Message from the CEO | First National Title’s Response to COVID-19

10 Apr

Message from the CEO | First National Title’s Response to COVID-19

I’ve revised the April Blog I had planned because of the incredible events we now face.  With a worldwide pandemic to fight, my Blog just didn’t feel appropriate.  The title was “First National Title’s Growth – Let’s Get this Decade Started.”  I intend to release it once we were confident we had defeated the COVID-19 virus.  But until then, let’s focus on what we can do today to get through this “event.” 

The title insurance industry as a whole should be commended for the incredible efforts it has made to adjust to the “new” way of doing business while maintaining a sense of normalcy in a confusing and risky environment.  When both the federal and state governments confirmed that the title industry is an essential business, it required all of us to re-think every process and procedure we’ve used over the past decade. Our agents are on the front line of this pandemic and exposed to risks they have never faced.  I am proud of the innovative and creative ways agents have determined to keep their employees safe yet continue to close transactions.  I have heard of drive-up and drive-through closings as well as curb-side closings in the parking lot.  Agents have installed moveable plexi-glass screens for closers to safely sit behind.  Most agents are staggering closings; disinfecting or using disposable pens; and sanitizing tables, hard surfaces, and all door handles. 

First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) responded to the effects of this pandemic by requiring our employees to work from home using the tools and procedures contained in our “Continuity Plan.”  All FNTI staff members use a secure Citrix environment and are available to answer your questions as if they were sitting in their offices.  Our nine-member legal team is monitoring the state and federal regulations as they are being adopted and are determining sound practices to close your transactions.  It is a “fluid” situation, and the underwriting team is available to answer your specific questions as they come up.  Our sales team, in conjunction with the legal team, is developing virtual educational opportunities for your staff and/or clients.  FNTI was one of the original companies to use electronic signatures on HOI policies, eliminating the printing of large volumes of paper policies to create a more efficient way to issue our agents’ HOI policies.   And our entire staff has adopted virtual meetings.  We use GoToMeetings as our primary source of connection, but are willing to join ZOOM, Teams, Skype, etc. whenever necessary.  

My in-box has been flooded with a myriad of opinions, solutions, and options to deal with the Corona Virus.  In order to not overwhelm you with information, yet provide the necessary tools you will need, FNTI created its own COVID-19 resource page.  Please visit this site at www.fnti.com.  The resources we address include:

  • Bulletins
    • Agency
      • FNTI’s internal response to these events is explained
    • Underwriter
      • The most recent underwriting guidelines and forms to use
  • Remote Online Notary (RON)
    • Vetted and approved Service Providers
  • Marketing
    • Flyers and Videos to help agents communicate with clients and customers during the COVID crisis. 
  • Small Business Assistance – Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
    • Information to navigate both of these programs
    • PPP worksheet
    • PPP FAQ’s and Loan Application Information
  • Q&A and FAQ’s
    • General Questions and Answers

These are very unusual and concerning times, yet these are the times when you know who to reach out to for answers, support, and solutions.  FNTI is the team you can count on and the team that is there for you during these challenging times.  We want you to be safe and remain healthy, both physically and in your business.  Reach out to me personally or to any of our team member if you need help. We are here for you.       

Chris Phillips

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