Reducing The High Cost of Title Insurance
In 2009, with the goal of reducing the unreasonably high cost of title insurance in New York, Houlihan Lawrence acquired a respected local title agency with an experienced operating team and branded the new company as Thoroughbred Title Services.
After extensive due diligence, Thoroughbred partnered with EnTitle Insurance Company, an underwriter that shared our commitment to helping consumers save on title insurance.
We knew this was a bold move in the staid world of title insurance. We did not know that we would be taking on an entrenched web of title industry participants determined to maintain a status quo that denies consumers the right to shop around for title services and ultimately, to choose an insurance company that provides the best value for their needs. The more progress we make, the more desperate the tactics have become.
The Only Agency in The State Offering Reduced Rate
EnTitle made quite the splash in the New York title insurance industry in mid-2010 by filing a 10% reduced premium rate with the New York State Insurance Department. Thoroughbred Title Services is the only agency in the State currently offering this reduced rate. All other title companies in New York file their rates using a voluntary organization called TIRSA that ensures they will all have identical premiums. Some attorneys are under the mistaken impression that rates are set by statute and that title companies must charge the same rate. This is not the case. The other title companies choose to all file the same rate through TIRSA. EnTitle’s 10% lower rates were filed separate from TIRSA and approved by the New York State Insurance Department for the benefit of consumers. Period.
Misinformation Being Spread
Thoroughbred Title and its network of attorney agents, as exclusive New York agents of EnTitle, have been under constant attack since the 10% reduced rate was filed. Rather than try to compete on price by also filing a reduced premium rate, our competitors (who have been losing business to us) have orchestrated a smear campaign against Thoroughbred and EnTitle by calling into question EnTitle's financial stability and spreading rumors about the legality or ethicality of our business model. The fact that these comments have been made in violation of New York Insurance Law section 2604 which prohibits derogatory statements regarding the financial condition of an insurance company is mind boggling. The fact that some attorneys are also spreading these rumors is surprising and disappointing, to say the least.
These are just some examples of the misinformation and “dirty tricks” that have been making their way through the real estate, mortgage and title industries. We are not and will not be party to it, and we are definitely not going to back down because everything we’ve created is above board, honest and executed based on our belief that people pay too much for title insurance.
Here are the facts:
- Thoroughbred Title Services and its network of attorney agents are fully compliant with all laws and regulations. A great deal of research was done to ensure that the attorney agent model was compliant under RESPA (Federal law), New York insurance laws and New York State Bar Association ethics rules before Thoroughbred Title was launched.
- EnTitle Insurance Company is rated A' (Unsurpassed) by the leading rating agency of the title insurance industry. It has more assets today than at any time in its 33-year history and is enjoying record volume in this economy. In sum, EnTitle Insurance Company is over-capitalized relative to its outstanding risk and has superior management and Board of Directors (including a 12-year Insurance Commissioner).
- Despite the anti-competitive tactics being used to dissuade consumers and attorneys from taking advantage of the potential savings, Thoroughbred Title Services customers have saved more than $500,000 in title insurance premiums since the new rates were approved. This program and the ensuing savings are not and have never been limited to Houlihan Lawrence clients. In fact, nearly half of Thoroughbred’s customers were represented by non-Houlihan Lawrence Realtors in their home purchase.
Given all that has occurred in real estate over the past few years, this represents a small ray of sunshine that we are proud to have created and remain committed to continuing on behalf of New York home buyers.
You Are Empowered To Choose
As a home buyer, you are empowered to choose your own title company. Exercise your right to choose. Don’t rely on what you hear from the traditional title companies or their representatives. Do your homework. Ask questions.
Think of what you could do with a few hundred (or thousand) extra dollars. We did, and we’re glad we have.