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Graphic welcoming Rebecca Wood and Theresa Kane-Mackenzie

New Hires Rebecca Wood And Theresa Kane-Mckenzie Represent Our Commitment To You

Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are known as the “Sunshine,” “Keystone” and the “Garden” states respectively. They are each aptly named due to Florida’s perpetual rays, Pennsylvania’s colonial history and New Jersey’s lush orchards and farms. Within Alliant National, however, these states are known for something else: Each region offers incredible opportunities to empower the independent agent. Read how the underwriter is investing resources in both areas through two strategic hires, which will enhance its operations overall up and down America’s east coast.

Florida – A Rich Past and a Strong Future

Florida is one of those states that everyone knows even if you’ve never been there. Sprawling beaches. Delicious oranges. Disneyworld. The Everglades. At Alliant National, Florida is also well known, as it is one of the organization’s largest and oldest markets.

Alliant National started operating in Florida in 2009 and has seen stunning success over the last 15 years. Headed by SVP, Florida Regional Manager, Debra Coffie, and featuring underwriting leadership from Jeff Stein and Brenda Cannon, the company’s presence in the state has grown from a small shop to a sprawling network encompassing hundreds of agents. Despite these achievements, Alliant National is not resting on its laurels. “While we have experienced significant year-over-year growth,” said Coffie, “there is still ample potential to further impact in the market.”

Alliant National has seized this potential by continuing to invest in Florida, an important move given the state’s ever-increasing population and bustling real estate market. According to experts, Florida is one of the nation’s top relocation destinations. In late 2023, 4 of the top 10 cities for incoming residents were in Florida – including Orlando, Sarasota, Cape Coral and Tampa.[i]

Alliant National recently hired Rebecca Wood as Assistant Regional Counsel and VP to keep up with this demand and ensure that agents have adequate support. A long-time Floridian, legal professional and title insurance expert, few people are better equipped to take on this newly created role. Armed with three decades of experience, Wood is an industry authority and consummate professional. She is comfortable managing everything from analyzing legal details and risk assessments to interfacing directly with agents and claims professionals.

Alliant National Florida-based agents are undoubtedly in good hands with Wood joining the team.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey – High Growth and a New Frontier  

From one perspective, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are the opposite of Florida. One area is often cool, while the other is hot. One is in Canada’s orbit, and the other borders the Gulf of Mexico. Yet at Alliant National, these seemingly unrelated regions share a common characteristic: thriving title communities with which to build partnerships and drive shared success.  

Overseen by SVP, Central-West Regional Manager, Manoj Purohit, Alliant National has been active in Pennsylvania since 2022 and is aiming to expand due to encouraging market signs. While housing inventory and affordability remain low in much of the state, significant urban areas near its western border offer competitive price points that have attracted sizable numbers of aspiring home buyers. Pittsburgh and Erie in particular reported median listing prices in late 2023 far lower than the national average of $412,000 from that same period[ii] – making both metros major domestic migration destinations.

New Jersey is an entirely new market for Alliant National, although its decision to establish operations is fueled by a similarly optimistic market picture. The Federal Reserve announced in recent months, for example, that further interest rate increases are unlikely in the year ahead, causing mortgage costs to trend downward. On top of this, aspiring home buyers are flooding into the state from neighboring big cities like New York, increasing the potential for robust real estate demand.

Alliant National’s New Jersey operations will also be overseen by Purohit, who commented that both states area great opportunity waiting to be realized. “As it has across the country, Alliant National’s ‘agent only’ business model resonates deeply with independent agents in this region,” he said.

Alliant National’s hiring of Theresa Kane-Mackenzie is the most significant step it has taken in the region so far. With Kane-Mackenzie at the helm, the underwriter will develop its agency network and offer the type of uncommonly valuable help on which it has forged its reputation. “We expect to see strong growth and greater market share by bringing a proven industry veteran like Theresa on-board to head up our expansion efforts,” said Purohit.

