The success of wire fraud has reached unbelievable loss statistics.
Numerous articles, videos, newsletters, television broadcasts and other forms of media are constantly publicizing successful scams with the goal of spreading awareness so that we escrow officers and customers know how to recognize attempted fraud and can take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim.
Fraudsters are fluid, ever-creative and extremely clever in their efforts to breach computer systems with false pretenses and technology tools to interject themselves into the electronic communications channels.
For those unsuspecting and vulnerable persons, the consequences can be devastating. Lifetime savings can be lost within seconds. And, even the most wary of individuals have been scammed.
What began as a law office that also did a bit of title work in rural Kansas has transformed into Tallgrass Title, a thriving title insurance agency serving three counties in Northeast Kansas.
Jake Pugh, owner of Tallgrass Title, is happy to share the long history of this successful family business. Jake’s grandfather started the law office in the 1940’s, Jake’s father joined the business in the 1980’s and Jake joined “a few years later,” in 2006.
“Title insurance wasn’t even a thing back in the 1940’s,” recalls Jake. “But the law office did dabble in probate, title work and routine real estate items.”
Jake’s father saw an emerging market in title insurance in the 1980’s and opened a title business, Wamego Title, in the back office of the law firm.
It became a successful business among the locals, but outside of the town of Wamego, no one knew about it. Fast forward to 2017 and Wamego Title wanted to grow and serve clients in the Northeast Kansas region.
Through a successful relationship as an independent agent with Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Wamego Title rebranded as Tallgrass Title.
Jake began the process by collaborating with Alliant National’s Director of Marketing Nikki Smith in conjunction with Alliant National’s partner David Hafleigh from Future Works.
Nikki and David worked closely with Jake, sharing knowledge based on market research and experience with helping other independent agents grow their title insurance businesses.
Together, they chose a regional-based name for the business: Tallgrass Title, a name that’s inspired by the area’s rolling prairie hills, valleys and rivers.
Nikki and David were extremely insightful, helping Jake with a new website, advertising and other branding material, as well as event planning for a grand re-opening under the Tallgrass Title name.
While Jake loved the rebranding efforts, one marketing practice he felt adamantly against was blogging.
He didn’t need to do such a thing, and nobody in the area would know about or seek out his blogs, and if by chance they did read his blogs, they’d be bored with the content.
Or, so he thought. Nikki was insistent that Jake needed to blog.
Jake wrote a few blogs and posted to Tallgrass Title’s website. And then, he cross-posted those blogs to the company’s social media sites and shared them via email newsletters.
They also used details from the blog to put into educational presentations. Then, he went about his business, attending networking events and being active in his community. But, something was different.
Realtors would approach him and talk about his blog. They’d ask follow-up questions, and also request topics for him to write about in future blogs. They appreciated his knowledge and wanted more blogs!
Business opportunities are growing for Tallgrass Title in the Northeast Kansas region and every day, Jake is grateful that he found Alliant National Title Insurance Company.
You are looking at a photo of a house on Mexico Beach, Florida which was the location that Cateogry 4, Hurricane Michael, made landfall on October 10, 2018.
Almost all of the homes surrounding this home were built to 1970s Category 3 hurricane standards set by the local government. You can see what happened to them. Catastrophic destruction.
This particular home was built “for the big one.”
In this case, a Category 5 hurricane standard, able to sustain winds of 250 miles an hour and very high storm surges.
The owners of this home took the time to think for themselves and choose to work with different standards, higher standards, so they could cope more effectively with the new set of threats being created by climate change.
Given the picture above, here’s the question to ask yourself as an independent title agent: What standards am I building my business to?
Where am I getting those standards and what is the motivation of the source that is giving me that information? How reliable are they? Is it appropriate?
As the Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent, we at Alliant National think for ourselves.
What should those standards be considering that our agents success is our success, that we don’t compete with them by having direct operations and our entire business model is organized around helping our independent agents thrive?
As you may have surmised, our standards are higher. Alliant National is the independent underwriter for THE FINEST Independent agents in the industry, and we have evidence to prove it.
From 2013 through 2017 the title insurance industry had an average loss ratio of 7.7 percent. Alliant National’s loss ratio for that same period was 3.4 percent. That’s performance!
How do we do it?
We offer quality assurance certifications to help our agents meet the needs of regulators and bolster their credibility with REALTORS and lenders.
And we have our own processes verified and certified to be the finest in the industry.
AUTHORIZED SERVICE PROVIDER
The Authorized Service Provider designation is determined by an audit using the stringent SSAE 18 Type 2 (SOC 1) examination process.
We send a formal letter and seal to each agent for every year they carry the Authorized Service Provider distinction, which can be shared with third-party vendors.
CERTIFIED SERVICE PROVIDER
The Certified Service Provider designation also comes with a formal letter and seal, which can be shared with third-party vendors.
To achieve this elevated distinction, an agent must submit additional documentation for review while satisfying Authorized Service Provider and ALTA Best Practices standards.
SSAE18 TYPE II CERTIFIED
Alliant National was the first title insurance underwriter in the nation to obtain an SSAE18 Type II compliant status and is the only title insurance underwriter to achieve compliant status for four consecutive years.
ISO 27001 CERTIFIED
We’re also the only title insurance underwriter in the industry to receive an ISO 27001 certification, validating that we adhere to the most rigorous International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements – just another example of how Alliant National assures quality and helps manage risk for our agents.
So choose your standards carefully.
Know the motivations of your underwriters and why some set standards high and why others set standards low so you’re more at risk.
Our standards are built to last, built for the big one, and built to help our agents thrive.
The Claims Department recently paired up with the Ronald McDonald House Charities as part of their annual campaign to give back.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides support to children and their families at hospitals worldwide by providing a place to stay, and home-cooked meals, at little or no cost.
This service allows families to focus on the health and healing of their child, instead of having to worry about groceries, shopping, cleaning and cooking.
The Claims Team paid a visit to the Ronald McDonald house in Orlando and prepared a home cooked meal of tacos with all the fixins.
Alliant National’s Jeff Stein and Mark Szenas recently presented at the 2018 Florida Agency Network Staff Seminar in Tampa, Florida.
Because we don’t compete with our agents, “ZERO is the number of direct operations or agencies owned by ANTIC in the entire nation,” said Jeff Stein, Alliant National Southeast Regional Counsel and Senior Vice President.