate change impacts changes in weather patterns or otherwise, properties in areas where we may have significant geographic exposure could experience wildfires and other instances of severe weather, including hurricanes, severe winter storms, and/or flooding due, in part, to increases in storm intensity and rising sea levels. These and other climate change related effects could impact property prices and housing-related costs or disrupt borrowers’ ability to pay their mortgage. If defaults or foreclosures occur at elevated levels, there may be an influx of title insurance claims under loan policies or claims might be reported earlier than under normal conditions. A significant increase in claim volume or the severity of those claims could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, climate change could impact the level of mortgage and mortgage-related transactions that could negatively impact our volume of business. The frequency, severity, duration, and geographic location and scope of such climate change related catastrophe and severe weather events are inherently unpredictable, and, therefore, we are unable to predict the ultimate impact climate change and such events may have on our business.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to obtain, maintain, protect or enforce our intellectual property could reduce the value of our products, services and brand.
Our trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights are important assets for us. We rely on, and expect to continue to rely on, patent, trademark, trade dress, domain name, copyright, and trade secret laws, to protect our brand and other intellectual property rights. In addition, we seek to enter into various agreements with our employees, independent contractors, consultants and third parties with whom we have relationships, pursuant to which such individuals assign intellectual property rights they develop to us and agree to maintain confidentiality of our confidential information. However, we may fail to enter into such agreements with all relevant individuals, such assignments may not be self-executing, and such agreements may not effectively prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information, intellectual property or technology and or provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information, intellectual property or technology. In addition, we may fail to consistently obtain, police and enforce such agreements. Additionally, various factors outside our control pose a threat to our intellectual property rights, as well as to our products, services and technologies. The efforts we have taken to protect our intellectual property rights may not be sufficient or effective, and any of our intellectual property rights, including our issued patents, have in the past and may in the future be challenged in courts or patent offices. The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its scope, validity or enforceability and challenges to our intellectual property, including issued patents, could result in their being narrowed in scope or declared invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology, or limit the duration of the patent protection of our technology platform. As a result, despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, there can be no assurance that our patent portfolio and other intellectual property rights will be sufficient to protect against others offering products or services that are substantially similar to ours and compete with our business or that unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our technology and use information that we consider proprietary.
We have filed, and may continue in the future to file, applications to protect certain of our innovations and intellectual property. We do not know whether any of our applications will result in the issuance of a patent, trademark or copyright, as applicable, or whether the examination process will require us to narrow our claims or otherwise limit the scope of such intellectual property. In addition, we may not receive competitive advantages from the rights granted under our intellectual property. Our existing intellectual property, and any intellectual property granted to us or that we otherwise acquire in the future, may be contested, circumvented or invalidated, and we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing, misappropriation or otherwise violating our rights to our intellectual property. Therefore, the exact effect of the protection of this intellectual property cannot be predicted with certainty. Because obtaining patent protection requires disclosing our inventions to the public, such disclosure may facilitate our competitors’ developing improvements to our innovations. In addition, given the costs, effort, risks and downside of obtaining patent protection, including the requirement to ultimately disclose the invention to
the public, we may choose not to seek patent protection for certain innovations. Any failure to adequately obtain such patent protection, or other intellectual property protection, could later prove to adversely impact our business.
We currently hold various domain names relating to our brand. Failure to protect our domain names could adversely affect our reputation and brand and make it more difficult for users to find our website and our mobile app. We may be unable, without significant cost or at all, to prevent third parties from acquiring domain names that are similar to, infringe upon, or otherwise decrease the value of our trademarks and other proprietary rights.
We may be required to spend significant resources to monitor and protect our intellectual property rights, and some violations may be difficult or impossible to detect. Litigation to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights could be costly, time-consuming and distracting to management and could result in the impairment or loss of portions of our intellectual property. Our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights may be met with defenses, counterclaims and countersuits attacking the validity and enforceability of our intellectual property rights. Our inability to protect our proprietary technology against unauthorized copying or use, as well as any costly litigation or diversion of management’s attention and resources, could impair the functionality of our products, delay introductions of enhancements to our products, result in our substituting inferior or more costly technologies into our products or harm our reputation or brand. In addition, we may be required to license additional technology from third parties to develop and market new offerings or product features, which may not be on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, and could adversely affect our ability to compete.