Kane-Mackenzie’s vast expertise will be incredibly helpful in bringing this goal to fruition. Having built a respected, multi-decade career, Kane-Mackenzie has done it all. She has worked everywhere from national underwriters to title insurance technology providers. Her resume also includes experience in everything from underwriting and title production to marketing and continuing education. She is a one-stop shop that both current and future regional agents can leverage to improve processes and better serve customers.

Wherever you are, Alliant National is committed to you!

Alliant National has long invested in its greatest resource: its people. Recent steps in Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey reveal the depth of that commitment. The story of these two areas shows that Alliant National’s founding principles are alive and well in the present day. If you’re an independent agent, it doesn’t matter where you are or how long you’ve been with us, Alliant National is dedicated to ensuring that you always come first.


[i] Florida Housing Market Predictions: Forecast for the Next 5 Years (themortgagereports.com)

[ii] Median Home Price By State 2024 – Forbes Advisor

3 players reaching for a basketball

How To Team Build Year Round

There is no off-season for building effective teams.

In our working lives, we hear a lot of chatter about team building. Yet, even though it is widely acknowledged that strong teams are the cornerstone of successful businesses, the exact mechanisms for how you build them are less clear-cut.  

For Stacy Stolen, HR Director at Alliant National, creating an environment where staff feel connected, safe and collaborative requires a holistic, year-round approach. She shared insights on how to successfully implement team building in your organization for impactful results.Team building: A critically important conceptWhile incredibly important, team building can sometimes feel cliché and superficial, evoking images of trust falls and three-legged races. Yet when done correctly and with genuine, year-round commitment, few things can be as impactful for creating high- functioning organizations. But why exactly should you prioritize team building? “The lone wolf is becoming an endangered species,” said Stolen, when discussing the subject. “From health care to hospitality, startups to big business, teamwork has become the favored way to get things done.” This view is echoed by those who study team building. “The world is so complex, no one person has the skills or knowledge to accomplish all that we want to accomplish,” says Susan McDaniel, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who is known for her scholarship on team-based work. “Interdisciplinary teams are the way to make that happen.”[i]Here are some of the tangible benefits agencies can realize through investing in team building: ·         Enhanced collaboration: When teams understand and trust one another, it becomes easier to communicate openly and honestly, which reduces silos and promotes alignment.

  • Better employee morale and retention: Meaningful team building promotes safety, camaraderie, and care. This can lead to lower turnover and higher retention. Higher productivity and profitability: Close-knit teams promote the free exchange of ideas and faster, more impactful feedback, which results in higher productivity and profitability.Improved organizational culture: Team building creates a more affirming, positive and compelling culture. When teams like, respect and collaborate well with one another, businesses enjoy easier recruitment and competitive advantage in the market.
  • How to Team Build Year Round Clearly, team building can deliver big benefits, but establishing a year-round team building program can be a tall order, especially at a busy agency. Still, there is no need to feel overwhelmed, says Stolen. “Begin by breaking it down into bite-size steps. Start by defining what teamwork means to your organization and do your research. Also, never take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to teamwork. Make it your own and ensure it is a good fit for your team.”This last point is a critically important one, particularly when viewed in the context of remote work. “As a new manager, or first-time manager, you now have the unique freedom to choose talent from all over the world,” said Stolen. “But you also face an equally unique challenge: Leading a team who you may have never met in person. This includes building trust and camaraderie between people in different time zones.”But whatever type of team building program you land on, make sure it’s sustainable. Without easily repeatable plays, you won’t be able to continue nurturing a strong team at different points of the year. Keep it simple and do not overthink it. Some strategies aligned with this philosophy include:·         Build “buffer time” into your meetings that leaves time to chat openly and informally. ·         Do ice breakers/team builders at as many meetings as you can. This creates increased cooperation, builds trust and creates a sense of belonging.·         Create “team rituals,” repeated actions or activities unique to your team and help them bond. Rituals can be as simple as “Meme Monday,” where everyone shares an image or GIF that captures how their weekend went. ·         Avoid communication gaps by scheduling a daily stand-up meeting for people to share updates. This process can also be repeated over digital channels like Zoom.·         When it comes to meetings, share the pain. Consider the different time zones your teammates are in and rotate start times so that everyone has a few convenient meetings on their schedule.·         Create an Employee Resource Group.Team building can be difficult but well worth the effort Finding time to develop new initiatives at a busy title agency can be a formidable challenge. Yet the importance of well-executed team building can’t be understated. Sticking to these tips can help you create a well-honed operation that delivers results. Better yet, says Stolen, you’ll create an ideal environment that meets your team’s “individual work preferences and needs.”

