Showing posts from 2009



Up until recent times, the concept of private or individual land ownership was practically unheard of. In the ‘Middle Ages’ it was only the kings, Lords and the privileged few that were able to proclaim ownership to lands that had been conquered.

Land, unlike personal possessions that can become obsolete, and lose their value, is immobile, and by comparison, indestructible; therefore, anything associated with land and its control became a symbol of power and wealth
The feudal lords that were appointed by the various monarchies’ to occupy and work these lands were granted the privilege by way of licenses. However, these lands were subject to the king's first rights, as well as taxes on the land and taxes on the produce.
Over time, the feudal lords that wished to maintain ownership of these worked lands, developed methods of obtaining conveyances from the monarchy that eventually allowed the property to be inherited by their beneficiaries, rather than revert it back to …

Ten Things You Should Know about Title Insurance

1. You have the right to choose your title company. In an industry contaminated by affiliated business arrangements, kickbacks and other referral incentives, the Internet returns the power to the people. Don't let your mortgage lender or real estate agent steer you toward their preferred title company without doing your homework first. You could save thousands of dollars – yes, thousands – by selecting a title company on your own.

2. It's easy to save money on title services. Ask for quotes from several title companies and compare them with your real estate agent's or mortgage lender's recommendation. By shopping around and asking about discounts, a lot of times the home buyer can save thousands on closing costs.

3. Your mortgage lender will require title insurance. This isn't one of those cases where you can skirt the extra expense and hope for the best. If you are borrowing money for a real estate investment, your mortgage lender will want to make sure it's pro…

Title insurance is a wise choice with troubled builder

Q. My husband and I are buying a repossessed, foreclosed house from a bank. It is a new house, and we know for a fact that many of the people who worked on it or supplied vinyl, etc., have not been paid by the builder and no one knows where he is now.

We are closing on the house this week, paying all cash.

The man who put a very expensive retaining wall on the property told us he was coming after whoever buys the property. We have been assured by our Realtor that he can't do that and the bank is giving us "clear title." Somehow that just doesn't convince me. We don't understand one paragraph in the contract that states what we will be responsible for. Is it true we cannot be held responsible, and should we buy title insurance?

A. You may not have anything to worry about, but still.

I'm sure your real estate agent is good at what he or she does, but that's not where you should look for legal information. Is the agent ready to back that up with a written promis…

L and E announces new title insurance provider

London & European has signed a deal with Hannover Re subsidiary Inter Hannover for the firm to be the exclusive provider of L&E’s title insurance.

Inter Hannover will underwrite L&E’s title insurance business as part of a four-year rolling contract.

Nick Parr, managing director of Inter Hannover, says: “Our strategy is always to look for lines of business outside the mainstream where we feel there is a market opportunity, and title insurance fits perfectly.

“In L&E we have a partner which is an established authority in the field and has a solid book of existing clients as well as a healthy appetite to grow profitably.

“We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them.”

Christopher Taylor, chief executive of L&E, says: “Inter Hannover is an entrepreneurial business which has the ability to spot an opportunity in a specialist sector and the vision to realise its potential.

“It’s no secret that the property market is depressed at the moment, but title insurance…

A.M. Best Withdraws Ratings of Old Republic General Title Insurance Corporation Due to Merger

A.M. Best Co. has withdrawn the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a+” and assigned an NR-5 (Not Formally Followed) to the FSR and an “nr” to the ICR of Old Republic General Title Insurance Corporation (Old Republic General), a former affiliate of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company (ORNTIC) (Minneapolis, MN). Effective second quarter of 2009, Old Republic General was merged into ORNTIC, which is a member of the Old Republic Title Insurance Group (Minneapolis, MN). The Old Republic Title Insurance Group and its members have an FSR of A (Excellent) and ICRs of “a+”, and the ratings are unchanged. The outlook for the FSR is stable, while the outlook for the ICRs is negative. The FSR and ICRs above apply to Old Republic Title Insurance Group and its following members: American Guaranty Title Insurance CompanyMississippi…

New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance Rules New Mexico Title Insurance Rates to Increase 10.7 Percent Effective

