Posts Tagged ‘underwriting’

Liam Shay Welcome Graphic

Alliant National Announces the Hiring of Liam Shay as Underwriting Counsel   

Longmont, Colo. – (August 23, 2022) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, the title insurer that is uniquely responsive to the needs of independent agents, announces the hiring of Liam Shay as Underwriting Counsel.

Shay is a 20-year veteran of the title insurance industry and has routinely been involved in nearly every aspect of the business. He has focused on title examinations, and he has spent the last five years as an in-house underwriter focusing on claim resolution, risk analysis and staff management. 

As underwriting counsel, Shay will apply his extensive experience to working directly with agents who write for Alliant National and are located primarily in Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas. He will provide guidance, support, risk analysis and continuing education, with his central goal being to improve their business and grow their revenues.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this new opportunity,” said Shay. “I can’t wait to work alongside this already stellar team to improve agent operations and deliver great results for the independent agent. I already feel like I am a part of the Alliant National family!”

“Bringing Liam on board represents an incredible win for Alliant National and is essential to maintaining our position as the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent,” said Jeff Stein, Chief Underwriting Counsel and Senior Vice President for Alliant National. “With his two decades of experience, I know Liam is going to be an incredible asset to our agents as they work to issue the best possible policies and ultimately close more business.”

Shay is a member of the Minnesota State Bar and is also a member of the Minnesota Bar Association Real Property Section. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School.

He lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

Alliant National supports its independent agents by combining expert residential and
commercial underwriting with a passionate heart for service. The company delivers
uncommon help that promotes the wellbeing of agents and the communities they serve.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Cathie Beck
Capital City Public Relations
e: cathie@capitalcitypr.com
p: 303-241-0805

ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Alliant National is on a mission to empower independent agents while protecting property owners with secure title insurance. The company partners with its agents and never competes against them with direct or affiliate operations. Alliant National serves thousands of title professionals as a licensed underwriter in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

person icon leaping onto a city scape

Taking the Leap: Tapping Alliant National Expertise to Support Your Diversification into Commercial Transactions

We’ve learned from the refinance boom and bust years that being a one trick pony in the title insurance profession is not the pathway to longevity. Diversifying your transactions with purchase, refinance, builder, REO and mobile home transactions is a good way to hedge your bets in the cyclical reality of the real estate market.

Commercial transactions can also be a great way to solidify your competitive position in the local market. However, many agents are a bit leery of taking the plunge due to the more complex nature of these deals.

Donna More, VP and Senior Underwriting Counsel for Alliant National Title Insurance Company, says that while she can understand an agent’s initial trepidation, there is a logical pathway for agents to move into the commercial end of the business, and Alliant National underwriting counsel can be a great resource as you are learning the ropes.

“I think an experienced underwriting attorney is key in these transactions,” More says. “We know right off the top what is going to come up. We can get the agent prepared, alert them on what they are going to need, and tell them what questions to ask – even before they get the search report – so they can avoid some surprises later on in the transaction.”

She notes that agents are hesitant to get into commercial because they don’t want to appear ignorant when questions and issues come up. But most of the tough issues will be resolved by underwriting counsel.

“We are going to be the ones who come up with methods of resolution, based on our professional experience,” she explains. “That is one of the big advantages we offer our agents. With our experience and knowledge, we are often able to predict what is going to happen, or what is going to be needed. We can already be thinking ahead to the best way to resolve potential issues.”

But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

There are some key steps you can take before venturing into commercial transactions. It’s also helpful to understand how the players’ roles are different and explore some of the elements that are unique to commercial transactions.

Learning about commercial transactions

The best way to learn the nuances of commercial deals, according to More, is first, to take on small deals in order to learn by doing; second, to work closely with underwriting counsel to get questions answered; and finally, to seek out educational opportunities.

“I recommend that agents who want to get into commercial and want to feel competent and prepared should take classes,” she advises. “There are always good takeaways from the commercial real estate seminars. Also, ask local attorneys what they recommend would be helpful to gain a higher degree of sophistication in commercial real estate.”

More says it shouldn’t be too hard to find educational opportunities, since bar associations and land title associations offer commercial real estate classes. Even if the class is geared towards lawyers, it can still give an agent insight into commercial deals, affording them a greater level of comfort, she adds.

Alliant National agents can check out a free webinar, Commercial Closings? No Problem! at alliantnationalacademy.com.

Securing commercial transaction title orders

More acknowledges that the most complicated commercial transactions are usually handled by attorney title agents but notes that there are plenty of non-attorney title agents who have been successful at developing a clientele with their existing real estate agent and broker customers who handle both residential and commercial transactions.

She also advises mining existing customer relationships for potential opportunities.

