Dec 15 | 2016

Happy Holidays

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Holiday Christmas is my favourite time of year! I love everything about it – decorating the tree, watching the Santa Claus parade and of course, feasting with my family. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, ‘tis the season to spend time with loved ones, creating memories you’ll always cherish. It’s also the perfect time to reflect upon your achievements and plan your goals for the year ahead.

Looking back on our exciting 25th year, we have a lot to be proud of. We were recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada for the second year in a row and Best Workplaces for Women for the first time! We invested in technology and new products like EasyFund and Certified Resale Home. And we improved our existing products like Managed Mortgage Solution based on your feedback.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you for being true partners and friends. We couldn’t have reached our milestone year without you. I look forward to our continued partnership in the new year and the next 25 to come!

I wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday and a prosperous new year!

Michael

Oct 31 | 2016

The FCT 25 Years $2,500 Giveaway Contest

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giveawayThe celebration continues…

Although our year-long 25th anniversary festivities are winding down, the party isn’t quite over yet. And trust me; FCT knows how to throw a party! In fact, we may have saved the best for last with the launch of our exciting new contest open to FCT customers across Canada (excluding Quebec)…

It’s incredible that 25 years have already passed since FCT pioneered the Canadian title insurance industry. So much has happened since — so much to be proud of and so much to commemorate. Because it wouldn’t be a proper celebration without those that have helped us achieve this important milestone, we’re giving you a chance to win one of five cash prizes of $2,500. It’s just another way for us to say “thank you”:  thank you for being there to support us over the last two and half decades with your honest feedback, partnership and support. As I said in an earlier blog Your voice. Our compass, we would not have been able to grow, evolve and succeed without you and we’re very grateful.

We invite you to enter The FCT 25 Years $2,500 Giveaway Contest by visiting FCTcelebrates25.ca. The contest ends November 9th.

I want to wish all those who enter good luck and would like to take this opportunity, once again, to thank you for being part of this amazing year-long event. It’s been so much fun celebrating with you!

We hope you will join us on our journey to our next milestone!

Jul 19 | 2016

We have your back

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IntegrityIntegrity. It’s a loaded word. It’s also one of FCT’s core values that we don’t take lightly. To me, doing business with integrity demonstrates to customers that we say what we mean and we mean what we say.  It says that we stand behind our coverage and are there with the support customers need when they have a claim. It’s about having the reserves in place and the overall financial stability to be able to pay our claims.

In fact, our claims-paying ability is what sets us apart from many of our competitors. Customers rely on the coverage they purchase and we rely on our in-house underwriting experts to always try and find a way to say “yes” to coverage. Otherwise, it’s just lip service and frankly, that’s just not what we’re about.

Our goal at FCT is to protect our diverse customers to the best of our ability. We see a lot of cases where a lender policy has been ordered on a transaction but a homeowner policy is not ordered at the same time. When a title issue arises some time later, a homeowner will call to inquire about their coverage only to learn that they don’t have protection as there is only a lender policy. In most of these situations the homeowners would have received coverage but were not afforded this opportunity due to the simple fact that a homeowner policy was not requested at the time of order.

To prove how committed we are to “having your back,” we’ve added a new member to our existing underwriting team that already boasts some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.

Not only does this individual bring solid experience as legal counsel with insurance litigation firms, a membership in the Barreau du Québec and the Law Society of Upper Canada, but also a perspective that coincides with the FCT ideology — he believes in helping people. Funny story: when he joined our team, he was impressed by our approach to paying claims; describing the difference of finding a way that he could say “yes” to the claim.

I realize I may be slightly biased, but I think we’re the best in the business for a reason: we care and we’re ready, willing and able to help when you need us to. It’s that simple.

Do you have a story to share where FCT came through for you when others said “no”? I’d love to hear it. Please feel free to comment below.

Jun 23 | 2016

Your voice. Our compass.