HOUSTON, Jul 01, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance announced June 30, 2009, that effective August 1, 2009, real estate title insurance premiums would rise by 10.7 percent overall. Additionally, the remittance rates from title agencies to underwriters increased from 19 percent to 20 percent for residential properties. A new rate schedule has yet to be released. This ruling was based on findings of pre-filed testimony, direct testimony, facts of law and a rate hearing held in November 2008 and a final information hearing in the first week of June 2009. Testimony was received from consumer, regulatory and industry sources, and the New Mexico Attorney General's Office on behalf of consumers. The findings stated, "The Superintendent has the responsibility to promulgate the premium rates of title insurers and title insurance agents for title insurance poli…

Protecting your interests. The basics of title insurance

If you’re planning to buy a home, the topic of title insurance will likely surface in one of the many discussions you’ll have with your Realtor or seller. Like most types of insurance, title insurance is better to have and not need, than need and not have. But what is it, why do you need it, and how does it work?What is title insurance?Essentially, title insurance is a specialized insurance policy that protects your mortgage lender against mistakes made in a title search. If you fall in love with a home and there’s not a clear title to it, title insurance protects the bank – and you – if there’s a problem. A clear title means you’ll be able to occupy and use the property the way you want, and that you’re able to sell or pledge your property as security for a loan. There are generally two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s title insurance. The lender’s policy is usually based on the dollar amount of your loan and protects the lender’s interests in the property against a pro…

Title insurance has value

Fraudulent activity has escalated from cheque-writing scams to identity theft to actually stealing your home right out from under you.What many homeowners don't realize is that title insurance could prevent or assist in correcting fraudulent activity.For a one-time fee (that in many cases works out to less than the annual premium for an average homeowner's insurance policy), title insurance protects a purchaser against anything that may hinder clear possession of the property.This coverage will pass to family members, as in the case of an inheritance.Title insurance is purchased when title is conveyed. It is usually acquired through the lawyer handling the transfer of ownership, and actually may eliminate the need for thorough title searches.It is also no-fault insurance so that if a problem arises, you simply make a claim, unlike the traditional process of having to prove negligence on the part of the lawyer conducting the searches.Title insurance ensures clear title, but it …

A Very Strange Divergence in Title Insurance

This is one of the few times I'd like to have ready access to analyst reports. I am completely boggled by the massive divergence among the two title insurance companies we own. While both faltered badly once interest rates started to rise (hurting mortgage applications and by transitive theory, titles), First American (FAF) has fought back to its 200 day moving average while Fidelity National Financial (FNF) has continued down at a nearly 45 degree angle, even as Treasuries have rallied here the past 5 sessions buffering the rise in mortgage rates.

Granted, the latter is more a pure play on title insurance, but this is one serious variance. There must be something going on specific to FNF and "someone" obviously knows "something" - but I definitely do not know what it is. On valuation I'd like to add here, even if its a very busted chart, but it just continued to falter almost on a daily basis and make new lows. In fact, it is lower than it was at any point …

AAA Insurance Named as Title Rights Sponsor of The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at O’Reilly Raceway Park

O’Reilly Raceway Park and AAA Insurance officials announced today that AAA Insurance has been named as the title rights sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park. The official race title will now be the AAA Insurance 200. Length of the contract will be for two years.

The race will take place on July 24th and is one night of racing that will take place during three exciting nights of racing during Kroger SpeedFest. The AAA Insurance 200 features 200-laps of tight action packed racing featuring drivers of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series such as Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday and last years champion Johnny Benson.

“We’re proud and very excited to bring this event to AAA members, AAA Insurance customers, and all race fans in central Indiana,” said Steve Vernick, vice president of Insurance for the AAA Hoosier Motor Club. “Just like motorsports, AAA Insurance is an Indiana tradition.”

