title insurance: A follow up to Lenn's post - 02/08/08 03:58 AM
A special thank you to Lenn Harley for writing a stellar post about the offshoring of title searches. Check out Lenn's diagram. I love it! Thanks are also due to all of you who commented and showed concern. Offshored title searches are a particularly complicated matter that have become something of a personal cause for me and a rapidly growing number of others. I've prepared a slide presentation highlighting the spirit of Lenn's post for Title-opoly and decided to give friends on Active Rain a sneak preview. Following Jeff's advise, I'm experimenting with eyejot and hope to embed a meaningful message … (13 comments)

title insurance: Who's Watching the Watchers? - 01/16/08 04:20 AM
Last week, I suggested that real estate agents check up on title companies after closing to make sure that mortgages were paid off.  Why?  Title company executives have been known to "help themselves" to money held in escrow, particularly when business is bad. See: Is Your Title Company Misbehaving? Most people don't realize that the title industry is basically unregulated in most states.   Unregulated as well, are the massive escrow accounts administered by the title companies.  A preliminary federal study released in 2006 revealed a laundry list of startling truths about a misunderstood industry and its primary product, title insurance.  Most … (12 comments)

title insurance: Is Your Title Company Misbehaving? - 01/09/08 11:02 AM
Have you ever wondered about the integrity, or competency, of a title company after leaving the table?  To say that an enormous amount of money is blindly entrusted for proper dispersement is a serious understatement.  On a monthly basis, we could be talking about tens of millions of dollars gushing through the escrow accounts of average sized title companies.  Who's keeping track of all the money?  You'd be surprised to know the answer.A question recently asked on Mortgage101.com, click here to read, describes the consequences of a title company screwup.  A week after closing, a buyer was informed that his loan … (54 comments)

title insurance: Currents of Change: Title Industry Blogs - 12/02/07 03:14 AM
The mere mention of the title industry in the caption of this post dooms it to inevitable ambiguity obscurity.  The topic, perceived as draconian, clearly lacks sex-appeal.  As a title company owner, I was often dismayed by the audacious remarks of real estate agents who thought they knew my job better than I did. Trust me, they didn't.  Only those who have worked in the notoriously "behind the scenes" industry could begin to comprehend the risk and transactional complexities faced daily by title professionals in 2007. It was one year ago today that I first commented on Diane Cipa's edgy and … (50 comments)

title insurance: Digital Sweatshops - 08/08/07 11:49 AM
I realize that I've been pontificating quite a bit  recently about the dangers of "offshoring" title work to India.  For those of you who are tired of my rant, I apolagize in advance.  It's just that I'm an "old school" title abstractor and title examiner.  I know that title searches conducted overseas are a waste of bandwidth and eventually we'll be inundated with senseless litigation that could have, should have, been avoided. 
Earlier today, I mailed the following letter to United States Senator Barbara Mikulski.  Tomorrow the same letter is being sent to all other federally elected officials from the state … (11 comments)

title insurance: Food for Thought on a Sunday Afternoon - 08/06/07 04:05 PM
I've written a couple of posts recently about the nasty business of "offshoring" skilled domestic jobs to points around the globe.  The comment threads on each clearly portrayed a sense of interest and concern.  One reader surmised, at first, that I might be a "liberal nut job."  He changed his mind, but I have to add that I've never been called liberal before. What do you think?  Another reader asked "should patriotism be the only reason to hire local labor?"  Face it, each person's perspective is unique and based on experiences.  We're entitled to our own opinions.  From an economic perspective, … (48 comments)

title insurance: Dissent Is Our Duty! - 08/04/07 04:06 AM
This morning, I saw a bumper sticker that read "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."  It struck a chord with me and was an appropriate message at the end of a troublesome week.   I attended high school during the 70's when healthy dissent was considered a personal and civic obligation.  Those of you who are roughly my age, I'm 46 years old, will understand this post.  The Franciscan Friars at Archbishop Curley, where I attended high school, instilled in their students a healthy dose of skepticism and a certain distrust of authority.  We were taught to think for ourselves … (65 comments)

title insurance: The Title Industry: A Sad, Horrible Rumor Confirmed! - 07/29/07 10:03 AM
I first heard of a direct connection between the American title industry and the vast labor supply in India a couple of years ago. A vice president for Stewart Title mentioned, in passing, that title insurers were using cheap Indian labor to answer customer service questions.  Consumers calling (1-800 #)'s from this country have no way of knowing that the phone is being answered in Bangalore, Delhi, Nagpur, or Pune.  These are just a few of the Indian cities, experiencing unparralleled economic growth, contributing to the country's emergence as an economic powerhouse.This post is not about India or it's economy.  It's … (51 comments)

title insurance: The American Title Insurance Industry - 07/16/07 10:39 AM
A book, soon to be released, examines the misdirected focus of the title industry in matters of public policy.  Based on four years of research by Professors Joseph and David Eaton, "The American Title Insurance Industry" attempts to expose the motives of an industry that intentionally conceals itself and it's products from public scrutiny.  The new release couldn't arrive at a worse time for the title insurers providing a misunderstood promise of the American dream. The Worst Possible Timing The title industry once possessed a "moral high-ground" that has eroded scandalously over the past decade.  Last November, Forbes Magazine published an … (25 comments)

title insurance: When a Title Search isn't a Title Search - 01/14/07 10:38 PM
Recently, there's been a couple of posts on AR dealing with title insurance.   The title abstract (land records search) serves as the underpinning of every title policy and title opionion.  I've taken the time to compile a quick reference guide that should prove helpful to realtors and consumers alike.  It has no value in the states of California and Texas where title plants are relied upon, but it's probably very accurate for most other states.  The art of title abstracting has denegraded to alarming lows.  In the past, a (60) year search was the standard.  Eventually, a (40) year search became the new normal … (8 comments)

title insurance: Do you have an Owner's Title Policy? - 01/10/07 01:49 AM
Do you have an owner's title policy?  It's a question I often ask groups of title executives to see their response.  Usually theres some chuckling and a little rustling in the seats.  But, its a question thats touchy and legitimate at the same time.  Doesn't everybody buy title insurance?  Isn't it as American as apple pie and the NFL?  Well, apparently not!
Problem No. 1:  A title policy isn't really an insurance policy; it's technically an indemnity contract.  There's a world of difference between the two.  Under the terms of a title policy, a policyholder must first suffer a financial loss before being reimbursed by the insurer.  The amount of … (20 comments)

title insurance: Forbes Magazine takes on the Title Industry - 01/06/07 09:17 PM
In November, 2006 Forbes Magazine ran Scott Woolley's negative indictment of the title industry, "Inside America's Richest Insurance Racket".   Referring at different times to research, interviews and the findings of an 10 month investigation conducted by the Washington state insurance commissioner, Mr. Woolley contends that the title industry has enriched itself for decades and "bilked home buyers out of billions of dollars."   Additionally, it's Mr. Woolley's opinion that automated land records will eliminate the need for title insurance and the title profession.  I recommend that all of you take the time to go on-line to read the article.  It's offered free of charge.   The … (9 comments)

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Ed Rybczynski

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