Equity National has introduced Equity ISP (Insured Settlement Protection), an insurance product protecting the insured mortgage lender against closing fraud, defalcation and closing instruction violations. Developed for Equity National by The Prieston Group, the policy is insured through Lloyd’s of London and affords mortgage lenders protection above and beyond that provided by the traditional closing protection letter (CPL). The insurance product is the first of its kind in the mortgage industry.
According to Jim O’Donnell, president of Equity National, lenders working with Equity National will be afforded more extensive protection against defalcation and fraud than they receive when covered only by the traditional CPL. He notes that defalcation and theft claims, as well as closing instruction violations, are often inadequately covered by CPLs. Equity ISP, for example, will cover claims up to three years from the date of closing. Most CPLs, in contrast, may only be invoked within 30 to 180 days and are non-assignable. O’Donnell asserts that many closing instruction violations can take years, rather than days, to discover—long after the CPL has lapsed. Similarly, while many defalcation or fraud claims are limited by the standard CPL to “lien-related matters,” Equity ISP goes much further.
“We partnered with The Prieston Group on this after seeing a number of lenders experience very real damage where they had mistakenly believed the CPL would protect them,” said O’Donnell. “Right now, lenders are increasing their expectations of closing agents while the title industry is simultaneously cutting back on what it will cover. This is the only product out there right now which can address the shortcomings of the CPL to the advantage of lenders. The coverage also follows the loan and is assignable.”
Arthur Prieston, Chairman of The Prieston Group, makes it clear that this product is not for everyone. “We are extremely cautious about who we do business with,” he said. “This product is designed to address a much needed protection that has been missing in the industry. Thus, we demanded a partner in the settlement services industry which uses best practices, has the highest quality of personnel and, quite simply, does business the right way. Equity National immediately stood out as that partner.”