Every day I receive phone calls from attorneys and agents who need our help because they didn’t meet the minimum remittance requirements mandated by the underwriter, despite often having been an agent for years without a single claim. Ultimately most say they’ve never been a large producer, but don’t understand why now, after all these years, the underwriter no longer wants to do business with them.
[pullquote_right]"Has your access to title insurance underwriting been cancelled for low production, or is about to be?"[/pullquote_right]
Unfortunately, this is happening all over the country. Many title insurance underwriters have calculated that the cost of doing business has become too great to support small to medium sized agents in a down real estate market. Adding to the problem, by mid-2010 there were only 54 title insurance underwriters nationwide, down from 91 in 2008. This time frame includes the loss of the LandAmerica brand, as well as Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. Last year, two large regional underwriters, Southern Title Insurance Corporation and New Jersey Title Insurance Company, were suspended from issuing new policies and ultimately put in to runoff due to large agent/attorney defalcations. Underwriters have become afraid of the agents with whom they do business.
Some of the remaining underwriters still in business today have restructured their operations and are moving to the direct market, (away from independent agents) as they don’t want to become the next victim of an agent/attorney defalcation. They realized if they are going to assume 100% of the risk, they may as well receive 100% of the premium and closing costs, increasingly pushing independent title agents out of the picture. In some cases, underwriters have completely pulled out of a particular area or even an entire state. You, the title agent, inevitably end up getting punished for something completely unrelated to you and your practice.
We must realize there is a cost of doing business and accept the net required remittance minimums have nowhere to go but up. If you need help I strongly encourage you to visit our website (www.goentrust.com) or contact us at 865-691-1287. Our Nexus Program is currently active in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida and we can assist your company with your real estate closings. If you currently have a relationship with your underwriter, but need help with your back office production, we have the following services available nationwide that can help:[list_style1]
- Escrow / trust account reconciliations
- Forms production (commitment and policy typing)
- Centralized disbursing
- File scanning
- And more…
Having worked “inside” the auditing and risk management departments of title insurance underwriters, I have a sense for both what underwriters need to feel secure, and what agents need to get closings done quickly and efficiently, while minimizing the risks for both that can come with trying to add closings to a practice whose main focus may be elsewhere, or trying to build up staff on short notice with unfamiliar personnel.
Entrust can help. If low volume or lack of back office personnel are holding your practice back from seizing opportunities to close real transactions in our recovering market, give us a call. If you need help, we have options.