Although we take measures to protect our intellectual property, if we are unable to prevent the unauthorized use or exploitation of our intellectual property, the value of our brand, content, and other intangible assets may be diminished, competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our service and methods of operations, the perception of our business and service to current and prospective homeowners, lenders, title agents and real estate professionals may become confused, and our ability to attract customers and partners may be adversely affected. Any inability or failure to protect our intellectual property could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. While we take precautions designed to protect our intellectual property, it may still be possible for competitors and other unauthorized third parties to copy our technology and use our proprietary brand, content and information to create or enhance competing solutions and services, which could adversely affect our competitive position in our rapidly evolving and highly competitive industry. Some license provisions that protect against unauthorized use, copying, transfer and disclosure of our technology may be unenforceable under the laws of certain jurisdictions and foreign countries. While we enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants and enter into confidentiality agreements with our third-party providers and strategic partners, we cannot assure you that these agreements will be effective in controlling access to, and use and distribution of, our products and proprietary information. Further, these agreements do not prevent our competitors from independently developing technologies that are substantially equivalent or superior to our offerings.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
In addition to registered intellectual property rights, such as trademark registrations, we rely on non-registered proprietary information and technology, such as trade secrets, confidential information, know-how and technical information. Certain information or technology that we endeavor to protect as trade secrets may not be eligible for trade secret protection in all jurisdictions, or the measures we undertake to establish and maintain such trade secret protection may be inadequate. To protect our proprietary information and technology, we rely in part on agreements with our employees, investors, independent contractors and other third parties that place restrictions on the use and disclosure of this intellectual property. These agreements may not adequately protect our trade secrets, these agreements may be breached, or this intellectual property, including trade secrets, may otherwise be disclosed or become known to our competitors, which could cause us to lose any competitive advantage resulting from this intellectual property. To the extent that our employees, independent contractors or other third parties with whom we do business use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions. Current or future legal requirements may require us to disclose certain proprietary information or technology, such as our proprietary data science and machine intelligence algorithms, to regulators or other third parties, including our competitors, which could impair or result in the loss of trade secret protection for such information or technology. The loss of trade secret protection could make it easier for third parties to compete with our products and services by copying functionality. In addition, any changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, intellectual property laws may compromise our ability to enforce our trade secret and intellectual property rights. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the
scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection of our trade secrets or other proprietary information could harm our business, results of operations and competitive position.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our competitive position may be harmed.
The registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names that we own may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, declared generic, lapsed or determined to be infringing on or dilutive of other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights in these trademarks and trade names, which we need in order to build name recognition with potential members. In addition, third parties may file, for registration of trademarks similar or identical to our trademarks, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. If they succeed in registering or developing common law rights in such trademarks, and if we are not successful in challenging such third-party rights, we may not be able to use these trademarks to develop brand recognition of our technologies, products or services. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names. If we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, we may not be able to compete effectively, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Third parties may allege that we infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate their intellectual property rights, and we may become subject to intellectual property disputes, which are costly and may subject us to significant liability and increased costs of doing business.
We are from time to time subject to intellectual property disputes. Our success depends, in part, on our ability to develop and commercialize our products and services without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of third parties. However, we may not be aware that our products or services are infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating third-party intellectual property rights, and such third parties may bring claims alleging such infringement, misappropriation or violation. For example, there may be issued patents of which we are not aware, held by third parties that, if found to be valid and enforceable, could be alleged to be infringed by our current or future technologies or products. There also may be pending patent applications of which we are not aware that may result in issued patents, which could be alleged to be infringed by our current or future technologies or products. Because patent applications can take years to issue and are often afforded confidentiality for some period of time, there may currently be pending applications, unknown to us, that later result in issued patents that could cover our current or future technologies or products.
Lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive to resolve and can divert management’s time and attention. The industry in which we operate is characterized by the existence of a large number of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual and proprietary rights. Companies in the software industry are often required to defend against litigation claims based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property rights. Our technologies may not be able to withstand any third-party claims against their use. In addition, many companies have the capability to dedicate substantially greater resources to enforce their intellectual property rights and to defend claims that may be brought against them, than we can. In a patent infringement claim against us, we may assert, as a defense, that we do not infringe the relevant patent claims, that the patent is invalid, or both. The strength of our defenses may depend on the patents asserted, the interpretation of these patents, or our ability to invalidate the asserted patents. However, we could be unsuccessful in advancing non-infringement and/or invalidity arguments in our defense. In the United States, issued patents enjoy a presumption of validity, and the party challenging the validity of a patent claim must present clear and convincing evidence of invalidity, which is a high burden of proof. Conversely, the patent owner need only prove infringement by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower burden of proof. We do not currently have a large patent portfolio, which could prevent us from deterring patent infringement claims through our own patent portfolio, and our competitors and others may now and in the future have significantly larger and more mature patent portfolios than we have. Any litigation may also involve patent holding companies or other adverse patent owners that have no relevant product revenue, and therefore, our patents may provide little or no deterrence as we would not be able to assert them against such entities or individuals.
An adverse result in any infringement or misappropriation proceeding could subject us to significant damages, injunctions and reputational harm. If a third party is able to obtain an injunction preventing us from accessing such third-party intellectual property rights, or if we cannot license or develop alternative technology for any infringing aspect of our business, we may be forced to limit or stop sales of our relevant products and technology capabilities
or cease business activities related to such intellectual property. We cannot predict the outcome of lawsuits and cannot ensure that the results of any such actions will not have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. Any intellectual property litigation to which we might become a party, or for which we are required to provide indemnification, may require us to do one or more of the following:
•cease selling or using products or services that incorporate the intellectual property rights that we allegedly infringe, misappropriate or violate;
•make substantial payments for legal fees, settlement payments or other costs or damages;
•obtain a license, which may not be available on reasonable terms or at all, to sell or use the relevant technology;
•redesign the allegedly infringing products to avoid infringement, misappropriation or violation, which could be costly, time-consuming or impossible;
•rebrand our products and services and/or be prevented from selling some of our products or services if third parties successfully oppose or challenge our trademarks or successfully claim that we infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate their trademarks or other intellectual property rights; and/or
•limit the manner in which we use our brands.
Even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of management and harm our business and operating results. Moreover, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock. The occurrence of infringement and misappropriation claims may grow as the market for our platform and products grows. Accordingly, our exposure to damages resulting from infringement claims could increase and this could further exhaust our financial and management resources. Any of the foregoing could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We employ third-party licensed software for use in our business, and the inability to maintain these licenses, errors in the software we license or the terms of open source licenses could result in increased costs or reduced service levels, which would adversely affect our business.
Our business relies on certain third-party software obtained under licenses from other companies. We anticipate that we will continue to rely on such third-party software in the future. Although we believe that there are commercially reasonable alternatives to the third-party software we currently license, this may not always be the case, or it may be difficult or costly to replace. In addition, integration of new third-party software may require significant work and require substantial investment of our time and resources. Our use of additional or alternative third-party software would require us to enter into license agreements with third parties, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Many of the risks associated with the use of third-party software cannot be eliminated, and these risks could negatively affect our business.
