AGENT SPOTLIGHT: The Closing Table of Florida

The spotlight shines bright on The Closing Table of Florida. With a knowledgeable and caring team, Hope Kahn leads the way in ensuring her clients receive top notch customer service. Hope first entered the real estate industry as a loan officer in the early 1990’s.   She later transitioned into title insurance, where she managed HUD closings in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. With her experience and knowledge, Hope opened The Closing Table of Florida. Her goal was to provide concierge level service in courteous and efficient manner. Hope exceeds her goals and provides superior service backed by almost twenty years of experience.

Hope’s greatest pride is in managing her team of dedicated employees. Because of the warm and inviting setting that Hope creates for herself and her team, closings seem effortless. Clients serve as her greatest source of referral business. At the Closing Table of Florida, clients are greeted with welcoming smiles and an espresso (a must when in Miami). Hope is always looking for new ideas to keep her company on the forefront of technology. As many of her clients are international investors, Hope finds innovative ways to conduct closings domestically and abroad. She appreciates that FNTI is dedicated to the success of independent agents. Hope’s knowledge, dedication  and love for the title industry shines from the moment you walk through the doors at The Closing Table of Florida. 

https://the-closing-table-of-florida-title-and-escrow.business.site/

FNTI Policy Department Takes on iFly!

This month our policy data processing team took a break and went to the iFLY Indoor Skydiving in Frisco to celebrate 2018.  We couldn’t do what we do for all of our agents without this amazing team! Thank you!

Heather Stubbs, Tammy Head, Emily Froggatt, Kristine Prather, Geri Hosterman and George Stablein
Kristine Prather flying high!

Out & About | FNTI Enjoys Time with Title Agents at the Texas Land Title School in Austin

FNTI Enjoys Time with Title Agents at the Texas Land Title School in Austin

Chris Phillips, George Stablein, Ellen Wied, Cheri Swanson, Geri Hosterman and Suzanne Tinsley supported agents attending the TLTA Land Title School March 4-6, 2019 in Austin, Texas.  Volunteering for the school were Cheri Swanson and Geri Hosterman; while Chris, George, Ellen and Suzanne joined for a fun-filled dinner out for FNTI agents attending the event.  FNTI was also a sponsor for the school program, and provided scholarships for selected winners across the state.  FNTI continues to show its support for both education in our industry and the Texas Land Title Association by participating and sponsoring events such as this. 

Chris Phillips and George Stablein pose with our scholarship winners for 2019
The FNTI team of Ellen Wied, Chris Phillips, Geri Hosterman, Suzanne Tinsley, George Stablein, and Cheri Swanson

DJ’s Motivational Mondays | St. Patrick’s Day Luck for Everyone

Dearest Friends,

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, I wish the luck of the Irish upon you!

Luck is a random occurrence of good fortune, but I say luck finds you when you put yourself in a position to create success.  Drinking green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, wearing green, and all the tales that should bring luck are great, but how you position yourself in addition to a little luck will bring you more success.  This doesn’t mean I won’t add a little green food coloring to my favorite hops on St. Patty’s Day, but I’ll also make sure I have myself in the right place to create a little of my own luck. 

How are you positioning yourself to create success?

I have been fortunate enough to be able to have great relationships with all our outstanding agents—both new ones and ones I have serviced for a long time.  Positioning myself in your offices and building the relationship with all the people I meet makes the luck for me.  Thank you for welcoming me when I visit your offices. 

Below is an Old Irish Blessing I found for you all:

Cheers!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Message from the CEO | Merger Mania Consequences

What are the consequences of another consolidation of national underwriters?  When will the mergers be done?  Who is next?  Independent agents and independent underwriters are the lifeblood of a diversified title industry.  Currently, the “big four” national underwriters control almost 85 percent of the overall market, while the rest of the industry completes for the remaining 15 percent.  The good news is that their market share is slowly shrinking.  But shrinking too slowly.  As a comparison, when First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) entered the market in 2012, the big four controlled 88.2 percent of the market and 32 independent underwriters were vying for the remaining 11.8 percent.  When the Fidelity National Title/Stewart Title merger happens, the Fidelity family will control almost 44 percent of the market.  I am confident that at most, that market share will last only a few years, and that the independent agents and their underwriters will re-balance and re-gain the share “purchased” by Fidelity. 

The merger of Fidelity/Stewart has been challenged by the New York Department of Insurance for a good reason—lack of competition and market-share domination.  That rings true for the other 49 states too.  And now, finally, some of the other state commissioners are speaking out. 

It makes me wonder why it is that the independent agents continue to support their biggest competitors.  I understand that the national underwriters have referral business and some perks that the regionals can’t offer, but when looking at how much business the national’s control, why help them grow their influence? 

FNTI has been successful entering the market and building a network of solid, supportive agents.  And we have the resources to compete with the nationals.  Large commercial transactions have always been the domain of Fidelity National, Chicago Title, and First American.  We now have a reinsurance treaty in place to allow you to compete with the nationals and write an FNTI policy up to $100 million.  Why give your biggest competitor your biggest transactions?   FNTI can handle your complex, high-liability transactions.  We are in the process of getting our reinsurance program approved by Fannie Mae, which effectively eliminates any lender’s objection to our paper.   

Let’s join together and make a difference in our local markets.  Let’s show the national underwriters that the entrepreneurial spirit will out-complete them on service, personal relationships, and dedication to the customer/client connection.

Our company motto that we “…do business with those we know, like, and trust” still rings true.  It is a motto we live by.  We want you to know us, like us, and especially trust us.  We are all looking forward to another busy and prosperous year.  Let us help you compete and win in this changing market.

