Evolution of a Title Insurance Firm

title insurance New York,New York City,Long Island

The following was written by Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman telling the story of how the firm came to be born at the height of the financial crisis and the depths of the real estate market.

It was written for The Wells Fargo Works Project and was subsequently accepted as an entry.

If, after reading you would be interested in casting a vote for the entry, please visit The Wells Fargo Works Project here.

The Hallmark Abstract Service Story

At the height of the financial crisis and as a result of the seizing of the Collateralized Mortgage Backed Securities market (CMBS) that came with the demise of Lehman Brothers, my commercial mortgage lending business was no longer viable.

It was a difficult time from both an emotional and financial perspective but, having been a fighter all of my life, it was also not the time to retreat into a cocoon of despair or self-pity.

To the contrary it was a time to look for opportunities that in any crisis situation will more often than not present themselves.

Past Lessons

Having been a proprietary equity and bond trader (ironically for the aforementioned Lehman Brothers), the rules from Trading 101 stated that you want to get involved with opportunities possessing strong potential and good risk/reward ratio at the time when others were bailing out. 

So while it was difficult seeing a business close and an economy in unprecedented distress, I was at the same time presented an opportunity to open a title insurance firm.

Given my real estate and lending background, I was well aware of the excellent potential that the title insurance industry in New York State offered. And, because other firms were closing, the business fulfilled both tenets of the Trading 101 philosophy mentioned before. 

Recognizing a fantastic opportunity to enter a market that possessed excellent prospects for future growth, Hallmark Abstract Service (HAS) was born.

Our Daily Mission

Of course at its core Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance, a product that some may consider to simply be a commodity product. This is particularly in New York State where the insurance premiums do not vary from firm to firm.

But, while it may sound cliché, we seek to be much more!

That said HAS opened its doors in 2008 with two primary goals in mind!

Number one was to create a title insurance company that would provide our clients with a superior finished product while affording them a seamless and stress-free process.

Number two was to make the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service as easy and as pleasurable as obtaining title insurance for a real estate transaction could possibly be!

From the sheer number of satisfied clients who keep coming back to Hallmark Abstract Service for their title insurance needs, I believe that we have accomplished our goals in the past, and we will continue striving to improve on them in the future!

Creative Corporate Philanthropy

As a firm Hallmark Abstract Service seeks to give back to the community through various methods of philanthropy that do not simply include writing a check.

Two examples include my fighting a three round bout in the Long Island Fight for Charity that supports three Long Island specific not-for-profits and for which I raised $17,000.

The second example entailed entering the New Years Day Polar Bear Plunge at Coney Island to raise awareness for BeTheMatch.org, the database for potential bone marrow donors. My daughter was donating marrow at the time and through media coverage in conjunction with a representative being present from BeTheMatch it was extremely successful.

Corporate Challenges  

As a small business owner my greatest challenge is differentiating my firm from the larger, more established firms as we attempt to bring additional real estate attorney’s onto our client list.

The $25,000 would allow us to embark on new avenues of promotion including the sponsorship of CLE classes while the mentoring would help us to drill down to the most effective ways to grow to the point envisioned when the firm opened. 


Read Title Insurance 101 For Consumers! Here

If you are buying or refinancing Residential or Commercial Real Estate in New York you can potentially save hundreds of dollars in closing costs with Hallmark Abstract Service! Click here to learn more.

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