If we fail to comply with any of the obligations under our license agreements, we may be required to pay damages and the licensor may have the right to terminate the license. Termination by the licensor would cause us to lose valuable rights, and could prevent us from selling our products and services, or inhibit our ability to commercialize future products and services. Our business would suffer if any current or future licenses terminate, if the licensors fail to abide by the terms of the license, if the licensors fail to enforce licensed intellectual property rights against infringing third parties, if licensed intellectual property is found to be invalid or unenforceable or if we are unable to enter into necessary licenses on acceptable terms. In addition, our rights to certain technologies, are licensed to us on a nonexclusive basis. The owners of these nonexclusively licensed technologies are therefore free to license them to third parties, including our competitors, on terms that may be superior to those offered to us, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, the agreements under which we license intellectual property or technology from third parties are generally complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property or technology, or
increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement. Any of the foregoing could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Additionally, the software powering our technology systems incorporates software covered by open source licenses. The terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. courts, and there is a risk that the licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to operate our systems. If portions of our proprietary software are determined to be subject to certain open source licenses, we could be required to publicly release the affected portions of our source code or reengineer all or a portion of our technology systems, each of which could reduce or eliminate the value of our technology systems. Moreover, we cannot ensure that we have not incorporated additional open source software in our products in a manner that is inconsistent with the terms of the applicable license or our current policies and procedures. Such risk could be difficult or impossible to eliminate and could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Securities
The price of our securities may be volatile.
The price of our securities may fluctuate due to a variety of factors, including:
•changes in the industries in which we and our customers operate;
•developments involving our competitors;
•changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
•variations in our operating performance and the performance of our competitors in general;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly or annual operating results;
•publication of research reports by securities analysts about us or our competitors or our industry;
•the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;
•actions by stockholders, including the sale by investors of any of their shares of our common stock;
•additions and departures of key personnel;
•commencement of, or involvement in, litigation involving the combined company;
•changes in our capital structure, such as future issuances of securities or the incurrence of additional debt;
•the volume of shares of our common stock available for public sale; and
•general economic and political conditions, such as the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, recessions, interest rates, local and national elections, fuel prices, international currency fluctuations, corruption, political instability and acts of war or terrorism.
These market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our securities regardless of our operating performance.
We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future.
We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to finance the further development and expansion of our business and do not intend to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, restrictions contained in the Senior Debt as well as any future agreements and financing instruments, business prospects and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant. See also Item 1 “Business—Laws and Regulations—State Disclosure Requirements and Other Substantive Insurance Regulations” for additional discussion regarding potential restrictions on our ability to distribute dividends.
Insiders have substantial control over us and could limit your ability to influence the outcome of key transactions, including a change of control.
As of February 15, 2022, holders of more than 10% of our common stock, our directors and executive officers and entities affiliated with them own approximately 58.6% of the outstanding shares of our common stock. As a result, these stockholders, if acting together, would be able to influence or control matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers or other extraordinary transactions. They may also have interests that differ from yours and may vote in a way with which you disagree and which may be adverse to your interests. The concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change of control of our company, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and might ultimately affect the market price of our common stock.
Because we currently have an even number of members of our board of directors, deadlocks may occur in our board of directors’ decision-making process, which may delay or prevent critical decisions from being made.
Since we currently have an even number of members of our board of directors, deadlocks may occur when such directors disagree on a particular decision or course of action. Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws do not contain any mechanisms for resolving potential deadlocks. While our directors are under a duty to act in the best interest of our company, any deadlocks may impede the further development of our business in that such deadlocks may delay or prevent critical board decisions.
Future sales or issuances of shares of our common stock may cause the market price of our securities to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. We have filed a registration statement to register for resale the shares issued in the private placement that closed concurrent with the Business Combination, and shares held by certain other holders pursuant to a registration rights agreement. In addition, our outstanding shares, other than those issued in the private placement and shares held by our affiliates, are freely tradeable. Sales of our common stock, whether pursuant to the registration statement or otherwise, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of our common stock. We are unable to predict the effect that sales may have on the prevailing market price of our common stock and public warrants.
Additionally, to the extent our outstanding options or warrants are exercised, or our restricted stock units vest, additional shares of our common stock will be issued, which will result in dilution to the holders of our common stock and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Sales, or the potential sales, of substantial numbers of shares in the public market by certain selling securityholders could increase the volatility of the market price of our common stock or adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Further, future issuances of shares of our common stock or other equity related securities, including any shares of our common stock issued to finance capital expenditures, finance acquisitions or repay debt, will result in dilution to the holders of our common stock, will increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market, and may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Delaware law and our organizational documents contain certain provisions, including anti-takeover provisions that limit the ability of stockholders to take certain actions and could delay or discourage takeover attempts that stockholders may consider favorable.
The Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) and our organizational documents contain provisions that could have the effect of rendering more difficult, delaying or preventing an acquisition that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock, and therefore depress the trading price of our common stock. These provisions could also make it difficult for stockholders to take certain actions, including electing directors who are not nominated by the current members of our board of directors or taking other corporate actions, including effecting changes in management. Among other things, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws includes provisions regarding:
•providing for a classified board of directors with staggered, three-year terms;
•the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock, including “blank check” preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;
•prohibiting cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
•the limitation of the liability of, and the indemnification of, our directors and officers;
•the ability of our board of directors to amend our bylaws, which may allow our board of directors to take additional actions to prevent an unsolicited takeover and inhibit the ability of an acquirer to amend our bylaws to facilitate an unsolicited takeover attempt; and
•advance notice procedures with which stockholders must comply to nominate candidates to our board of directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which could preclude stockholders from bringing matters before annual or special meetings of stockholders and delay changes in our board of directors and also may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.
These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in our board of directors or management.
Delaware law may delay or prevent a change in control, and may discourage bids for our common stock at a premium over its market price.
We are subject to the provisions of section 203 of the DGCL. These provisions prohibit large stockholders, in particular a stockholder owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock, from consummating a merger or combination with a corporation unless this stockholder receives board approval for the transaction or 66 2/3% of the shares of voting stock not owned by the stockholder approve the merger or transaction. These provisions of Delaware law may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control, and may discourage bids for our common stock at a premium over its market price.
The provisions of our certificate of incorporation requiring exclusive forum in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States for certain types of lawsuits may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we otherwise consent in writing, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of us; (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer, employee or agent of us to us or our stockholders, or any claim for aiding and abetting any such alleged breach; (iii) any action asserting a claim against us, our directors, officers or employees arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or bylaws; or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us, our directors, officers or employees governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This provision does not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or any claim for which the U.S. federal district courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
Further, our certificate of incorporation also provides that, unless we consent in writing, the U.S. federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Although our certificate of incorporation provides that the U.S. federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act it is possible that a court could rule that such provisions are inapplicable for a particular claim or action or that such provisions are unenforceable. Moreover, investors cannot waive compliance with federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
These provisions may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers. The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with any applicable action brought against us, a court could find the exclusive forum provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in such action.
Our only significant asset is our ownership interest in our wholly owned subsidiary States Title and such ownership may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our common stock or satisfy our other financial obligations.
As of December 31, 2021, we have no significant direct operations and no significant assets other than our ownership of our wholly owned subsidiary States Title. We will depend on States Title for distributions, loans and other payments to generate the funds necessary to meet our financial obligations, including our expenses as a publicly traded company and to pay any dividends with respect to our common stock. The financial condition and operating requirements of States Title may limit our ability to obtain cash from States Title. The earnings from, or other available assets of, States Title may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our common stock or satisfy our other financial obligations. Further, the provisions of the Senior Debt will limit States Title ability and the ability of its subsidiaries to, among other things, pay dividends or make distribution to us.
We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from the exercise of warrants and options, and we may invest or spend the proceeds in ways with which investors do not agree and in ways that may not yield a return.
We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from the exercises of warrants and options. Investors may not agree with our decisions, and our use of the proceeds may not yield a return on investment. We intend to use these net proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes, which may include sales and marketing activities, research and development, general and administrative matters and capital expenditures. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds for the acquisition of, or investment in, complementary companies, products, services, technologies or assets. However, we have no current commitments or agreements to enter into any such acquisitions or make any such investments. Our use of these proceeds may differ substantially from our current plans. Our failure to apply the net proceeds from the exercises of warrants and options effectively could impair our ability to pursue our growth strategy or could require us to raise additional capital.