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16-202 Social Bank_smallHow 25 years of customer input has driven our growth and success

We’ve been very busy here at FCT as of late. After all, it is our 25th anniversary in Canada and there is so much to celebrate, right across the country. I invite you to use the hashtag #FCTcelebrates25 to participate in the fun on social media or to find out more about upcoming festivities.

Although we are beyond proud of this milestone, I’m not alone in recognizing that we didn’t get this far on our own. Without the support of our customers and their direct, honest feedback, we would not have been able to grow and evolve as we have — nor would we have been able to achieve the level of success we’ve enjoyed for over two and a half decades now.

But that’s not to say that the road to success has always been completely smooth. I can assure you there have been plenty of bumps along the way, and that’s okay. I firmly believe that there can be an even greater opportunity to learn from mistakes and challenges than solely from triumphs.

“Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.”
Denis Waitley

Because we realize how important a role our customers play in directing our products and services (and ultimately their own satisfaction), several years ago we decided to create a new position specifically to listen to the collective voice of our customers — a position quite different from anything else we were seeing in the industry at that time: Chief Customer Officer.

Today, this demanding role is held by Colleen Reitzel, who has a mandate to ensure customer input continues to facilitate change and innovation at FCT. It’s about listening to feedback surrounding customer experiences and understanding what customers expect from our products and services.

We want you to know that we’re listening whether it’s a compliment . . . or a challenge.

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”
Woodrow Wilson

So as we continue to celebrate this wonderful milestone, we want to drive home the idea that your voice has always mattered to every employee at FCT and always will, well beyond our next milestone, in fact. If you have ideas, questions or concerns, please reach out to me or Colleen Reitzel directly, or feel free to leave a comment below.

Apr 25 | 2016

FCT celebrates its 25th anniversary in Canada and another Great Place to Work recognition!

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25th anniversaryWow, what an exciting time for us here at FCT! This year we are celebrating a very special milestone for us and for the title insurance industry in Canada. April 19, 2016 (to be exact) was the 25th anniversary of FCT introducing title insurance to the Canadian marketplace.

Over the last quarter century, we’ve gone from a few entrepreneurial thinkers that wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, to over 800+ diverse individuals across Canada dedicated to making transactions simple and secure and committed to supporting your business. We pioneered the industry all those years ago and have been leading the charge ever since with a full spectrum of products and services to serve what has become a very eclectic client base.

FCT’s secret weapon for success

Anyone who’s ever dealt with FCT knows that our “secret weapon” is not much of a secret at all; it’s our people. Those people that work day-in and day-out to make FCT a partner worthy of your business. We want to add value to your work day and in turn, make you feel valued.

As a company, we realized early on that it takes a special type of person to fit in with our motto of Experience Excellence®. To attract and retain today’s top talent we provide an engaging workplace that offers work/life integration and opportunities for growth and fulfillment. And for the second year in a row, I’m so proud to announce that FCT has been recognized by Great Place to Work®, Top 50 Best Workplaces in Canada in the large and multinational category. What a tremendous anniversary gift!

Because our employees say it best, I’d love you to take a minute to check out our newest video: Proudly Celebrating 25 Years of Experience Excellence®, celebrating what makes us, us, as we reflect on our 25 years in business.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you that have helped to make the last 25 years so amazing. I can honestly say that I think the next 25 will be even better!

Do you have an FCT memory to share? Help us celebrate our anniversary by commenting below.

Mar 8 | 2016

FCT is proud to be a fraud prevention month partner

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fraud2016 marks the 12th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month in Canada: an annual education and awareness campaign aimed at helping Canadians recognize, reject and report all forms of fraud. FCT is proud to join forces with the Competition Bureau as one of this year’s fraud prevention forum partners.

As part of this campaign, FCT will be hosting a variety of fraud-related events throughout Canada to help spread the word and educate our partners. This will include our 2016 FCT Seminar Series which offers 10 coast–to-coast accredited presentations focused on real estate fraud. During these seminars we will provide attendees with:

  • Regional-specific content
  • Expert insight to the industry
  • Fraud statistics
  • Real-life residential and commercial claims stories
  • Red flag detection strategies
  • Protection solutions using title insurance

Stay tuned for dates and registration information.

