“A New Breed of Insurance Company”

“A New Breed of Insurance Company”

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal published a second piece covering OneTitle’s launch, new business model, and changes in the industry.

Key highlights:

A new breed of insurance company is promising discounts on a type of policy many home buyers don’t even realize they need: title insurance.

Almost everyone who buys a house also purchases title insurance. Mortgage lenders generally require that borrowers buy a so-called lender’s policy. Owners can buy a separate policy for themselves. The insurers determine if there is clear ownership of the property and offer protection if someone later claims an ownership interest in it.

Title insurance can cost hundreds of dollars for modest houses and thousands for multimillion-dollar properties. Yet many home buyers don’t focus on the product, or the price, until they sit down at the closing. There often is little incentive to shop around, as established insurers typically charge similar premiums and some states set or cap prices. Consumers tend to rely on a mortgage broker, real-estate agent or lawyer to connect them with a title insurer.

Now upstart insurers and agencies are challenging the status quo. [OneTitle is] marketing directly to consumers on the Internet, offering online quotes to home buyers who plug in basic information about the property, such as location, purchase price and loan amount. And they are offering savings of up to 35% off what established firms charge.

OneTitle National Guaranty… recently started offering policies in New York state. The state’s often-high regulatory hurdles make it an insurance-industry bellwether.

Here’s a link to the coverage.