Risks Related to Accounting and Financial Reporting
We are currently an emerging growth company and a smaller reporting company within the meaning of the Securities Act, and to the extent we have taken advantage of certain exemptions from disclosure requirements available to emerging growth companies or smaller reporting companies, this could make our securities less attractive to investors and may make it more difficult to compare our performance with other public companies.
We are currently an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. As a result, our stockholders may not have access to certain information they may deem important. We cannot predict whether investors will find our securities less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our securities less attractive as a result of our reliance on these exemptions, the trading prices of our securities may be lower than they otherwise would be, there may be a less active trading market for our securities and the trading prices of our securities may be more volatile.
Further, section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act exempts emerging growth companies from being required to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards until private companies (that is, those that have not had a Securities Act registration statement declared effective or do not have a class of securities registered under the Exchange Act) are required to comply with the new or revised financial accounting standards. The JOBS Act provides that a company can elect to opt out of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to non-emerging growth companies but any such election to opt out is irrevocable. We have elected not to opt out of such extended transition period, which means that when a standard is issued or revised and it has different application dates for public or private companies, we, as an emerging growth company, can adopt the new or revised standard at the time private companies adopt the new or revised standard. This may make comparison of our financial statements with another public company, which is neither an emerging growth company nor an emerging growth company that has opted out of using the extended transition period difficult or impossible because of the potential differences in accountant standards used.
We will cease to be an emerging growth company upon the earliest of (i) the end of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the closing of Capitol’s initial public offering; (ii) the first fiscal year after our annual gross revenues are $1.07 billion or more; (iii) the date on which we have, during the three-year period, issued more than
$1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt securities; or (iv) the end of any fiscal year in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeded $700 million as of the end of the second quarter of that fiscal year.
Additionally, we are a “smaller reporting company” as defined in Item 10(f)(1) of Regulation S-K. Smaller reporting companies may take advantage of certain reduced disclosure obligations, including, among other things, providing only two years of audited financial statements.
We will remain a smaller reporting company until the last day of the fiscal year in which (1) the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $250 million as of the end of that fiscal year’s second quarter, or (2) our annual revenues exceeded $100 million during such completed fiscal year and the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the end of that fiscal year’s second quarter. To the extent we take advantage of such reduced disclosure obligations, it may also make comparison of our financial statements with other public companies difficult or impossible.
As provided by law, after we lose our “emerging growth company” and/or “smaller reporting company” status, we will no longer be able to take advantage of certain exemptions from reporting, and we will also be required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We will incur additional expenses in connection with such compliance and management will need to devote additional time and effort to implement and comply with such requirements.
Our Public and Private Placement Warrants are accounted for as liabilities and the changes in value of our warrants could have a material effect on our financial results.
On April 12, 2021, the Acting Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Acting Chief Accountant of the SEC together issued a statement regarding the accounting and reporting considerations for warrants issued by special purpose acquisition companies entitled “Staff Statement on Accounting and Reporting Considerations for Warrants Issued by Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”)” (the “SEC Statement”). Specifically, the SEC Statement focused on certain settlement terms and provisions related to certain tender offers following a business combination, which terms are similar to those contained in the Warrant Agreement governing our warrants.
As a result of the SEC Statement, Capitol reevaluated the accounting treatment of its 11,500,000 public warrants and 5,833,333 private placement warrants, and determined to classify the warrants as derivative liabilities measured at fair value, with changes in fair value each period reported in earnings. As a result, included on our consolidated balance sheets as of December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 contained in this Annual Report are derivative liabilities related to embedded features contained within the warrants.
Accounting Standards Codification Topic 815, “Derivatives and Hedging—Contracts in Entity’s Own Equity,” provides for the remeasurement of the fair value of such derivatives at each balance sheet date, with a resulting non-cash gain or loss related to the change in the fair value being recognized in earnings in the statements of operations. As a result of the recurring fair value measurement, our financial statements and results of operations may fluctuate quarterly, based on factors that are outside of our control. Due to the recurring fair value measurement, we expect that we will recognize noncash gains or losses on the warrants each reporting period and that the amount of such gains or losses could be material.