“We began our partnership with AAA Insurance last year and had tremend…

Woman sentenced for draining $1.3 million from E. Providence title-insurance firm

By W. Zachary Malinowski

Journal Staff Writer An emotionally charged Angela Raposo stood before the court Friday and blamed her addiction to painkillers for her felonious ways. Raposo, in loud halting sobs, told U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith that dependence on drugs was responsible for her looting more than $1.3 million from company accounts at her title-insurance firm in East Providence.“I’m sorry, but sorry is not good enough,” Raposo said. “I’m a good person. I’m a good mother. I just messed up.”Smith wasn’t satisfied. He felt that Raposo, who had pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was too quick to blame her descent on drugs. He wanted to know why no one in her close-knit family from Riverside didn’t notice her reckless spending on houses, cars, jewelry and vacations.“There was $1.3 million wandering through the family coffers,” Smith said. “Did anybody ask, ‘Where are the cars and homes coming from?’ ”Ralph E. Chiodo, Raposo’s lawyer, said her parents never bothered to ask.…

Wayne County proposes title insurance firm to offer competition

Wayne County Register of Deeds Bernard Youngblood said Tuesday that homebuyers need a break from what he called overpriced title insurance -- and he thinks he's found a way to give it to them. Appearing before the Wayne County Commission's Government Operations Committee Tuesday, Youngblood proposed that the county create its own government-run title insurance firm to compete with private title insurers to drive down insurance rates.Homebuyers and mortgage borrowers buy title insurance during a real estate closing to ensure that the property in question has a clean title, free of liens and other claims.Youngblood said that on a home selling for $146,000 in Wayne County, title insurance fees, which include a closing fee and title policies for both the new owner and the mortgage lender, could run $1,400.The government-run firm would charge $600 for the same coverage, he said.

Complex title saga still plagues lot in east Aspen

More than three years after purchasing a lot in Aspen’s east end, Nina Zale decided to vent her frustrations over not being able to build on it with a banner reading, “Please let us build our home!”

The banner is prominently mounted on the lot’s original retaining wall, made of railroad ties and stone, on the back of Nina and her husband Milton’s 6,000-square-foot-lot on the south end of Park Avenue.

A protracted lawsuit against the Zales, by neighbors on Midland Avenue, a series of legal settlements by previous owners, and a mystery surrounding missing information in the Zales’ title when they bought the lot, have kept them from building the home they plan to retire in.

The Midland neighbors, Colleen Grosz and Tim and Marjorie Rodell, say they’re just trying to enforce restrictions placed on the Promontory Subdivision, which was developed by Fritz Benedict in the 1950s. And they say that the Zales’ planned home would violate multiple restrictions designed to protect neighbors’ views and…

Old Republic's Title Insurance Subsidiary Expands Reinsurance Assumed Relationship With Attorneys' Title Insurance Fund, Inc.

Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE: ORI), today, Old Republic National Title Insurance Company (Old Republic) and Attorneys' Title Insurance Fund, Inc., (The Fund) announced an amendment of their long-standing Reinsurance Agreement. The Agreement provides for the issuance of an Old Republic Reinsurance Assumption Certificate to be issued automatically with all Fund policies issued on or after March 26, 2009. As an organization of 6000 real estate attorney members, The Fund's mission to protect the public in real estate transactions is more relevant than ever. In the face of challenges to the entire title insurance industry, The Fund is strengthening its Reinsurance Agreement with Old Republic to ensure that protection. For the latest five year period the Fund's annual title premium production has averaged approximately $385 million. About Old Republic Chicago-based Old Republic International Corporation is an insurance holding company whose subsidiaries market…

Cybersoft Selects Technology Partner for Title Insurance Outsourcing Market

SAN FRANCISCO, March 18, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ ----Cybersoft, Inc., an established Business Process Outsourcing ("BPO") provider to many strategic industries, announced today that it has selected CentRealTech, Inc. as its technology partner to provide Cybersoft with a significant advantage in their Best Shore Methodology for outsourcing to the Title Insurance Industry. Cybersoft is using the One Click System from CentRealTech as the key technology component to their onshore/offshore title production offering. Cybersoft has also taken advantage of the deep title industry experience provided by CentRealTech for training and support of Cybersoft's experienced and well educated BPO staff. The combination of the resources within Cybersoft, along with the continuing support of CentRealTech as their title industry expert, will allow Cybersoft to provide more than just a very capable solution to the title industry; it will allow Cybersoft to far exceed their custome…

Advantage Title Launches While Also Unveiling Industry-Best Online Resource for Title Insurance and Escrow Services

