OUR 'TRUE NORTH'
We believe property ownership represents American ideals such as freedom, entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
And we believe independent title agents – through their meticulous work of investigating and curing title, maintaining public land records and facilitating the seamless transfer of title from seller to buyer – are protectors of our American ideals. It’s the job of Alliant National to support this vital role.
Our country was founded upon the unique notion that anyone could come to our shores, work hard and build a life for him or herself. The foundation of that life in the New World was a stake of land on which to build a home and raise a family, a place to hang one’s hopes for the future and build a nest egg to pass on to the next generation.
Independent title agents are small business owners who help their local communities grow and prosper by delivering remarkable real estate transactional services. Their specialized insights and understanding of the local marketplace, industry practices and land records, make them genuine real estate experts whose valuable contribution to their communities is unmatched.
What’s more, independent title agents are the only truly objective third party at the real estate settlement table, ensuring all parties’ interests and objectives are safeguarded.
We believe independent title agents perform truly noble work, which is why we set out to establish ourselves as the “Independent Underwriter for the Independent Agent,” the underwriter who has their backs, who advocates for their place at the real estate settlement table and doesn’t compete with their interests through direct operations.
Everything we do at Alliant National is in service to independent title agents, in support of their efforts to serve their communities and protect the American Dream of homeownership.
Protect the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance provided through the finest independent agents in a trusted partnership.
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Amy Gregory has a passion to protect, and when a customer at Paramount Title was defrauded of $130,000, Amy pulled out all the stops to track down the funds and then went above and beyond to ensure no customer of hers would ever fall victim to wire fraud again.
Our story begins with an innocuous email delivered to our homebyer on June 18, which appeared to come from the lender’s office. The email informed our buyer that a representative from Paramount Title would call her to confirm receipt of the funds to close.
Someone called the buyer, but it wasn’t us. A fraudster named “Jimmy” on the other end of the line confirmed wire instructions for a specific bank account, with the account name referencing Paramount Title, and instructed our buyer to send funds in the amount of $130,000.
Our buyer wired the funds.
The following day our buyer checked her account and saw the wire had been returned to her account. She replied to the email thread with the fraudster from the previous day asking if she knew what happened and why the funds were returned.
The fraudster told her the company’s escrow account was under its annual tax audit and that is why her funds were returned. Then he gave our buyer new wiring instructions for another bank account. Our buyer called “Jimmy,” who confirmed the new writing instructions were correct.
Our buyer wired the funds again.
On June 20, our buyer received another email from the fraudster stating there was an issue with the wire. The fraudster asked our buyer to call her bank and request a hold be lifted off the wire. Tragically, our buyer called her bank and obtained the federal reference number for the wire.
The next day a representative from the receiving bank called to say they flagged her wire transfer and they were not going to release the funds yet because it looked suspicious.
That’s when our buyer decided to look up the title company. She then called us, the real Paramount Title, and shared her story. Our office confirmed we don’t employ anybody by the name of “Jimmy” – and this was most definitely a case of wire fraud.
This is where Amy swoops into the picture.
Amy was quick to discuss all options for our buyer to report the crime, including offering to report the issue on her behalf. Amy contacted our US Secret Service agent (YES, we actually have a US Secret Service agent in our rolodex to help us in these “special” circumstances), finally reaching him at 10 o’clock at night to discuss the details of the file.
Amy wanted to see if the agent could provide any assistance on what our buyer could do to get her money back. She conferenced in our buyer, so she could speak directly with the agent. The agent then offered to call the “fraudsters” bank and see how they could help.
On June 22, thanks to Amy’s tireless efforts driven by a passion to protect, the full amount of the wire was returned to our buyer. Our buyer closed on her home two weeks later.
“I spoke with the client shortly after the ordeal was over, and she expressed to me how good it felt that someone had her back through the process,” said Andrea Somers, Compliance Officer for the Florida Agency Network. “Amy truly goes above and beyond in everything that she does.”
But our story doesn’t end there, because Amy went above and beyond to ensure no customer of hers would ever fall victim to wire fraud again.
First, she implemented the website “www.inquirebeforeyouwire.com,” a message we now we blast everywhere we can. When we receive a new contract, our customer is informed of this very real threat. When a customer receives an email from us, they see the Inquire Before You Wire image. It doesn’t matter how small, or big, the transaction is.
She also implemented additional processes where phone calls are made to the contacts on each file, to discuss wire fraud, the current fraud trends being seen in our industry and to lay out exactly how the client will receive wire instructions.
What’s more, Amy decided to go one step further by achieving the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) certification. This achievement demonstrates Amy’s commitment and leadership in protecting our clients and our industry. Amy feels we have a duty to protect and serve the clients.
