Welcome to the 2012 edition of Voice of the Title Agent
, a special report from The Title Report
Free for subscribers (download page)
$99 for non-subscribers (purchase page)
For those of you who may have missed out on the report in 2011
, Voice of the Title Agent
is a survey the editorial staff of The Title Report
puts together to take the pulse of our title agent readership. We want to know how business is faring and where it is headed. We want to know your thoughts on the big topics of the day and how you conduct operations.
The response from the survey then fills the pages of this special report. We received votes and comments from more than 300 agents from all across the country — big and small, affiliated and independent, East coast, West coast and everything in between — and they told us what was on their minds. And for some people, that might be an understatement. Let’s just say there might be a bleeped out word here and there in the respondent comments.
That’s what we see as the big value of the Voice of the Title Agent report and why we launched it last year. It’s not really about tabulating the percentages and quantifying official answers because often there isn’t a consensus among title agents. Regions differ; size of operations influences opinions; history in the industry changes perspective. With this report, we try to harness all of those viewpoints. It’s about letting the title agents — the backbone of the title industry — tell us what’s going on out there, unfiltered.
Non-subscribers can head to the October Store to purchase a copy, and subscribers can download the PDF for free, or click the links below to skip the PDF and just read the stories. Enjoy!
Fraud, standards highlight top industry storylines
Fraud is always a big topic in the pages of The Title Report, including fraud crimes, fraud prevention, fraud technology and so on. Those stories draw the most attention because of the money at stake and the parties that are affected. So we asked a few different questions of our title agent readers: Is enough being done in the industry to secure escrow funds? Should ALTA start raising standards? And more.
Title agents optimistic about 2012 business; concerns remain about economy
Analysts in our 2012 Title Insurance Financial Report said the industry might be at bottom because 2011 showed less of an operating loss; better net income; relatively flat premiums and surplus. The national numbers are holding their own and not continuing to head downward. The response from the agent community in our “2012 Voice of the Title Agent” might add some anecdotal evidence to that theory. Read on for a sneak peek at some of the 2012 results.
Industry transparency, closing protection and processes
The American Land Title Association has placed a greater emphasis on transparency this year. With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advocating on behalf of consumers for more transparency in all financial processes, the feeling is now is the time to speak up and start telling the story of the title industry more persistently. See what our title agent respondents had to say about marketing to consumers, closing protection letters and a host of other operational processes.
Have you lost an underwriter? And which underwriters do you like to work with?
Underwriter/agent relations seem to ebb and flow along with the market place, and at the moment, that relationship might be near one of the lower points in this cycle. The last few years, the national underwriters have gone through a process of thinning their agency ranks, so we asked our agents if they’ve lost an underwriter in the past year and what type of underwriter they prefer to work with.
New forms? What year is this again? 2010?
Our questions about regulations focused on the biggest elephant in the room right now — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s creation and adoption of the new settlement forms and disclosure documents and rules. See how closely respondents have been paying attention to the latest form changes and how they anticipate the process playing out.