“Someone who bought a $3 million home and closed with you is probably a fairly successful businessperson and may be involved in buying and selling commercial properties,” she says. “Nurture those relationships.”

She also suggests getting immersed in the local business community and commercial industry organizations, especially the real estate associations like Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) or NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (fka the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks).

“Being involved in the local commercial industry organizations is a very good source of knowledge and business,” More says. “Go to the local meetings and take advantage of the educational opportunities to build your confidence.”

How commercial title work differs from residential

Commercial transactions can be complicated, with more lawyers involved and often more parties to the transaction. In addition, the principals are often not individuals, but legal entities.

“The title agent needs to be very familiar with the types of legal entities in their state and what the requirements are for proof of good standing and proof of authority,” More explains.

She says an agent is also more likely to have to deal with ancillary issues, such as easements for access. Generally speaking, in a residential sale, the home is on a platted lot and there are no issues with access. But with commercial property, it could involve a landlocked parcel and you have to be concerned about access or the adequacy of access.

“The other important difference is how you deal with the lenders,” she says. “The lenders are going to expect more. In the more sophisticated transactions, there are going to be more requirements and different documentation needed. Even though you as the title agent would not be preparing the documents, you will have to familiarize yourself with all the documents in the transaction as well as get them signed as part of the package and recorded.”

More notes that construction loans are also more complicated for commercial properties and lenders will have a lot more requirements. The agent could also run into construction lien issues.

“Florida has a construction lien law that is very detailed and very complicated. That’s another reason why it’s so important to go to your underwriting attorney to get the guidance you need,” she advises.

Same basics, different pacing

The basics of the title and closing work in a commercial transaction is not very different from residential transaction.

“The agent needs to go through the commitment, see what the requirements are, and get familiar with the exceptions,” she explains. “It is especially important for a title agent to be able to distinguish what the parties are responsible for vs. what they are responsible for. And of course, they should come to underwriting as soon as they see something that makes them say, ‘I don’t know what this is.’”  

However, More clarifies, the title agent must account for everything even if it is the sellers’ or buyers’ responsibility to actually perform the task or provide the documentation.

Sometimes commercial deals can be turned around quickly, but usually they take longer because the inspections and due diligence are more complicated, often involving permitting, approvals, DOT issues and access.

“In my seminars for Florida agents, I have always suggested checklists for any transaction, but it is most imperative in commercial deals,” More says.  “Go through the contract. Check the timelines. Also, as the title agent, you need to share your title work with all parties – seller, buyer and lender. Sellers and their lawyers will have a much bigger role in a commercial transaction. The seller will have to come up with all kinds of documentation. On the buyer side, the lender will need to see the organization of the entity and will want to look at their books and balance sheets.”

And of course, the title agent will be involved in the curative work, even if it is only to give the seller guidance as to what will be required.

“In addition to keeping up with the timing, probably the most crucial part of what they do is keeping track of what needs to be fixed and how it needs to be fixed,” More notes. “That’s where we come in. They need underwriting to determine how to cure a problem or explore the alternatives available to fix an issue. We rate those alternatives – this is the best course of action or this is the option we don’t want to do.”

Final word

Commercial real estate transactions do require some expertise, but it is knowledge that can be acquired over time through educational opportunities and on-the-job experience with smaller transactions. But the most important resource you have at your disposal will always be the experienced and knowledgeable underwriting attorneys at Alliant National. We are always here to help you learn how to navigate this fascinating and challenging aspect of the title insurance business in order to take your agency to the next level.

graphic congratulating Kara Elgin on her promotion to Underwriting Counsel

Alliant National Announces the Promotion of Kara B. Elgin, Esq. to Underwriting Counsel

Longmont, Colo. – (April 04, 2022) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, the title insurer that is uniquely responsive to the needs of independent agents, announces the promotion of Kara B. Elgin, Esq. to Underwriting Counsel – Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Elgin initially joined Alliant National in March of 2020 as Associate Underwriting Counsel. A seasoned attorney, Elgin brought nearly 14 years of experience in real estate law to the company, allowing her to quickly make major contributions to its regional operations and support its network of independent agents. In her new role, Elgin will leverage this experience to further support agents’ day-to-day title underwriting needs and offer legal guidance on title and real estate-related matters.

“I am beyond thrilled to accept this promotion and continue to work with a great team and our extensive network of hardworking independent agents,” said Elgin. “It’s truly a pleasure to go to work each day at Alliant National and collaborate with some of the best and brightest professionals in the business. I’m excited to continue growing in my role, to take on new challenges and initiatives, and to help further solidify Alliant National as the industry’s leading title insurance underwriter.”

