Apr 24 | 2017

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with FCT!

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National Volunteer WeekOur employees contribute their passion, time and money to dozens of local charities, food banks, youth and women’s organizations every year. This year, we’re stepping things up and celebrating National Volunteer Week (NVW) with our employees and with you! Share your commitment to volunteering with us by posting your stories and photos on social media. We will be doing the same all week!

At FCT, we’re invested in the communities where we live and work, and support organizations that are focused on alleviating poverty and homelessness. We are actively involved in fundraising and volunteer activities within our local communities—supporting organizations like Habitat for Humanity Canada, Red Cross Disaster Relief and Food For Life.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see how our volunteers are helping out in the community!

What is National Volunteer Week?

National Volunteer Week is a North American initiative that has been running in Canada since 1943. NVW promotes and appreciates volunteerism in the community.

 How is FCT Celebrating National Volunteer Week?

Our FCT National Volunteer Team is running an employee fundraising event to help support our chosen charities across Canada and provide volunteer opportunities with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Halton Women’s Place and Food4Kids for employees throughout the week.

Volunteering in the Community

Last year, our employees volunteered 1,476 hours serving communities across Canada. One of the many memorable endeavors included participation in an initiative led by Home Suite Hope, a charity that helps low income single-parent families go from crisis to stability by breaking the cycle of poverty. They work with community partners like FCT to raise funds and purchase gifts, bringing joy to families in need. Teams of employees selected one family each and purchased gifts from the wish lists they provided. Among the 92 gifts purchased were new clothing, toys, and home supplies. It was a wonderful opportunity to help those in need and give them a reason to celebrate.

Paul McLeish, who leads our volunteer team says, “Being actively involved and seeing first-hand the struggles that exists in our communities is an extremely emotional and humbling experience. As much as I try to donate to causes, I find nothing is more rewarding then lending a helping hand to someone in need.”

Giving through the FCT Charitable Foundation

In 2012, the FCT Charitable Foundation (FCTCF) was created to aid FCT in supporting local organizations. The FCTCF is an employee-driven, non-profit registered charity and our mission is to support charitable organizations that help alleviate poverty and homelessness. In addition to volunteering and community giving, the foundation also supports post-secondary education by awarding scholarships to students attending post-secondary institutions in Canada.

Apr 5 | 2017

Introducing a Better Way to Sell Homes

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17-119_SM_CRH_BlogPost_03-17_2XCertified Resale Home launches in Ontario

Owning a home is the largest financial commitment most Canadians will make, so it’s understandable that both the buyer and the seller will approach a transaction with caution. In an effort to alleviate some of the stress involved, FCT partnered with AmeriSpec Inspection Services to create Certified Resale Home (CRH).

CRH is a simple, cost-effective way to differentiate your listing in the market and reduce anxiety for the seller and the buyer. It includes a pre-listing home inspection combined with a $20,000 18-month warranty* on key components of the home, such as the cooling and heating systems, roof and foundation. The inspection provides an impartial, honest and expert assessment of the home backed by a warranty on items that are considered ‘blind spots’ for a home inspector.

After spending a number of years testing the waters and gathering key customer feedback, we are proud to launch Certified Resale Home throughout Ontario. This service leverages FCT’s core competencies of process optimization, risk management and customer experience.

In today’s hot market, when buyers are going in with no conditions, you might be wondering why this product is even relevant.

Here’s how it helps all parties:

Realtors:

  • Provides a superior full-service listing experience
  • Enhances client satisfaction and generates referrals
  • Offers a proactive approach to handling issues for the client
  • Closes listings faster

Sellers:

  • Gets the best possible offers faster
  • Provides detailed information on the home before listing to avoid surprises that can kill the deal
  • Differentiates the property to make it stand out
  • Removes the probability of a condition of sale

Buyers:

  • Reduces anxiety and promotes a cleaner offer
  • Reduces the “Buyer Beware” mentality
  • Builds trust by offering information through two leading brands – FCT and AmeriSpec Inspection Services
  • Optimized for a multiple offer scenario

For more information on our brand new offering, visit thecertifiedresalehome.ca

*Assumes standard inspection and warranty coverage. Optional swimming pool equipment coverage is an additional $30; optional septic tank system coverage is an additional $20. The warranty commences the day of the inspection, applies during the listing and transfers automatically to the buyer on closing.

Warranty Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited
® Registered Trademark of AmeriSpec Inspection Services.

Mar 20 | 2017

Your Feedback Counts

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See what improvements you’ve inspired at FCT17-025_Health_Check_Blog_Box_03-17_v1

Tell us what you love about working with FCT, and what you don’t.  Our online customer survey for legal professionals runs twice a year; the next survey invitation will arrive in your inbox soon!

Your feedback helps us identify key areas where improvement is necessary, so that we can implement solutions to make your FCT experience that much better. Recent survey results have inspired various process improvements such as:

  • Reduced call transfer wait times
    When you’re in the middle of placing an order and have a question for the underwriter, you can now be placed on a three-way call to get your question answered and then continue with your order.
  • More efficient ordering process
    We’ve improved how you order over the phone by structuring the order forms to be consistent with the sequence of questions from the underwriter. This helps you prepare for the call and organize your files accordingly, ensuring a fast and smooth experience. You even have the option to order by email to further speed up the process.
  • Faster issue resolution
    When you provide feedback in the survey and indicate that you would like to discuss it further, our team will reach out. This has helped deals that appeared to be in jeopardy close on time, as we believe it’s important to action survey feedback quickly.

