Jul 14 | 2017

Why Jack Smith* was glad he had E&O Extra® with Protection+

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E&O InsuranceWhen Jack’s clients were slapped with a $47,000 development charge, they were astounded. Jack made an honest mistake in failing to advise them about this charge and that there was no cap on it.

To maintain their reputation and keep their clients happy, the law firm was able to negotiate with the builder to reduce it to $10,000. Looking at a reasonable industry standard, the purchaser of a new home could expect to pay $7,500 in development charges so the firm covered $2,500 from their own pocket and the clients paid the remaining amount.

Luckily for Jack, he was protected by his E&O Extra** with Protection+ insurance. He submitted a claim to FCT and was reimbursed for the $2,500 paid to smooth things over with the client.

If you were in a similar situation, would you have been protected?

FCT understands that mistakes happen. We offer insurance products to complement your mandatory E&O insurance. We provide reimbursement for losses resulting from claims against your mandatory E&O insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions. This includes your standard deductible payment and any increase in premium***.

For additional coverage, like Jack’s, you can add Protection+ to your E&O Extra policy for a minimal fee.  It offers you the ability to settle smaller claims directly with your client and avoid going through your mandatory E&O coverage. It covers up to $10,000 per policy year or a maximum of three claims (whichever comes first).

Contact us to learn the different ways we can protect you and your reputation.

 

*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.
** E&O Extra does not cover dishonest, fraudulent or criminal acts of omissions.
*** Standard deductibles, premiums and coverage amounts vary by region.
Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy.
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.

Jun 4 | 2014

Duty to defend. Another customer care tool for your clients

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customer care

In my last blog posting I touched on how title insurance brings coverage solutions and/or efficiencies to commercial transactions depending on how lawyers/notaries decide to use it. In this post I will discuss how it can also be a great customer care and retention tool. With title insurance you have the ability to turn a potentially stressful situation into a positive experience for your customers specifically when an issue arises post-closing and the duty to defend provision is triggered.

What is this duty to defend?
Duty to defend essentially means that if anyone challenges or raises an issue that is covered under the policy, it is then the title insurer’s responsibility to pay all the legal costs and expenses to defend the insured’s interest in the land. The duty to defend is included in both residential and commercial policies, but for the purposes of this blog I will speak to its application to commercial properties.

How does it work?
You can be the best commercial real estate lawyer or notary on earth and do everything possible to ensure your client’s real estate purchase is a secure investment, but issues can still come up — issues that are out of your control that can leave you with an unhappy client.

The issue
The most common covered title risk that triggers the duty to defend is when third parties claim interest in the insured’s land. In most instances the third party has a valid claim; however, often claims are completely invalid. Some of the most common scenarios are:

The valid third-party claim:
• The Land Registrar may have neglected to bring forward an interest on conversion into the Land Titles system (e.g.an old easement) or an instrument is registered on the wrong parcel.
• The surveyor made an error on the location of the boundaries and it turns out the neighbour actually owns some of the insured’s property.

The invalid claim:
• This tends to happen when there is an intentionally difficult or opportunistic neighbour involved. There is clearly no issue or error at all, however a neighbour believes he/she has a right to the insured’s land. Often times this individual is motivated by another matter altogether and the end goal is to pressure the insured into offering a concession.This is probably the most prevalent invalid claim issue and definitely the most frustrating to deal with as an owner or as a lawyer/notary.

Regardless of whether the claim is valid or not,nothing can be done as a legal professional to avoid the issue. Furthermore, the unhappy client may be pointing the finger at his or her legal counsel in frustration. What happens next is dictated by whether or not the client has a title insurance policy in place.

The resolution without title insurance
Without title insurance the property owner’s lawyer or notary would explain the issue, the next steps and then quote the legal costs and expenses required to try and resolve the dispute/issue (even if it is a bogus claim!). Upon resolution, not only would the client be out legal expenses, but could be stuck with a diminution in value if the resolution is unfavorable.

The resolution with title insurance
With title insurance in place, lawyers and notaries have the ability to explain the issue to the client and let the client know that since the claim relates to a covered title risk, all legal fees and related costs are covered under the policy. At this point, we would retain a lawyer to defend the insured’s interest in the land, often providing an option to the existing lawyer/notary to continue on with the file to ensure the client is handled with the best possible care without additional cost.

It’s important to remember that FCT’s duty to defend takes effect whether the third-party claim is valid or not, as long as it relates to a covered risk. Also, there is no maximum dollar amount capping these costs and invoking this benefit does not reduce the amount of insurance. A significant portion of our claims dollars spent on commercial policies falls under our duty to defend coverage and many commercial legal professionals have seen firsthand how valuable this tool can be.

Has the duty to defend helped you provide a great customer experience? Let us know by commenting below or contacting us at FCTblog@fct.ca.

Nov 5 | 2013

Financial literacy month – Test your title insurance knowledge

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In Michael’s last blog he spoke about the need to create informed consumers knowledgeable about title insurance. So in the spirit of being an “informed consumers” its time to test your knowledge of title insurance basics. Check your answers below.