    A cut-out house in the midst of spring flowers with an oversized hand holding a for sale sign

    Get a Jump on the Spring Selling Season

    Unless you’re a spring chicken, most real estate and title insurance professionals know that as the weather begins to heat up a bit, so does the market. But seizing on business opportunities during this time is not something that happens by accident. Instead, it requires thoughtful, well-executed marketing strategies. Here’s how you can ensure you’re ready for action now that spring has sprung.

    Hope Springs eternal

    Starting a new marketing campaign is always an exciting and even hopeful time, especially during the spring selling season. Time and time again, the turning of the seasons brings increased buyer demand, as house hunters and sellers look to make a change and start fresh. Agencies that get proactive about their marketing can capture greater market share and solidify their position as the go-to-resource. It all starts by taking a good, hard look at your current marketing programs and making improvements where necessary.

    Spring into action

    Nearly everyone has heard the expression “look before you leap,” but it merits repeating whenever contemplating a marketing overhaul. Reviewing your previous marketing activities and taking stock of what has (or hasn’t) worked in the past is an essential first step before embarking on a new campaign.

    To do this correctly, spring into action and go channel-by-channel. Assess whether your current strategies have brought you closer to your goals. If you started a social media feed to bring people to your agency’s website, dig into Google Analytics and review acquisition numbers. If your drip emails are intended to promote your offers, inspect click-through rates to determine if they’ve moved the needle.  

    Apply the principle across the entirety of your marketing output. Only by understanding the historic results of your marketing can you plan for future success.

    Spring is in the air

    When spring is in the air, put the season at the heart of your marketing and freshen up your copy. Begin with your most important digital asset: your website. Consider rewriting important sections of your site to emphasize the concepts of rebirth. Intertwine these ideas with the real estate market and communicate how your company can keep buyers and sellers safe as they embark on this new beginning. If you can, consider offering a spring-themed promotion. You may also want to create an entire landing page that can act as a hub for your spring campaign and which includes a clear, compelling call-to-action.

    Build thematic, impactful campaigns

    Once your website has been polished and freshened up, turn your attention to the channels you want to use to promote your products or services. The best part about spring is how well it lends itself to content and social media marketing. Here are a few examples of marketing actions you can take to raise awareness and convey your value:

    • “Spring cleaning”: Build an educational campaign to get people thinking about how they can ensure a smooth buying or selling process. Instruct aspiring buyers and real estate agents to keep an eye out for anything that may mar title. Frame your copy around the concept of “spring cleaning.” Emphasize how important it is to have all paperwork organized and accounted for prior to proceeding with a transaction.
    • Hit the road: Spring often brings an up-tick in in-person real estate events, which are prime opportunities for title agents to hit the road and network. Doing this can potentially lead to greater brand visibility and leads, but only if you’ve prepared ahead of time by doing things like practicing your agency’s elevator pitch.
    • Out with the old in with the new: Leverage the beginning of spring by timing the release of any new products or services you may be unrolling. Doing so dovetails perfectly with the season’s focus on renewal.
    • Expand your social media: Let’s face it: Title insurance isn’t exactly known for its visual qualities. The spring selling season, however, offers plentiful opportunities to change that. Push as much visual content as you can during this time. Even doing small things like profiling your employees or asking your followers to share their favorite spring memories is a great way to grab eyeballs during a time of increased demand.