New Title Insurance Company, Employing Title365™, Delivers Industry-Changing Combination of Centralized Product Fulfillment, Faster Turnaround of Title, Escrow, and Default Services, and Tomorrow’s Technology Today IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Founded by a group of leading settlement service veterans and technology innovators, Advantage Title, the most technologically advanced nationwide provider of title insurance, settlement, and default services, has brought to market Title365, a highly integrated and extremely user-friendly online transaction management tool for real estate related services. Operating as an underwritten title agent, Advantage Title employs a refreshingly efficient centralized processing and fulfillment model that stands in stark contrast to the technology-stagnant, paper-intensive systems and time-intensive, manual services commonplace to large, decentralized competitors. Resid…

Free: Real Estate & Title Insurance Trends

Distressed Owner Transactions: Common Questions

Thomas A. Glatthaar, senior vice president and senior underwriting counsel with Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, writes that for a while there it seemed like the real estate market in the New York metropolitan area was going to fly high forever, but it teetered with the economy in the early to middle parts of 2008, and then slid precipitously by the end of the summer. Now, he laments, the good times seem like long ago.

Buying More Than the Building

Paul Salvatore, a partner at Proskauer Rose, and Brian Rauch, a senior associate at the firm, write that by carefully reviewing labor and employment issues when conducting pre-purchase due diligence, a purchaser can avoid significant liabilities and costs related to the purchase of a building. By dealing with these issues before a sale is completed, they advise, a purchaser can ensure that any potential liabilities are reflected in the purchase agreement and that it is fully prepared fo…

“Outside sales" exemption applies to title insurance promotional work

A marketing executive, whose promotional work was credited with the sale of title insurance to clients, was an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) "outside sales" exemption and, therefore, not entitled to overtime compensation, the Eleventh Circuit ruled in affirming a decision by a federal district court in Florida.The plaintiff was hired by the insurance company as a marketing executive due, in large part, to her prior career in selling title insurance. Although she initially was paid a weekly wage, and later suggested that she be paid on a commission basis—receiving a 50% commission on clients who closed with the insurance company—plaintiff claimed that she often worked more than 40 hours per week, but was never compensated for overtime.At issue was the definition of “promotional work,” which may or may not be exempt outside sales work, depending on the circumstances under which it is performed. Despite the plaintiff’s contention on appeal that her …

First American Title Insurance Company

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest title insurance company in the United States, is alleged in a Michigan lawsuit to be responsible for millions of dollars in losses sustained by Michigan businessman Isaiah Shafir. In a motion filed today in Oakland County Circuit Court, before the Hon. Wendy Potts, Mr. Shafir alleges that First American's agents participated in a fraudulent real estate scheme in an attempt to divest Mr. Shafir of title to 42 investment properties, with a value in the millions of dollars. Shafir seeks a ruling that First American is liable for its agents' conduct.According to the motion, First American's agents, Simmons Title Company and Patriot Title Company, recorded a fraudulently obtained deed and issued false title policies concealing Mr. Shafir's interests in the properties. The suit alleges that Simmons Title and Patriot Title did this to assist a man named Randy Saylor to sell the properties, which did not belong to him, and to…

Stetson’s Wilson named Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund Professor

Darryl C. Wilson, professor and co-director of the Institute for Caribbean Law and Policy at Stetson University of Law, has been named the Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund Professor of Law.The three-year appointment begins in August, a release said.The appointment allows for further integration of the academic aspects of property with practical issues addressed by the Fund, Wilson said in a statement.Professor James J. Brown, the first law professor named to the position, will become the Fund’s professor emeritus.The Fund promotes and facilitates real estate practices of its members as they protect the public, a release said.

Home property title insurance

Home property title insurance usually is required by the lender to protect the lender against loss resulting from claims by others. In some states, attorneys offer homeowner property title insurance as part of their services in examining and providing a title opinion. The attorney's fee may include the premium. In other states, a company or agent directly provides the title insurance. New house owners should be aware that the seller may not require the buyer, as a condition of the sale, to purchase this policy from any particular company. Usually, the lender will require a policy from a company that is acceptable to it. In most cases the new house owner can shop for and choose a policy that meets the lender's standards and their own personal satisfaction and price.