1. A title insurance policy deals only with:

            a) the value of the property.

            b) matters which affect the title of the property.

            c) matters that deal with renovations to a property.

2. Title insurance policies require:

 a)  an annual premium.

            b) a monthly premium.

            c) one payment at closing time.

 3. When does the purchaser pay the premiums of title insurance?

           a)  when the lawyer asks for it.

           b) once a year on the closing date.

            c) once, upon closing.

            d) no later than 1 month after closing.

4. True or False? – There is no deductible on a title insurance policy claim.

5. Can title insurance policies be transferred?

            a)      no, never.

            b)      yes, if the insurance allows it to happen.

            c)      yes, when a homeowner writes to the insurance company indicating his or her wishes.

            d)      yes, in the event of a homeowner’s death and according to the provisions in his or her will.

6. Which one of these potential problems does title insurance protect against?

            a)      any fraud or forgery in the chain of title.

            b)      loud neighbours.

            c)     items that were listed in the offer but then taken away.

            d)     bad wiring.

 7. What will trigger a title insurance claim?

           a)     The deck on your new home has become unstable and wobbly and in need of repair.

           b)     You receive a work order from the municipality to remove the deck that you built without a permit.

           c)    You receive a municipal work order to remove the deck that the previous owners built without a permit.

 

Answers: 1) b,  2) c,  3) c,  4) True,  5) d,  6) a,  7) c)

Score:

1-3 correct – Please ask questions on this Blog

4-6 correct – Thanks for reading the FCT Blog!

All correct- Hey do you work here?

Nov 1 | 2013

Financial Literacy Month – The need for informed consumers

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—November is financial literacy month and since the financial crisis there has been a great effort on the part of governments, financial institutions and financial services professionals to increase the financial knowledge of Canadians.  Financial literacy is also one of the main reasons I am committed to The FCT Blog – to increase understanding of title insurance and answer product questions.

 I believe that an informed consumer is the fundamental pillar of financial literacy and subsequently consumer protection.  But how does the average homebuyer hear about the benefits of title insurance? Normally through their lawyer or notary.  But across Canada there are varying requirements on lawyers to provide information about title insurance. In Ontario, lawyers are required by the Law Society to discuss all options to protect their title – a survey with a legal opinion or title insurance. When given this option guess what? According to the Law Society over 90% of consumers choose title insurance in Ontario on their lawyer’s recommendation. I actually think that it is closer to 100% but we can discuss that another time.

 In other provinces many lawyers take it upon themselves to ensure that their clients are informed about title insurance. Consumers need information about the products that will protect and benefit them in order to make an informed choice. As discussed in previous blogs title insurance can protect consumers from many issues where there is no or limited coverage provided elsewhere. I and FCT strongly support the policy that all Canadian homebuyers be made aware of products like title insurance that can benefit them in the purchase of a home.

 So in the mean time, ask your lawyer or notary about title insurance as an option. Or ask me -as always we are happy to help answer any questions in this regard.

Oct 15 | 2013

A bit about me and my vision for FCT

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Michael LeBlanc, LLBRecently in August, I was honoured to become FCT’s second CEO in its 20+ year history. I owe a debt of gratitude to all FCT employees whose contributions have made FCT the industry leader it is today. In my first blog, I would like to introduce myself and give you a glimpse of where I see FCT going in the future.

I have been working with FCT for almost 20 years starting as their Atlantic Regional Director in 1994. Here is the link to my corporate bio if you want all the details.  At the time I was practicing law in Nova Scotia and focusing primarily on litigation. As a litigator like an insurer, I had to make judgements about “acceptable” risks- which strategy would minimize the risk for my clients? What were risks that my clients wanted to avoid? And did this risk profile offer any opportunities?

These questions are also relevant to how an insurance company approaches risks. As the pioneer and leader in the Canadian title insurance industry, FCT changed the way homes are bought, sold and mortgaged by introducing a third party risk taker -the title insurer- into these transactions. For over twenty years FCT has been reducing the risk in real estate transactions through innovative products and services  for lenders, legal professionals, insurers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and homeowners like our title insurance, valuation insurance, and indemnity insurance products. We also have a relatively new division providing leading edge solutions reducing the risks in debt and default management.

While I intend to build on this legacy of innovation and risk management, I also know that the changes in the real estate and financial landscape from new market entrants, new technologies, government regulations, are changing the risks in real estate and financial transactions and therefore offering new opportunities. FCT will continue to introduce new solutions to reduce financial risks that build on our core commitment to our customers and ensure that they will “experience excellence.”

We intend this blog to be a gathering point for all professionals (and consumers) involved in the real estate and financial marketplace to discuss risks in Canadian real estate and financial transactions. I say “we” because FCT is a company built on the expertise and excellence from every one of our employees. Through this blog you will meet FCT’s product leaders and experts who will be able to respond to your questions about our products, services and solutions.

As part of FCT’s culture we have a standard saying at the end of a presentation – so I will conclude with it here because it is now your turn – “What questions do you have?”