Amy’s passion to protect pushes our team to uphold the same standard of care, to protect and try to prevent tragic situations involving wire fraud from occurring on our watch again.
Some of us have dogs. Maybe two. Cats? They’re popular, also. But Julie Murphy, who has a combination of canines and felines, also raises alpacas and llamas, all of which provide far greater benefits than simple companionship.
Julie, who is the administrative assistant to the executive team at Alliant National—and describes herself as the “lead fun-maker of office festivities”—co-owns Red Flower Ranch, a 10-acre plot just east of Mead, Colorado, with her husband. They—and their 12-year-old daughter, Sara, who was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, Type 1 at 10 months old—live on the property, alongside two llamas and 13 alpacas, two dogs and three cats.
“Our name comes from a small flower on our farm,” says Julie, recalling the first time she spotted a little red flower blooming in a dry patch of dirt tucked in between a wall and some fencing. “It was the only living thing for several feet around it, and we were amazed at its determination to grow and thrive despite the huge odds against it,” says Julie. “It reminded us of Sara and all she’s been through with Neurofibromatosis—and all she has yet to face in the future. To us, it represents drive, determination and the ability to thrive under any circumstance.”
It was Sara’s medical team, in fact, that originally introduced the alpacas to the Murphy family. “We hadn’t been around alpacas at all, but her doctors thought that because of the peace they exude by simply being, they might be the kind of animals that our daughter would benefit from,” says Julie.
A short time later, the family attended an alpaca show to determine if the doctors were right.
“When we met the alpacas, we knew that these were the animals for us,” remembers Julie. “We quickly realized that there were many benefits to having them, including the fact that they’re great therapy animals, thanks to their curious nature and calm demeanor.”
As an added bonus, shares Julie, “They grow the most amazing fiber, which is considered by many to be the best natural fiber available.” The result? Easygoing animals that would bond with Sara and a successful alpaca business that would provide the Murphy family with a sense of security.
Since purchasing the property in the spring of 2013, Julie and her husband have spruced up the farm buildings, incorporated multiple pastures and built several llama and alpaca pens. In November of 2016, they started Red Flower Ranch.
“Our niche is that we have alpacas and llamas, while most farms have horses, cows and other typical farm animals,” says Julie, adding that the slogan of their ranch is “Colorado Raised & Made,” a motto backed by a fierce dedication to selling products produced by their own animals. “Unless I simply can’t avoid it, I don’t import fibers or materials from other countries, like Peru or Chile,” stresses Julie, pointing out that very few of her finished products are imported. “If they aren’t made by us, they’re made in the USA. Our goal is to keep it local, kind of like farm-to-table, except we’re more like ‘alpaca-to-hat.’”
Her other love, of course, is Sara, whose genetic disease has resulted in tumors that grow inside her nervous system. The disease can also cause bone deformities, blindness, deafness, cancer and other complications.
Still, despite daily pain in her legs and hips, bone deformities in her daughter’s pelvis and legs and numerous renal problems, Julie remains optimistic. “While Sara’s had more than a dozen surgeries in her lifetime and more hospitalizations than I care to think about, she’s a happy girl and I thank God that I get to be her mom.”
Sara’s favorite alpaca is a black female named Midnight Dancer. “Dancer and Sara have something special and love being together,” says Julie, noting, too, that Sara participates in craft and livestock shows. “She enjoys talking to people, especially other kids, about alpacas and answering all their questions.”
While Sara’s disease is debilitating, the Murphy family has leaned on the Children’s Tumor Foundation—the world’s largest nonprofit currently funding neurofibromatosis research— for support and guidance.
“When Sara was diagnosed, there was no treatment protocol and little research to advance a cure,” says Julie. “We still don’t have a cure, but they’ve reached a point where some promising medications and breakthroughs are on the horizon. I’m excited for the future and what it will bring to help those suffering worldwide from Neurofibromatosis.”
The Children’s Tumor Foundation has been so instrumental in Sara’s treatment that Julie donates a portion of each sale from the ranch to the Foundation.
While they continue to search for treatments for Sara’s disease, Julie lives in the moment and finds joy in the little things. “My husband always says that when things get hard, there’s a whole lot of upside potential. It reminds me that no matter how bad it is, it will get better, and when it’s already good, it could turn out to be great.”
Julie’s dedication and work ethic—she performs office manager duties for Alliant National’s corporate office, functions as an event planner and works closely with the education team—extends far beyond her office walls.
She’s a warrior and her positive attitude and genuine compassion for others is palpable. “I’m so blessed to have an amazing and supportive husband and the greatest daughter anyone could ask for. She’s taught me what true strength really looks like and to have more patience than I ever thought myself capable of,” says Julie. “To top it off, I’ve been given the opportunity to raise amazing animals and help educate others about their benefits. I truly am living the American dream.”