Prior to the consummation of the Business Combination, Capitol identified a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020, and we may identify material weaknesses in the future. If we are unable to develop and maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.
Management is responsible for establishing and maintaining internal controls over financial reporting, disclosure controls, and complying with the other requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the rules promulgated by the SEC thereunder. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with international financial reporting standards. A material weakness is defined as a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of a company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected by the company’s internal controls on a timely basis.
Following the issuance of the SEC Statement, on May 10, 2021, Capitol concluded that, in light of the SEC Statement, it was appropriate to restate its previously issued audited financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020 (the “Restatement”). As part of such process, Capitol identified a material weakness in its internal controls over financial reporting. As the accounting acquirer in the Business Combination, we inherited this material weakness and the warrants.
Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and prevent fraud. Prior to the Business Combination, Capitol, and after the Closing Date, Doma, implemented corrective measures that it believes remediate the material weakness as more fully described in Part II, Item 9A “Controls and Procedures” of the Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, filed with the SEC on May 11, 2021.
In addition, prior to the Business Combination, Old Doma, as a private company, was not required to document and test its internal controls over financial reporting nor was management required to certify the effectiveness of internal controls or have its auditors opine on the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting. As a public company, we are now subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We are also continuing to improve our internal control over financial reporting. In order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our procedures and internal control over financial reporting, we have expended, and anticipate that we will continue to expend, resources, including accounting-related costs and significant management oversight. However, as the accounting acquirer in the Business Combination, we cannot assure you that we have identified all, or that we will not in the future have additional material weaknesses.
If we identify any new material weaknesses in the future, any such newly identified material weakness could limit our ability to prevent or detect a misstatement of our accounts or disclosures that could result in a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements. In such case, we may be unable to maintain compliance with securities law requirements regarding timely filing of periodic reports in addition to the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) listing requirements, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting and our stock price may decline as a result. We cannot assure you that the measures taken to date, or any measures taken in the future, will be sufficient to avoid potential future material weaknesses.
We may face litigation and other risks as a result of the material weakness in Capitol’s internal control over financial reporting.
Following the issuance of the SEC Statement, Capitol concluded that it was appropriate to restate its previously issued audited financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020. See “Our warrants are accounted for as liabilities and the changes in value of our warrants could have a material effect on our financial results” in this Annual Report. As part of the Restatement, we inherited a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting.
As a result of such material weakness, the Restatement, the change in accounting for the warrants and other matters raised or that may in the future be raised by the SEC, we may face potential for litigation or other disputes which may include, among others, claims invoking the federal and state securities laws, contractual claims or other claims arising from the Restatement and material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and the preparation of its financial statements. As of the date of this filing, we have no knowledge of any such litigation or dispute. However, we cannot provide any assurance that such litigation or dispute will not arise in the future. Any such litigation or dispute, whether successful or not, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The obligations associated with being a public company involve significant expenses and have required and will continue to require significant resources and management attention, which may divert from our business operations.
As a privately held company, Old Doma had not been required to comply with many corporate governance and financial reporting practices and policies required of a publicly traded company. As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the listing standards of the NYSE. The Exchange Act requires the filing of annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to a public company’s business and financial condition. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that a public
company establish and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting. As a result, we have incurred and will continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses. These expenses will increase once we are no longer an “emerging growth company” as defined under the JOBS Act or a “smaller reporting company.” Also, our entire management team and many of our other employees have devoted and will continue to devote substantial time to compliance.
These rules and regulations have and will continue to result in us incurring substantial legal and financial compliance costs and have made and will continue to make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, these rules and regulations make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and it may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. As a result, it may be difficult for us to attract and retain qualified people to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as executive officers.
If analysts do not publish research about our business or if they publish inaccurate or unfavorable research, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that analysts publish about our business. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our common stock or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the price of our common stock would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fails to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline. In addition, if we fail to meet the expectations and forecasts for our business provided by securities analysts, our stock price could decline.
We may be subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.
The market price of our common stock may be volatile and, in the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.