A surprising number of independent title agencies nationwide have been asked or pressured to insure over items they normally would not insure, according to the recently released Independent Title Agent Survey 2004. Sponsored by The Title Report, a news source in the land title industry, and produced by October Studies, the comprehensive study explores the decision-making of today's independent title agents, as well as their business practices, relationships, technology needs and usages. Co-sponsored by RealAlliance, Independent Title Agent Survey 2004 maps out key trends among independent title agents and should be indispensable for any business working with them.
There are several surprises among the final results:
†Fifty-seven percent of those agents surveyed indicated that they have been asked or pressured by customers to insure over items they usually would not.
†Asked how often they were pressured, 12 percent responded “very often,” while another 23 percent said “sometimes.”
†Thirty-three percent of the independent agencies surveyed view their primary underwriters as competition.
“While the number is not staggering, it is still a little disappointing to see that more than half of the agencies surveyed have felt or are feeling pressure to insure over items they usually would not,” said Steve Massien, project manager for the study.
More than 400 independent title agents nationwide responded to a comprehensive list of questions about the way they conduct business, day-to-day challenges they face and foreseeable risks and opportunities in their immediate business futures.
With regulatory and market changes transforming the way real estate is transferred, as well as the way people obtain mortgages, there is an increasing need to understand the role played by the title agent. Yet, despite their role in the center of every transaction, few outside the industry understand the true scope of the independent agent's operations.
“Very little research has ever been done about the title agent,” said Massien. “Many people want to do business with them, and just as many are directly affected by what they do. But there's never been a window into how they conduct business or to explore how they feel about the changes that are affecting them today,” he said.
Survey areas were segmented by U.S. Census regions, with a selected number of agents in each region randomly selected for telephonic interviews. The survey questions were developed jointly by October Research editors and The Research Investment Company, a Cleveland-based organization that conducted the survey.
The Independent Title Agent Survey 2004 has been published in three separate volumes:
Volume I: Title Technology 2004, Volume II: Title Business Relationships 2004 and Volume III: Large Agency Perspectives. Each volume also includes statistics, detailed charts and analyses.
For more information, visit www.octoberresearch.com.