I Can Sleep at Night

by Phil Stein, ILTA Communication Committee

I am writing this article through the lens of a title industry professional that has worn many hats; I have been a title insurance agent, underwriter, and regulator, but most importantly a homeowner and consumer of title insurance policies.

As a title insurance agent, I painstakingly searched and examined the public records of parcels and individuals to insure the titles on the largest personal investment of my customers.

And as an underwriter, I am charged with growing market share while mitigating risk and ensuring compliance with all State and Federal statutes.

As a regulator, I provided a voice for unsophisticated consumers forced to reconcile issues attached to a property that they recently purchased.

And as a homeowner and consumer, I have endured the costs associated with purchasing title insurance products, without knowing if my purchase would ever require the assurances provided.

Take for example, the young couple that purchased a beautiful piece of property in Alaska. It was their dream to convert the property into a camp for the underprivileged. After several years of hard work and enjoyment, they were served with a notice restricting their access to the camp. Through no fault of couple, the road into and out of the camp was situated on the adjacent property and the owner of that property was not willing to grant them access.

Fortunately for the couple and their annual campers, an owner’s title insurance policy was purchased by the couple, covering access to their property.

As for the title agent, this was an egregious error.

As for the underwriter, I would hope that an errors & omission policy for the agent would offer some relief for the loss.

As the regulator, you can chalk this story up to the importance of a needed and financially solvent regulated industry.

And as a homeowner and consumer, I can sleep at night knowing that my one-time purchase of an owner’s title insurance policy will provide me protection for as long as I own my property.