Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Title Wizard? Not Yet!

I have to admit it took me a week or so to figure out how to approach this topic. If you didn't hear last week the Dept of Insurance in California in conjunction with The California Land Title Association launched a website aimed at consumers called TitleWizard. The site is in response to the DOI asserting that there is no competition in our industry and the way we do market our products is through an elaborate number of kick backs to builders, brokers and lenders. More on that topic on a future post. The new website will allow the general public to get a quick quote on a transaction they are doing. Essentially the site is pretty user friendly and lets a seller or agent or even a lender get a quick quote on title insurance. There are a few challenges that I think the site is going to face. First off, the information the quotes are being generated from needs to be accurate. My understanding is that each title ins. co. is responsible for putting in their own rates. Believe me, there is going to be a learning curve. I have noticed with my own company that some of the rates are not currently quoted correctly. Secondly if you are doing business in a county like Santa Barbara where the title co. not only produces the title insurance but the escrow service is done as well, a quote on escrow fees would be very important. The escrow fees are not posted on the site yet and that will probably take a bit of time. The last and probably not least of all these challenges is that if someone picks a company specifically because of the lower price and that company does not provide the services they were asked to provide I think the consumer is going to be faced with time, effort and possibly money to correct issues caused by a company that was chosen specifically because they were the low cost provider. I will continue to argue that the competition in my industry is based on service. This service by the professionals involved in my industry shouldn't be overlooked because of a few dollars. With respects to the protection someone is getting for our service the one time fee they are having to pay is a bargain. It will be interesting to see what complaints the Department of Insurance may get because they essentially recommended the low cost provider to someone that used the site to choose their Title Co. See You In Escrow!

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