To save money on these types of policies, compare rates among various companies. The buyer should ask what services and limitations on coverage are provided under each homeowner property title insurance policy so tha…

Opting Out of Title Insurance

When attorney Mark Rutzick sold his home in Fairfax, Va., and bought a new one in nearby Oakton, he made what many might consider a risky move: He turned down title insurance. While lenders require borrowers to pay for the insurance that protects loans against unexpected liens and other claims, owners often have more leeway when it comes to insuring their own home equity.

Since Rutzick's new home had only two previous owners, he says, "The chances of a hidden grantor coming out of the woodwork and saying 'I own it and you don't' is so incredibly small, [title insurance] just seems unnecessary." He estimates he saved himself about $3,600 by not buying owner's title insurance. While shaving a few thousand dollars off closing costs is tempting, many in the real estate industry recommend against it. Pam Hamrick, vice president of, says she has seen customers without title insurance policies run into problems that are expensive to clear up. &quo…

Choose title insurance firm carefully

Defendants in fence dispute feel abandoned.
It's important for buyers to have survey.
A court case wending its way through the judicial system underlines just how important it is for homebuyers to have a current survey and to choose a title insurance company very carefully.

In November, 1998, Susan and David purchased their house at an address, which I will call 2 Auckland Ave., Toronto.

Next door to the north is 4 Auckland, a house bought by Mir and Leda in September, 2001. The backyards of both properties are 5.71 meters (18.73 feet) deep from the house to the rear lot line. Separating the two backyards is a fence, which was built before either neighbour moved in.

One of the issues in the lawsuit brought by Susan and David is whether the fence is in the wrong position, and whose land it is on.

In a statement of claim issued last year, Susan and David claim that the division fence is not on the property line, but rather about 0.57 m (1.87 feet) onto the property owned by Mir and Leda.


Questions about Titile insurance. What Is Title Insurance?

What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property.

Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes, and the land on which it stands went through many more. There may be a weak link at any point in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble. For example, someone along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title. Or there may be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.
Is Purchasing Title Insurance Obligatory?

It is if you need a mortgage, because all mortgage lenders require such protection for an amount equal to the loan. It lasts until the loan is repaid. As with mortgage insurance, it protects the lender but you pay the premium, which is a single-payment made upfront.
Does Title Insurance Do Anything For Me?

The required insurance protects the lender up t…

Watch Out For "Junk" Mortgage Fees

For most people, buying real estate is an uncommon occurrence. Engaging in real estate transactions just once or twice in a lifetime provides little opportunity to become intimately familiar with the process. There are mountains of paperwork to sign, a confusing new vocabulary to deal with, and a host of fast-talking sales people - from real estate agents to mortgage brokers - who smile, point and tell you where to sign.Somewhere in the mix of elation at purchasing a property and boredom from signing forms, it's easy to lose track of what you're paying for and how much you're spending. Aside from the amount of the mortgage, most of the other expenses get lumped into a category referred to as "closing costs". Paying attention to these costs can help you understand where your money is going and maybe even save you a few hundred dollars. Read on to learn more. Closing Costs: What Are They? The phrase "closing costs" is shorthand for the total cost of sever…

Technical Trade Alerts on Surety & Title Insurance Stocks: PMI, ABK, RDN, MBI, ORI, FAF

Beacon Equity Research announces the release of Trade Alerts covering surety & title insurance stocks: HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP), Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR), Health Care REIT Inc. (NYSE: HCN), Healthcare Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: HR), Nationwide Health Properties Inc. (NYSE: NHP) and Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (NYSE: OHI). In the Trade Alert, the author highlights PMI's announcement that Standard & Poor's left unchanged its ratings: "The PMI Group Inc. (PMI) shares soared nearly 20% yesterday to close at $2.70.
PMI, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of financial products for residential mortgages, public finance obligations and asset-backed securities. ... The company recently announced Standard & Poor's (S&P) left unchanged its ratings of the company's primary operating subsidiary PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., as well as PMI Mortgage Insurance Company Ltd. and the holding company's senior and subordinated debt ratings. Although ratings remai…