Underwriting Q&A: Do Texas title companies offer “survey coverage”?

Q: Do Texas title companies offer “survey coverage”?


A: No. Unfortunately, over the years our industry has used the slang term “survey coverage” to describe various policy endorsements that may be available on a proposed transaction. However, the over use of the term has resulted in a misunderstanding of the actual coverage provided by the related endorsements.

While this subject warrants a more lengthy discussion, this blog is limited to the basics. First, Texas does not offer any endorsement titled “survey coverage”. Additionally, neither the policy nor any endorsements to a policy offer coverage insuring the correctness or accuracy of a survey. The two most common endorsements referenced by the term “survey coverage” are the Amendment of Exception to Area and Boundaries (Procedural Rule P-2) and the Restrictions, Encroachments, Minerals Endorsement (Procedural Rule P-50). Again, neither endorsement guarantees the correctness or accuracy of a survey. The connection between the two endorsements and the term “survey coverage” arises due to the necessity to review a valid survey for purposes of determining whether the proposed endorsement will be offered and if so what specific exceptions may be necessary. In the case of the Amendment of Exception to Area and Boundaries, the rule requires a review of a new survey or an existing survey accompanied by a T-47 Affidavit (see rule P-2 for specific requirements). In the case of a request to issue the Restrictions, Encroachments and Minerals Endorsement, while not specifically provided for by the procedural rule, due to the coverages offered in the endorsement, in certain instances the underwriter may require a survey or evidence of a survey be provided for review in order to make a final determination as to the issuance of the endorsement.

Also, please note that when completing the T-47 Residential Real Property Affidavit, the requested date in line item #4 is the date of the existing survey being used in connection with the T-47, not the date that the Affiant took title to the property.

Finally, while the two endorsements are often referenced together as “Survey Coverage” and often requested by lenders as though they represent a single endorsement, please note that the two endorsements are separate endorsements and each can be issued independent of the other therefore it is important to clarify exactly which endorsement is being requested, if in fact a proposed insured is requesting “Survey Coverage”.
The bottom line: Texas Title Insurance Policies and accompanying endorsements do not insure the accuracy or correctness of a survey, nor does Texas offer any endorsements title “Survey Coverage”. The two most common endorsements being request under the slang term “Survey Coverage” are the Amendment of Exception to Area and Boundaries (Procedural Rule P-2) and the Restrictions, Encroachments, Minerals Endorsement (Procedural Rule P-50). The only relationship between a survey and these endorsements is that a survey may be used as a tool for determining whether the requested endorsement will be issued.

As always, should you have any question relate to this topic, please do not hesitate to call your friendly First National Title Insurance Company underwriter.

Have a fantastic day!

Out & About | Texas Land Title Association’s Day at the Capitol

Chris Phillips, Suzanne Tinsley and Jamie Barker joined almost 300 members of the Texas Land Title Association at the Texas State Capitol in Austin this week. The day was spent meeting with state legislators sharing our industry’s powerful story of protecting Texans’ property rights. Texas has built one of the strongest title insurance systems in the country with comprehensive consumer protections resulting in more choices, safer transactions and better prices. 

AGENT SPOTLIGHT: Texas Title

Texas Title’s number one objective is to provide customers with superior service, knowledge and expertise.  Chris Drumm, DFW President stated, “Our focus on the customer experience is shaping how the closing process is evolving to meet these needs; from the office décor, type of coffee served, cordial attitude of our staff, down to the minute details of making sure our offices exude confidence and professionalism, we are reshaping what the title industry will become.  By setting these standards for itself, Texas Title provides customers with a unique closing experience.”  Texas Title is licensed in 48 counties and has six direct offices serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area. “We want to be able to reach beyond Dallas/Fort Worth in providing title and escrow services by licensing as many counties as are available; our service standards reach beyond our brick and mortar locations” stated Mr. Drumm.

Co-founders and attorneys Claude Rich and Bob Karlseng bring a combined 40+ years of experience in the residential , commercial, and legal real estate industry. Their singular focus on the customer experience and day to day involvement and commitment to the business has inspired Texas Title to rapidly grow from a 12 person company to more than 60 employees and over 7000 real estate closings per year. “We love growing a company with people that believe what we believe, we want both our customers and our employees to know we care about them” says Karlseng and Rich.

“We are proud to spotlight Texas Title in their commitment to grow, and have been fortunate enough to have them as one of our strongest partners”, stated George Stablein.

Out & About | FNTI Brings Education and Training to You

April Roberts, Director of Education and Training, sits down with some of the staff of Strategic National Title Group to discuss how to minimize mistakes using organization and communication in the closing process. FNTI is available for the training and development of your staff. Contact your Agency Representative to find out more!

DJ’s Motivational Mondays | Words at Valentines

Valentine’s Day is in a couple of days which means lots of loving words within cards and candy boxes will be given.  But do we know anything about the man, St. Valentine?  Around the year 265 AD there was an emperor named Claudias who had an edict that soldiers should not marry because they fought better when they were not married.  St. Valentine married them anyway in the church.  He was captured and prisoned.   While in prison there is a legend about one of the men who was to judge him, Asterius.  Asterius had a daughter who was blind and Valentine, according to the story, prayed with her and cured her of her blindness.  When Valentine was sentenced to a horrible three-part execution he wrote Asterius’ daughter a love letter and signed it “from your Valentine.”

Words are so important and yet sometimes so flippantly used.  They can tear someone down so much quicker than they can build someone up.  Words used even in correction must obtain something positive. This month as we observe Valentine’s Day, may we all think about our words we use and how each one will make someone feel. 

Happy Valentine’s Everyone.