    Let’s welcome the return of spring

    As winter reaches its last legs, what exactly “springs” to your mind? For real estate and title insurance professionals, spring is all about the sales. Carefully reviewing your marketing and leveraging the spirit of the season can help you capture new business and success throughout the year. In short, April showers may bring May flowers, but it can also bring a windfall of increased opportunity and profitability to your firm.

    Rayni Scott- Meet Your Advantage Tam member spotlight graphic

    Your Advantage: Rayni Scott Has A Passion For The Historical And Human Side Of Title Insurance

    As a self-described “historical document geek,” Rayni Scott loves examining old papers, leafing through personal journals and poring over household ledgers from time periods long gone. For her, discovering how people lived profoundly different lives from those we do in 2024 is fascinating. Her interest in tackling these historical puzzles also dovetails perfectly with her 20+ year career in title insurance.

    As an Underwriting Counsel for the Southwest Region at Alliant National, Scott often spends her time exploring the history of properties the company is considering insuring. These records originally brought her into the field and continue to inspire her to deliver for the company’s independent agents.

    To understand how Scott became the legal and title professional she is today, we must begin at the beginning. Following his retirement from the energy industry, Scott’s father became involved in real estate development. At the time, he would often bring his daughter to the county courthouse, where she would help him check ledgers to learn who owned different tracts of land that he and his business partners were interested in developing.

    “I think I was the only middle schooler reviewing grantor-grantee indexes or putting together deed chains,” said Scott of those days. These early experiences left a lasting impact. Later in college, Scott’s favorite classes were Constitutional Law and Real Property Law, and she would eventually parlay her interests into a career in title examination and later in underwriting. Today, Scott’s love for historical puzzles continues to animate her work. “One of the most engaging parts of my job is putting together the puzzle,” she said. “The job doesn’t get boring. Every file offers different facts and there is always something new to learn.”

    For Scott, a property’s historical details are not just meaningful in the abstract. Instead, just like the historical records she explores in her personal time, a property file can reflect the lived reality of real people. They can also certainly impact those involved in the transaction going forward. “It isn’t just paper shuffling,” she said of the profession. “Underwriters can actually make a difference in people’s lives with our answers.” The historical and the human sides of title examination and underwriting are both present in the various types of property transactions that come across Scott’s desk – including residential, commercial, multi-use and ranch land – although to varying degrees.

    Residential sales, for instance, are often steeped in emotion. It is not uncommon, says Scott, for the seller to have “all their belongings in a moving van and need the sale to fund a new home – which are known as back-to-back closings.” On the other side of a residential transaction, you can have someone who is “buying their ‘dream home,’” Scott explains. If that wasn’t enough, these deals may also have problems that are “only discovered at the closing table” and can “really pull on the heartstrings.” 

    On the other hand, “commercial and multi-use transactions are ‘easier’ in the sense that attorneys are usually involved,” Scott notes. You can focus more squarely on the transaction’s particulars and “speak the same language when discussing reasons for exception or requirement.” 

    Finally, ranch land sales split the difference, which makes them “the toughest yet perhaps the most interesting,” according to Scott. These transactions require deep dives into the property’s history – including chain of title issues, mineral rights and surface estates, and waterway concerns. Yet they also frequently include lots of family members – property heirs who bring personal and emotional stakes to the table.

    Given her passion for navigating both the historical and human dimensions of property transactions, it is not surprising that Scott found a professional home at Alliant National. The company is defined by its comprehensive capabilities, meticulous title reviews and responsive underwriting. Although for Scott, Alliant National also views title insurance as being about community in addition to historical and legal analyses.

    Scott relates to the company’s community focus on multiple levels. Personally, joining Alliant National was a reunion of sorts: “I’ve worked with many on the Alliant National team before,” she said. But it also has a larger dimension. Recognizing that title insurance can profoundly impact people is one thing, but you also must back up such beliefs with action. Scott notes that this makes Alliant National’s investments in education and industry development so important, as they enable agents to improve service delivery and strengthen the industry overall. “I’m passionate about our webinar series,” she said. “I was also excited to learn my law school alma mater created a Real Property Clinic and that Alliant National is instituting a paid internship program to open avenues for new professionals to join our field.” Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” This principle is self-evident in real estate and title insurance. In these industries, historical records speak volumes about the forces that shaped a property and what meaning the property may have for those who lived there. Additionally, the level of care, consideration and effort put into dealing with those documents can leave a lasting mark on both the buyer and seller. Her love for historical records and acute understanding of that fact have empowered Scott to build an enviable career. They are also qualities that will help her continue to execute on behalf of Alliant National’s agents in the years to come.