Must-See Educational Sessions at ALTA ONE 2019
ALTA ONE is next week, October 22-25th at the Fairmont Hotel in Austin, Texas. It’s an important event bringing together leaders in the title industry to swap new ideas and business practices in educational sessions that really work.
As always, there’s a lot of content! ALTA ONE will cover a range of hot topics, so which sessions are a must-attend?
We enlisted the help of Nathan Marinchick, Director of Research and Educational Programming at Alliant National, to help identify the top 10 education sessions you may want to place on your ALTA ONE dance card next week.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
9:00 am – 10:00 am OMNI SESSION: THE POWER OF PURPOSE
ALTA’s CEO, Diane Tomb, will share her vision for the coming year and what she sees as the industry’s greatness opportunities and weaknesses. And Entrepreneur, author and “ad man” Roy Spence will help ignite your “epiphany of purpose” during this keynote — Have you found your purpose? What motivates you? What truly drives your company? Discover and fulfill your purpose.
10:30 am – 11:30 am NOTABLE: TEXAS TITLE AGENTS ARE ROCKING WITH RON
In 2018, Texas became the 3rd state to permit remote online notarization. This session will provide a first-hand perspective on implementing RON in your operation. As RON becomes legal in your state you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from early adopters.
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm ENGAGEMENT LAB: COMMERCIAL BUSINESS: GETTING YOUR FEET WET WITHOUT SINKING THE BOAT
This lab is designed to demonstrate how your title and closing skills and experience have given you a solid foundation to explore the world of commercial real estate transactions with confidence.
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm NOTABLE: RESPA 411
This session will review the latest cases and enforcement actions on RESPA, affiliated businesses, and marketing services agreements. Come with your questions and discuss the latest trends in RESPA compliance. Experts will address the future of the CFPB and enforcement actions.
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm ENGAGEMENT LAB: BUILDING A FLEXIBLE WORKFORCE
Our industry is facing significant changes from a staffing standpoint. How do you face the challenges of finding new people when you have a retirement or just the everyday turnover? What does flexibility in your workforce look like and how can you successfully adapt your business to recruit and retain new staff through these changes? Join this lab to discuss these challenges and brainstorm solutions.
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm ENGAGEMENT LAB: CULTURE AUDIT WITH ALLIANT NATIONAL’S BOB GRUBB
Culture is central to the health of an organization. However, it is often invisible to those in it, making it difficult to understand what our culture is, and more importantly, what areas require improvement. This is why a culture audit is a good idea. Join this lab to learn how this process works and what to do with the results.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
8:45 am – 10:00 am OMNI SESSION: FROM THE DARK WEB TO WALLSTREET (SPONSORED BY INCENTER TECHNOLOGY)
Wire Fraud keeps us up at night. Listen to two local law enforcement detectives involved in a headline-making case in which money was stolen, then recovered, through a wire fraud incident. Additionally, an Austin based Realtor will discuss how unsuspecting clients can fall victim to wire fraud schemes. And Cybersecurity is top-of-mind for all of us, whether we’re thinking about our professional or personal lives. The director of cybersecurity for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Investment Technology, Rachel Wilson, knows exactly the dangers you face. Wilson will share her expertise on how best to protect your business and avoid falling prey to scams and attacks.
10:30 am – 11:30 am NOTABLE: PROPOSED ALTA POLICY FORMS – WHAT’S COVERED, WHAT’S NOT?Title insurance is what we sell, so it’s imperative to know when coverages change. Hear from two ALTA Forms Committee experts about the proposed updates to the 2006 policies. You will be introduced to the new versions, know why changes were made, and what they mean for your business.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm NOTABLE: THE UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF DIGITAL CLOSINGS
Often when we talk about digital closings, we talk about what’s in it for the consumer or lender. But you should also focus on the benefits that digital closing can bring to your operation. In this session, learn how digital closing technology can change your workflow and improve efficiency – while also providing the more convenient and prompt closing your consumers and lenders want.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm NOTABLE: 8 LEGIT WAYS TO MARKET YOUR CULTURE TO HUMANS UNDER 40
If you’re job searching and under the age of 40, you’re probably not going to get excited about a job that offers “competitive benefits” and a “standard work week” with “two weeks of paid vacation.” Sorry, title pros! The new wave of employees has different expectations and you do have to adapt and market your values differently. Take home 8 great ideas to attract talented employees for your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving beast that can be difficult to navigate.
The rules are always changing and understanding where to begin can present a challenging maze for those unfamiliar with the most current trends.
Google, of course, is the giant of the search engine ladder, and if your business URL ranks at the top of a Google search, it has a 33 percent chance of getting clicked, while the second position gets close to 15 percent of the share, and the third position, 9 percent.
