I wrote recently about Mike Pryor, the president-elect of ALTA. (See I like Mike). Mike is a traditional title guy that really understands the importance of providing a quality product and service to our customers. He wants to communicate with title agents and he wants to include more than just current ALTA members. To that end, he has established a Website, www.MikePryor.net, and he plans to send out a periodic email chronicling his experiences as the president of ALTA and to share his thoughts along the way.
Mikes first email was sent out September 15, 2008 and there is a lot there that I'm sure we would all agree with. His perspective on the difference between insurability and marketability is evident in the way he views short searches. Sure short searches may be acceptable to our underwriters, but is it really in the best interest of our customers?
Oh, I know, we can argue all day about how good is good enough, but unfortunately, we as an industry, have spent too much time arguing about how good a search should be before issuing a title policy when we SHOULD be discussing how good a search is necessary to satisfy our duty to our customers.
That’s where most people have lost focus.
Sure, we have insuring decisions to make……and yes, an underwriter may permit a “short search’, but most of MY customers do not want insurance….. they want peace of mind.
They want to know not just that they have a financial coverage, but that the home of their dreams will always be theirs. They want know that I have done a thorough job and informed them of anything that might interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of their home. They don’t want to be named in a lawsuit….even if someone else is picking up the cost of defense. They want to know their trust in me to properly search the property ON THEIR BEHALF was not misplaced.
They do not come to me for insurance……they come for my personal assurance that their transaction is as trouble free as it can be.
Mike's message is refreshing to hear. All too often this industry seems to focus on the minimum requirements, but that is surely nothing to aspire to. We should all strive to provide our clients with the "peace of mind" of which Mike speaks. These days, that is what separates the good agents from the not-so-good.
The underwriters have set the bar pretty low, but we can all manage to do better than that, and we should. The premiums and fees have not gone down (at least not around here), so why should they be getting less service than they once had from every title agent? Just because we can get away with doing less is no excuse to stop giving our full attention to clear title.
I'm looking forward to Mike's future emails. I have spoken to Mike and I believe that he can relate to independent title agents. He sincerely wants to reach out to more of them while he is serving ALTA and I think he found a great way to do it.
You can sign up for Mike's periodic emails at www.MikePryor.net. I encourage you to do so; keep an open mind and listen to what Mike has to say. I think you will enjoy his commentary and it might even remind you that traditional title people can still exist in this industry.
Robert A. Franco
SOURCE OF TITLE