“Kara is an integral part of our legal team and has been instrumental in helping our agents succeed in their business,” said Jeff Stein, Chief Underwriting Counsel and Senior Vice President at Alliant National. “She has more than earned this promotion, and I have high expectations for her continued growth within our company.”

Elgin received her Juris Doctor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Prior to that, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Central Missouri. Elgin is also highly active in the title insurance and legal communities. She is a member of the Missouri and Kansas Bar Associations, as well as the land title associations of Mo., Kan., and Neb. In addition, Elgin serves on the education and legislative committees of the Nebraska Land Title Association (NLTA) and the legislative committee of the Missouri Land Title Association (MLTA).

She lives in the Kansas City metropolitan area with her family.

Alliant National supports its independent agents by combining expert residential and
commercial underwriting with a passionate heart for service. The company delivers
uncommon help that promotes the wellbeing of agents and the communities they serve.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Cathie Beck
Capital City Public Relations
e: cathie@capitalcitypr.com
p: 303-241-0805

ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Alliant National is on a mission to empower independent agents while protecting property owners with secure title insurance. The company partners with its agents and never competes against them with direct or affiliate operations. Alliant National serves thousands of title professionals as a licensed underwriter in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Graphic welcoming back Lin Brasier as VP Southwest Underwriting Counsel

Alliant National Welcomes Back Lin Brasier as VP Southwest Underwriting Counsel

Welcome home Lin Brasier! Alliant National is excited to have Lin back where he belongs. With his vast industry knowledge stretching over four decades, Lin will bring exceptional value to Alliant National’s operations as VP Southwest Underwriting Counsel.

Lin will be busy in this new position, providing agents with his expert perspective and assisting with transactions that require underwriting support. Without question, independent agents and Alliant National’s Southwest team will benefit greatly from his presence, as KC West, SVP and Southwest Region Manager, explains:

“Lin has been vital to Alliant National’s success and growth,” West said. “I am excited to have him back as part of the family again after his brief absence.”

Having originally worked for Alliant National from 2014 to 2020, Lin has always been known as a friendly, steady and knowledgeable force within the title insurance field. His long career stretches back much further than that, however, spanning 43 years – up until he temporarily retired two years ago.

Now that he’s back, we can’t wait to see the positive impact he will have on Alliant National’s internal staff and network of independent agents. As the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent, Alliant National’s achievements have always depended on the contributions of title professionals like Lin – folks who truly live our values and always put agents first. Welcome back Lin! We’ve missed you!

Bravo Patrick Hagler

Alliant National Announces the Promotion of Patrick Hagler to Regional Counsel – Southeast  

Longmont, Colo. – (November 30, 2021) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position, announces the promotion of Patrick Hagler to Regional Counsel – Southeast.

For the past five years, Hagler has served as State Counsel-Georgia and South Carolina. From reviewing and approving transactions to supporting the company’s network of independent agents, Patrick has applied his vast industry knowledge and versatile skill set for the betterment of the organization and its agents.

In his new position as Regional Counsel, Hagler will expand his purview to cover the entirety of the Southeast region, working to find creative solutions to title issues and helping Alliant National’s agents and their clients successfully get to the closing table. He will also assist in developing Alliant National’s market opportunities in the Southeast.

“I am honored and excited to expand my position with Alliant National and take on a leadership role in the Southeast region. Growing our Georgia operations for the past five years has been challenging and rewarding,” said Hagler. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with Tracey Webb and our entire Southeast team to further expand Alliant National’s footprint and grow our network of independent agents in the area. Furthermore, I welcome the chance to work with Jeff Stein, Chief Underwriting Counsel; our Southeast legal team; and the entire legal department. We have some of the best in the business, and I’m continually learning and growing by working alongside our knowledgeable team.”

“Patrick has been critical to our company and the growth of our business in Georgia,” said Jeff Stein, Chief Underwriting Counsel and Senior Vice President for Alliant National. “He has also been an invaluable help to me in assisting our counsel and agents in the Southeast states in which we do business. I am thrilled for what lies ahead. I know that with his leadership, our team of Southeast attorneys will do great things and provide extraordinary support to our independent title agents.”

Hagler received his J.D. from St. Mary’s University. He previously obtained his B.S. from Texas A&M University. He is a member of SLTA and ALTA, and lives in North Georgia.

Alliant National distinguishes itself from competitors by combining strong underwriting capability with independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets. The result is a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities, and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced and continuously growing.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Cathie Beck
Capital City Public Relations
e: cathie@capitalcitypr.com
p: 303-241-0805

ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

The Independent Underwriter for The Independent AgentSM – Alliant National believes in empowering people to thrive.

The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 600+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 30
states and the District of Columbia.

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