FCT has a powerful weapon against fraud

And her name is Marie Taylor.

As a Certified Fraud Examiner with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Toronto Chapter, Marie is a sought-after subject matter expert specializing in residential title insurance. This association is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education.

In fact, having Marie on the FCT team gives us the enviable edge of being the only title insurer in Canada to have a Certified Fraud Examiner on staff — a highly trained specialist that can spot the red flags and suspicious activity that most would overlook. This means that fraudsters know better than to mess with FCT, and that our customers can rest assured they are in good hands when it comes to protecting themselves and their clients against the consequences of real estate fraud.

Don’t be a victim: arm yourself against fraud with help from FCT

Have you or one of your clients been a victim? Tell us your story by commenting below. Or better yet, share your story in person at one of our upcoming fraud seminars.

Until then, remember when it comes to fraud, trust your instincts . . . and trust FCT to have you covered.

Feb 12 | 2016

Celebrating Family Day – FCT style

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familyFamilies: as imperfect as they are, they teach us about caring and attachment; boundaries and expectations. Families can be our biggest supporters  . . . or they can drive us crazy. Good or bad, they have a huge impact on the people we become.

“Family — like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.”  Unknown

Families come in all shapes and sizes and can include:

  • Nuclear – A social unit made up of two parents and one or more children
  • Single-parent – A parent or guardian who brings up a child or children on their own, without a partner
  • Extended – A group made up of parents, their children and various relatives (usually grandparents), living and functioning together

But there is another category, a category whose importance is often overlooked: the work family. According to one online author, we may not like to admit it, but we all have two families:

  • Our regular family made up of relations and close friends; and
  • Our work family: those we sit beside for 8+ hours a day while earning a living.

According to the article The importance of my work ‘family,’ Marion McGilvary explains why the people with whom we work make such a difference in our lives. She says that with our workplace in common, we share the ups and downs of our profession, the daily intrigue of office life, the drama and dullness of our home lives and so on. She also explains that our colleagues are more than just that body on the other side of the workstation wall; they become part of our personality.

The FCT Family

The FCT Family is a strong one, born from a common goal that propelled us toward incredible growth and success over the past 25 years. Actually, we’re very excited to mark that 25th anniversary this year in April. Over the past quarter century, of course people have come and gone. But every single member of this FCT family has left their mark and somehow helped shape the organization as we know it today. This also includes our customers.

We are proud to say that we truly care about our “extended” family, or more commonly known as our customers. We care, not only in terms of business success, but also in terms of life and health. A recent example that illustrates this perfectly is centred on an employee in our busy claims division. This particular employee was working alongside a lawyer to process a claim when she learned that the lawyer’s client was battling cancer and had her life turned upside down. Without a second thought, this employee sent flowers to the woman on behalf of FCT, along with a message of encouragement. To me this simple gesture speaks volumes and exemplifies the family culture we have built here at FCT. I can’t tell you how proud I am to hear these kinds of stories on a regular basis.

I agree with the Ministry of Labour: you’ve worked very hard and deserve time to spend with the people you love. So this family day, turn off your electronics and tune in to your family and loved ones. Spending quality time together is so important to helping all of us (regardless of our age) feel emotionally, spiritually and mentally balanced.

For those of you that have already celebrated Family Day, I hope it was amazing. For those of us looking forward to it this long weekend, I encourage all of you to take time to rest and have some fun! Your work family will be there for you when you get back.

Tell us how you’re spending Family Day 2016 by commenting below.

Dec 21 | 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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wonderful time_smallMy wish to you this holiday

For those of you that know me, you know how much I love Christmas time. It truly is my favourite time of the year. The sights, smells and sounds . . . all of it creates a feeling unlike anything else. I love everything about this season.

The holidays are also a perfect time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end and the opportunities that loom on the horizon, waiting to be seized. And next year marks a particularly exciting time for all of us at FCT — our 25th anniversary!

