12B — November 8 - 21, 2013 — Financial Digest — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal


L ender ’ s D irectory

By John M. Nikolaus, ALTP, Conestoga Title The role of a title insurance underwriter


a title agent must pass a thor- ough vetting process conducted by the title underwriter. In addition, title underwriters routinely audit their appointed title agents in order to confirm that the agent is conform- ing to industry and company specific standards. Title insur- ance rates and closing fees are generally very similar from company to company. In numerous states, title insur- ance companies are members of Rating Bureaus, thus the title insurance premiums are identical. However, it may be in the consumer’s best interest

to compare rates for title insur- ance and closing services. For example, in Pennsylvania, Con- estoga Title Insurance Co. files its rates with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department inde- pendently and is not a member of the Title Insurance Rating Bureau of Pennsylvania. While Conestoga Title’s rates are similar for transactions up to $1,000,000.00, Conestoga is able to provide the consumer with more competitive pricing over that amount. Commercial property owners potentially can save a considerable amount of money by selecting a title

agent that writes for Conestoga Title. The Lender has a keen aware- ness of the role of the title un- derwriter. The lender desires to make certain that the company standing behind the loan policy is a financially viable and credit worthy company. Lenders often rely on rating companies to investigate the stability of a title underwriter. Demotech, Inc. is viewed by many as the title industry’s leading analyst of title insurance underwrit- ers. Conestoga Title Insurance Co. has been awarded a 2013 Financial Stability Rating® of A Prime, Unsurpassed, by Demotech, Inc. The Title Agent establishes a contractual relationship with one or more underwriters. The title agent may be an at- torney, law firm, independent corporate title entity or a title entity affiliated with a real estate firm, lender or builder. A title agent seeks a relationship with a title underwriter who has a competent staff and is readily accessible when difficult title issues emerge. Direct ac- cess to decision makers is key. Besides a competent staff and financial stability, a title agent seeks an underwriter that will be supportive of their growth and success. For some reason that this author does not com- prehend, some agents select an underwriter who also has direct branch offices and openly competes with the agent for the same business. At Conestoga Title, we look to support our agents. Our growth is driven by the expansion of a quality network of independent agents. Unlike many underwriters, we do not compete with our agents; we provide the resources that they need to enhance their busi- ness operations. In summary, the consumer, lender and title agent should all be concerned with the role of the title insurance underwriter in each transaction. Qualities to be considered when select- ing a title underwriter include, but are not limited to, the underwriter’s selectivity with regard to the appointment of title agents, rate structure, fi- nancial stability, competency of staff, accessibility and general business philosophy. John M. Nikolaus, ALTP, is president of Conestoga Title Insurance Co., a regional title insurance underwriter, with a focus on the OH, PA, MD, DE, NJ, NY and VA markets. n

he title insurance un- derwriter is often ob- scure in a typical real

entity? Following is an outline of why the consumer, lender and title agent all have a vested interest in which underwriter is selected for the transaction. The Consumer typically is referred to a title agent by the lender or Realtor. Often the consumer does not understand that the insurance provided by the owner’s title policy is cover- age provided by an entity other than the title agent. First and foremost, the consumer needs to know that the title agent selected is sophisticated and trustworthy. Prior to gaining an underwriter’s appointment,

estate trans- action. The l ender and t i t l e agent ha v e r o l e s that are visi- ble to the con- sumer. Who is the title underwriter,

John Nikolaus

what is their role and why is it important to each party of the transaction that the title underwriter is a trusted, fi- nancially sound and credible

Easy to do business with since 1973

CONSUMERS: Conestoga only appoints the industry’s highest quality agents and attorneys that will meet or exceed industry standards. In Pennsylvania Conestoga offers more competitive pricing than other underwriters for transactions over 1 million. Conestoga’s appointed agents and attorneys are committed to providing their clients with exceptional service so that your transactions close on time every time. LENDERS: Conestoga has been awarded with a 2013 Financial Stability Rating ® of “A Prime” by Demotech, Inc., the title industry’s leading independent analyst. Conestoga does not compete for business with title agencies by opening branch offices. Conestoga is looking to appoint new independent title agents, affiliated title agencies, law firms and attorneys. If you’re looking to become an appointed agent or attorney for Conestoga give John M. Nikolaus, ALTP, President, Conestoga Title Insurance Co., a call at 1-800-272-3570 or email John at jnikolaus@contitle.com www.contitle.com Conestoga Title Insurance Co. 137 E. King St Lancaster Pa 17602 TITLE AGENCIES & ATTORNEYS: Conestoga provides exceptional underwriter support and service.

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