ALTA Talks About the Nexus Program Redistributed with the consent of the American Land Title Association
Company Aims to Help Small-Producing Agents and Attorneys, Reduce Underwriter Risk
During his time in the industry, Jonathan Yasko has seen agents cancelled by underwriters for not meeting minimum remittances. On the flip side, he knows first-hand how large claims can cripple an underwriter.
Beginning in January, Entrust Solutions started offering a program aimed at bridging the gap between agents and underwriters. Called the Nexus Program, it is designed to give attorneys and agents a platform to handle real estate transactions with little risk. Yasko said Entrust handles most of the back office work, issued the policy and disburses funds, allowing attorneys and agents to focus on servicing their existing customer base.
“It can be hard for an agent or attorney to understand why an underwriter doesn’t want their business, especially if they haven’t had a claim,” said Yasko, managing member of Entrust. “But as state and federal regulations become more difficult, underwriters continue to increase minimum remittance requirements because the cost of doing business continues to go up.”
While the program varies by state, here’s a look at the highlights of what Entrust provides its Nexus agents: • Reviews the search; • Provides a title commitment; • Secures an insured closing protection letter or closing protection letter from the underwriter; • Disburses funds and wires any loan payoffs; • Produces the final policy; and • Scans the files into their records.
In addition to providing an option aimed at helping small-producing agents and attorneys stay in business, the Nexus Program reduces liability and expense for underwriters.
“From the underwriters’ perspective, we are the agent and are essentially taking away their two biggest risks of issuing the policy and handling the escrow function,” said Yasko, who has worked for Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund Inc and Southern Title Insurance Corp. “We’ve created a safeguard and we know what can and can’t be insured.”
Yasko said the Nexus Program originated from a binder agent program started by Fidelity National Title in the early 1990s when a large underwriter started cancelling non-producing agents. The Entrust option follows a similar philosophy. Agents and attorneys that remit less than $10,000 may not be viable for large underwriters, but collectively they can continue to operate and provide a good book of business. Currently, the Nexus program is available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, with plans to expand into Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
“Since the abrupt end of Southern Title, many agents are without an underwriter and a way to close transactions,” Yasko said. “Our number one focus is to assist title insurance professionals in a wide variety of needs and we bridge the gap between agents and attorneys and underwriters. The process allows agents to continue receiving orders and the underwriter still gets a portion of the premium.”
Entrust provides an array of other services, including account reconciliations, audits, file document scanning and policy typing.
“We know what it takes to protect the industry, so we tell attorneys and agents to let us be your employees,” said Yasko, adding that Entrust has its own errors and omissions coverage, as well as fidelity and surety policies. Underwriters are calling us the ‘next big thing’ to help protect the industry.”