Despite the deluge of negative publicity surrounding the title insurance industry in New York, all title insurance companies Do Not engage in spending ‘millions of dollars to win the favor and business of clients at ballparks, Madison Square Garden luxury suites, exclusive country clubs, expensive steakhouses, even strip clubs’!
Do most take (until February 1, 2018 of course) a client or prospect to lunch? Absolutely, as that is the basis for how relationship building in the title insurance industry or any other industry works!
However, were one read recent headlines or editorials in New York business/real estate publications, the entire New York title insurance industry (and by extension much of the legal industry focused on real estate) has been painted with one broad brush as being littered with nothing but charlatans and flim-flam artists.
‘Title insurance agencies go wild‘ – Times Union
‘Title insurance industry lawyers up…Trade organization aims to blunt new regulations that would curtail lavish spending‘ – Crain’s New York
‘New York’s Hidden Home Buyer Closing Costs: Luxury Boxes and Mint Mojitos‘ – The New York Times
The New York title industry as a whole, through articles like the ones cited above along with many others, is described en masse as a group of deep-pocketed buyers of attorney business.
Attorney business, that to hear the story told by these columnists, is being sold by these legal professionals to whichever title insurance company lavishes them with the most and best ‘goodies’!
This blanket assertion, in addition to being an insult to firms like Hallmark Abstract Service and others like us, is an incredible insult to all the great attorney’s in New York State who are concerned with one thing, and one thing only…Protecting their clients legal interests in a real estate transaction that for many will likely be the largest single purchase of their lives to date! Residential or commercial.
Truth-be-told if I had to pinpoint the key takeaway from any conversation with my firm’s clients, as our business relationship was developing, is this:
Attorney: ‘The only thing I want from your firm is a superior work product for my client and, when I call with an issue or question, that I get an immediate response.’
I can of course only speak for the business practices of my firm, but we have always earned our business through the aforementioned dedication to the way in which we treat our clients and, by extension, their clients real estate interests!
This firm has always strived to make clear to consumers the following:
- The consumer has the right to choose the title insurance provider,
- The consumer needs to check on the financial strength of the underwriter issuing the policy,
- The consumer needs to explore the claims experience of the title insurance provider as it varies between companies, and
- That the consumer needs to be aware of the fact that the non-title insurance premium fees can, and up until Regulation 208 went into effect in December 2017, have varied widely between title insurance firms. We go on to advise that to make certain the consumer was not being charged too much, they should get a title bill from a second firm to use as comparison. (Source)
If you are a consumer, attorney, columnist or public servant with questions, comments or thoughts surrounding the title insurance industry or the current debate that’s swirling in New York, my contact information is below.
Michael Haltman, President
Hallmark Abstract Service, LLC
Title Insurance And Havoc In The New York Real Estate Market?
The Ostrich Effect And The New York State Title Insurance Industry
For Commercial And Residential Real Estate Attorney’s In New York State, December 18 New Rules Concerning Title Closer Compensation Go Into Effect!