While FCT is a driving force for change and innovation in the real estate landscape, the one thing that hasn’t changed in 25+ years is our unwavering focus on you – our customers. We consistently strive to improve our products and services so they work better for you. One of the ways we identify how to improve is through our customer surveys.

If there are any improvements you’d like to see at FCT, be sure to complete the survey!

If you want to share your feedback directly, you can contact our Chief Customer Officer, Colleen Reitzel at creitzel@fct.ca or 888.771.0065 x 763455.

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!

Sep 21 | 2016

In praise of introverts: leadership of a different stripe

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introvertIt’s always the quiet ones.

The bright, charismatic folks tend to dominate the dinner parties and the brainstorming sessions and, well, most of the media we’re exposed to. But consider this: if every team was comprised of only extroverts, sucking up all that energy in the room, all the time, who would ever be heard amidst all the white noise?

It’s not harsh to suggest active listening was practically invented for extroverts; some extroverts seem so keen to continually move on to the next big thing…as long as it’s their big thing. Worse still, the introvert stereotype holds that introverts are shy, distant and a bit cool, in the not-so-great sense of cool: difficult to reach and not excited about much.

But this is more than just about having a voice at a business meeting table. Introverts’ ability to sit with the data and let it percolate is invaluable: innovative options aren’t always straight from the hip; the truly inventive often isn’t a blinding insight but rather stems from simply sitting with an idea. As the wonderful American painter Georgia O’Keeffe observed, “To see takes time.”

In fact, some of the most charismatic people are introverts — especially in the sense that introverts make canny change agents. They’re natively good one-on-one, good at mobilizing support and activating a win, one vote at a time, on the “down-low.” Due diligence? Give me an introvert every time, hands down.

The bump, of course, is that introverts risk getting lost in the sauce; many senior management people aren’t necessarily great at polling everyone’s opinion. The excuse? There’s no time. What this boils down to is a failure of inclusivity, which assumes that because someone isn’t speaking they have nothing to say.

This is a kind of intellectual blindness, perhaps even arrogance, because truly sustainable solutions are by their very nature inclusive.

Introverts tend to be far more inclusive, no small skill for building a power base. Simply vetting an idea across a team, in private, quietly, is often a devastatingly effective means of building consensus. Tact is a woefully underestimated quality and introverts tend to have tact and in spades.

All that to say, no one is 100% extrovert nor ever 100% introvert. Each of us is a hybrid, living our  emotional lives on the introvert/extrovert continuum, expressing ourselves as we reckon the context allows. We are—all of us—living our own secret inner lives, each in our own way. The action-addicted extrovert who couldn’t use the insights of an introvert to identify the opportunity right before him or her hasn’t yet been born.

The emotional intelligence and emotional “peripheral vision” of an introvert has more than once saved an extrovert’s bacon.

For more, catch Susan Cain’s wonderful TED talk, The Power of Introverts, which hinges on the beautiful complementary notion of an introvert/extrovert yin/yang. It’s well worth a listen, as is her Google speak on “Quiet,” her bestselling book on (and for) introverts.

How would you classify your organization’s approach to innovation? Let us know how your team strikes a balance between introvert and extrovert qualities by commenting below.

Sep 14 | 2016

How Pat Chetcuti helped write the story of Canada’s title insurance industry

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Pat ChecutiDetermined is a good way to describe FCT’s current president and former COO, Patrick Chetcuti, who just happens to be the focus of one of the latest editions of the EXPERT/ease feature: Family comes first.

Since joining FCT in 1992, Pat’s people-first leadership style has been instrumental in launching title insurance in Canada and leading the evolution of the FCT we know today. A CAAMP Mortgage Hall of Famer, Pat’s passion for providing a customer and employee experience that exceeds expectations is what has set FCT apart as both an employer and a service provider.

Pat’s inspirational story which highlights the importance of setting precedents rather than looking back at them, is a tale generations in the making, and proof positive that with an undeterred spirit that makes the most of connections — both family and business — anything is possible.

Do you know another trailblazer thinking differently in the industry today? If so, tell us a bit of their story by commenting below.

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.

May 4 | 2016

The FCT Charitable Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Program is now accepting applications

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Apply now for your chance at one of five $1,000 scholarshipscholarships

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

Now in its second year, The Honourable William G. Davis Scholarship is currently accepting applications. An initiative of the FCT Charitable Foundation, this scholarship was launched in April of 2015 as another way for FCT to help support students in our communities with financial assistance as they take on post-secondary education (and changing the world!).

Who is eligible?

Any student who is current enrolled in or accepted to a post-secondary Canadian educational institution can apply.

How to apply

Those students interested are asked to complete an online application form before June 30, 2016, which includes a short essay detailing why the applicant is most deserving. Details of community and volunteer involvement as well as extra-curricular activities are also required. The five chosen recipients will be contacted in August 2016.

To learn more about this wonderful opportunity visit FCT.ca. Best of luck!