Moreover, a whopping 75 percent of people who use search engines to browse topics never leave the first page of search results. In other words, a high rank leads to more clicks, and more clicks equate to more leads.
To achieve optimal results, businesses can implement several strategies to increase their visibility on Google. Here are a few tips to get started.
Improve the speed of your landing page.
The time it takes for your home page to load is front and center in the minds of the public—and Google. If your load page is too slow, Google recognizes the lull and will promptly demote your ranking.
As well, a slow website affects the ways in which visitors to your site engage with your pages. Research shows that 40 percent of visitors will leave a website if the page takes more than three seconds to load. Even worse, 80 percent of those visitors won’t bother to come back.
To test the speed of your website, consult a free online service like Pingdom.
Regularly update your website with new content.
If you allow the content on your website to become outdated, or worse, let it fade into oblivion, your SEO ranking plummets. To generate traffic and increase your website’s visibility, posting fresh content is imperative.
If your site is littered with irrelevant or outdated content, get rid of it. Update your site on a regular basis with newsworthy, consumable, relevant and value-driven content (including graphics, videos, how-to guides, webinars and live chats) and visitors will likely return.
Something else to keep in mind: Google increases your website’s search engine rank when visitors spend more than a nanosecond on your site. If you keep your target searchers engaged with great content that makes them care, they’ll stick around—a factor that Google takes into account when it ranks websites.
Use the correct key words and phrases.
Keywords play a huge role in Google’s ranking algorithm. When creating content for your website, include keywords and long-tail keywords (three-or-four-word phrases) that speak to—and define—your brand.
Keywords can be used in the body of a blog post, header tag or as part of photo captions.
Google isn’t particularly keen on saturating sites with keywords, however, so use them strategically and sparingly, otherwise you risk diminishing your search ranking. Tip: Take advantage of software sites like Moz and Ahrefs, both of which offer keyword suggestions and monthly search volume.
Retail kingpin Amazon and the nation’s largest residential brokerage firm, Realogy, whose brands include Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Sotheby’s, have joined forces to attract home buyers in fourteen different cities.
To entice buyers to take advantage of the newly launched partnership—called Turnkey—Amazon is offering up to $5,000 in home services and products upon the closing of a home.
Culture is the lifeblood of every organization.
It is created through a language and customs, arts and practices that are shared by a particular work group. Culture is an identity, and it can attract or repel engagement with your organization.
All companies have a culture, whether it is one that develops on its own or is deliberately nurtured. The questions is do you have the culture you want?
Does your culture revolve around how your people respect each other and your customers? Does your culture foster the experience you want your customers to have? Is it time to be more deliberate or even make a bold change?
In a recent Gallup poll, 53% of workers reported they are “not engaged.” From Gallup’s employee engagement report: “They may be generally satisfied but are not cognitively and emotionally connected to their work and workplace; they will usually show up to work and do the minimum required but will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.” That same poll reported that 34% of workers are “engaged,” and it’s the highest number since this Gallup poll was created in 2000. Only about one-third of our workforce feels engaged, and that’s an improvement.
Imagine the change possible if we could reverse these numbers? Gains in productivity, increases in job satisfaction – wins for everyone! And that’s just a start.
To improve employee engagement, it may be time to reexamine your company’s culture. Do you know what your people really want and what is important to them? Have you asked them or are you making assumptions?
Each employee brings his or her own unique personality, life experiences, skills, talents, work history and world view. We act, behave and influence others based on who we are – and what we have gone through in life.
How people work together can either happen by chance or by deliberate action. Culture allows us to find commonalities among our differences, to align the group’s focus on a single objective to achieve success.
I look forward to exploring company culture with you during the Engagement Lab: Culture Audit at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23 during the ALTA One conference in Austin, Texas.
Grubb helped grow the company into the nation’s largest independent underwriter that does not compete with agents and will remain on the company’s Board of Directors LONGMONT, Colo. (Sept. 25, 2019) – Alliant National Title Insurance Co. announced today that Bob Grubb has been named the Vice-Chairman of Presidio ATC Holdco, LLC, and has passed […]
Congratulations to Tim Tillman, Kim Bergner and Heather Huff on their new positions. LONGMONT, CO. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company (Alliant National) recently announced the appointments of three employees. Tim Tillman, Alliant National’s new Florida Production Manager Six years ago this month, Tim Tillman joined Alliant National as vice president, Tallahassee and Northwest […]
Vesa Tubbs will oversee the financial and statutory reporting and management of the accounting and finance department of Alliant National’s Longmont headquarters. LONGMONT, CO. – The largest title insurance underwriter in the nation with no direct operations to compete against its agents, Alliant National, announced Vesa Tubbs has been appointed as the company’s controller. Tubbs […]