    Website designer sorting wire-frame screen of mobile applications

    Optimize Your Content for Mobile 

    On June 29, 2007, the first iPhone was released, and the rest, as they say, is history. Flash forward over 15 years, and mobile devices have become one of the top ways in which we receive information and make buying decisions. This has naturally had huge implications for businesses. To keep up with this changing customer behavior, it is essential to optimize content for smart devices regardless of the channel you’re using. Here, we will look at how you can ensure your content is picture-perfect for audiences who are more connected, agile and mobile than ever before. 

    Your digital front door 

    An organization’s website is one of its most important digital assets – acting, in a sense, as its digital front door. Logically, this makes it a natural place to start your mobile optimization efforts. The good news is that, unless your website is a digital dinosaur, it likely is already functioning properly for mobile. For nearly 15 years, “responsive design” has been a standard practice for web developers, but it is still worth reviewing how your website’s content is rendered across a wide variety of devices. Some important things to keep in mind include:  

    • Review your website’s layout changes depending on the device on which it is being displayed.
    • When viewing your website on a mobile phone or tablet, make sure the main navigation switches from every main tab are visible in a simplified format, typically consisting of three lines stacked upon one another. 
    • Be sure pictures and videos are displayed correctly and are not cut off horizontally. 
    • Note whether forms are rendered appropriately and displayed in a simple and straightforward fashion. 
    • Determine whether website pages load quickly and efficiently. 

    These are all standard website functions that modern buyers expect to see, so if you find issues with one or more of these elements, consult your web developer to make the necessary updates. 

    Go channel-by-channel 

    After you’re positive that your website is in tip-top shape, it’s time to move on to your other digital assets and take it channel-by-channel. Start with your email marketing software. Even in 2024, email remains one of the most popular marketing channels, making it a valuable place to begin. As with your website, most of today’s email marketing software implemented responsive design practices long ago. Still, it never hurts to verify that you are providing your audiences with the best possible user experience.

    Keep the following in mind as you do: 

    • Double-check to see if you are building and sending emails with mobile-friendly templates. 
    • Be careful with the fonts you use and keep your email content short, snackable and to the point. 
    • Reduce the size of any imagery to ensure that your emails load quickly and cleanly. 
    • Conduct ample testing to confirm whether your emails are displaying correctly across devices and email applications. 
    • Keep your overall design simple by avoiding things like columns or code-heavy features. 

    Once your website and email are ready to go, give some consideration to remaining channels like social media. As with email, most major social media sites have the infrastructure in place to ensure users’ content will be mobile optimized. Agencies would still be well-advised to take the following actions to reduce the possibility of something problematic turning up in their audiences’ feeds: 

    • Review your profile to ensure that each element will appear on your audiences’ screens in the best possible light. That includes using a logo and banner image whose details can still be seen even on a very small screen. 
    • Take particular care regarding your call to action (CTA) element. As the most important part of any given post, it is essential that your CTA is visible and legible. 
    • Be aware of where you are linking your social posts. While your social media profiles will typically render well across devices, you cannot extend that guarantee to other areas of the internet where you are trying to direct traffic.

    Final thoughts 

    The advent of the smartphone changed the marketing game forever, with increasing emphasis being placed on delivering a crisp, clear and powerful digital experience across any device. Thankfully, many marketing platforms are designed to facilitate responsive design and do not require additional technical skills to execute. That doesn’t mean you should just set and forget your marketing campaigns, though. It’s worth taking the time to double- and triple-check your materials to provide an ideal viewer experience. That’s the way you’ll win in today’s marketing environment.

    This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.

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