The ghost of FCT past

The FCT as we know it today was built on a rich and exciting history: a history of leadership, thinking differently, and above all, tenaciousness. 1991 was a very different real estate environment and our founders met many obstacles head on, knowing that they could (and would) make real estate transactions more efficient, simple and secure.

The ghost of FCT present

It was this drive and ability to work as a team — a team that often resembles a family — that allows us to deliver on our promise of Experience Excellence to this day, each and every day. I feel proud to come to work at such an amazing place day in and day out, and privileged to work with our absolutely wonderful partners.

Because they say the present is a gift, it is also the perfect time to extend a warm thank you to all our partners for their continued role in our company’s success. Without you, none of this would be possible.

The ghost of FCT future

2016 is going to be a thrilling year for all of us at FCT! We are ready to look to our past and learn from both our wins and losses, build on our accomplishments, and create new opportunities for us and for our partners through innovation and thinking differently. We look forward to doing that with your continued support.

With that, I wish you a beautiful, safe and happy holiday surrounded by those you hold most dear. And because this is such a magical time with so much to be thankful for, I will close with a quote from Charles Dickens’ beloved story, A Christmas Carol:

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Merry Christmas to each of you,

Michael

May 12 | 2015

Celebrating philanthropy in our community

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AFPsmallLast year, FCT was honoured to receive the 2014 National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Corporation Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Golden Horseshoe Chapter. Presented at the annual National Philanthropy Day event, this award recognized the many and ongoing contributions that FCT and the FCT Charitable Foundation (FCTC) continue to make to local charities, including those focused on anti-poverty and homelessness assistance, as well as improving the communities where we live and work in general.

Not only were we humbled by this recognition, we were also inspired by the stories from the other honourees who received a National Philanthropy Award. The event and the awards themselves serve as incredible reminders of the power of philanthropy within our community.

This year, I am pleased to announce that FCT is the official sponsor of the Outstanding Corporation Award. We look forward to celebrating the contributions of other corporations within the Golden Horseshoe and attending the 2015 National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon on Friday, November 13.

For more information on the luncheon and to find out how you can nominate an individual, corporation or volunteer for a National Philanthropy Award, you can visit the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Horseshoe website.

Best of luck to all of those applying and thank you — thank you for taking it upon yourself to truly make a difference in our community.

Apr 28 | 2015

The FCT Charitable Foundation announces The Honourable William G. Davis Scholarship

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rsz_1davisw_col_300One of my favourite things to do at FCT is chair our employee-led FCT Charitable Foundation (FCTCF). In addition to raising funds for local charities that provide anti-poverty and homelessness assistance to communities where we operate, FCTCF ‘s mandate also includes providing scholarships to students for post-secondary education.

So it is my pleasure to announce the inaugural year of The Honourable William G. Davis FCTCF Scholarship.

For those outside of Ontario, the Honourable William G. Davis was the 18th Premier of Ontario who distinguished himself in many ways, most notably through his dedication to education by building Ontario’s community college system. From an FCT perspective, he has been the chair of our board since its inception a decade ago, and also served on the board of our American parent — First American —from 1997 to 2013. We, his FCT family, are very thankful for his guidance, insight and wit in leading our growth in Canada.

I am delighted to recognize Mr. Davis’ impressive dedication to FCT and to education in general with the launch of this new scholarship program.

This year FCTCF will offer five (5) $1,000 scholarships to students attending Canadian post-secondary institutions. We are targeting individuals from those communities where FCT employees live and work.

We have also assembled an impressive group to act as our expert scholarship review panel. The group includes a retired principal, teachers representative of several different boards, college instructors and community volunteers who will work together to advise the foundation on the selection of recipients.

scholarship_smallIf you know of a deserving candidate please encourage them to apply online.  Or, if you are a current or a new student at a Canadian post-secondary institution, please read the guidelines and if you qualify, submit your application by June 30, 2015. We will announce the recipients by the end of the summer.

The best of luck to all those applying!