The Title Report: “New York underwriter lowers prices with new business model”

Excerpts from a recent interview by The Title Report with Daniel Price and Vincent Danzi:

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Price and Senior Vice President and General Counsel Vincent Danzi spoke with The Title Report about how OneTitle’s new direct model offers savings in reduced policy rates and fees.

“We saw a real opportunity in the market to provide a superior level of service with a different business model and to drive significant savings—including lower filed rates and lower fees for all transactions—to our policyholders and partners including lenders, attorneys, developers and others,” said Dan Price, founder and chief executive officer.

“When Dan was first talking to me about OneTitle, several advantages to this model occurred to me,” Danzi said. “We are distinct from most other title providers dealing directly with the public in New York in that we are a fully regulated provider. When we provide title insurance, we are providing it directly through our OneTitle family of companies, which are regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

“It’s a sore spot for lenders across the county that they can’t get a closing protection letter in New York,” Danzi continued. “One intrinsic benefit of working with OneTitle is that a lender doesn’t have to be looking for that protection because they are dealing directly with a provider which is actively regulated and monitored as part of the insurer’s holding company system.”

OneTitle will be working directly with investors, developers, homeowners, attorneys and lenders to insure residential and commercial transactions. Price said OneTitle has no intention of using a network of title agents, but will instead work directly with purchasers, lenders and their attorneys and agents.

In addition to excellent customer service, there is a sharp decrease in fees on OneTitle’s title bill. Price said the company is not going to charge for bankruptcy searches, patriot act searches or usual FedEx and overnight delivery fees.

Transparency is also very important to OneTitle, according to Danzi.

“For those fees we do charge, we are able to document and substantiate every one,” Danzi said. “We can show that real things are getting done for any fee we charge and there are transparent disclosures about our lower fees and premiums from an early point in the process. We think the prompt disclosure of our lower premiums and fees, combined with accurate and timely disclosure of the consequently lower total settlement costs are going to help loan originators sell loans more easily and allow lenders to close their transactions more consistently.”

“A lot of the lenders and loan officers we talk to find it very compelling,” Price said. “They can differentiate themselves by lowering costs to their borrowers. There aren’t fees on the title bill that are hard to explain.”

Savings will also come in the form of lower policy rates. New York is a filed rate state, in which underwriters are required to file their rates and have those rates approved by the Department of Financial Services. Price said all of the company’s major competitors file one set of rates together as a collective organization. OneTitle files its own set of rates that are lower for title transactions.

“It’s very surprising to many people in and outside of New York that we can even do this,” Price said. “There’s a very common misperception that rates are set by law. That’s just not true. In New York, we were able to file and get approval for lower rates.”

Direct access is another feature of the business model. Lenders, attorneys and policyholders get direct access to the leadership team allowing for quicker and more efficient decision-making.

“I don’t think there are any companies doing it the way we approached it,” Price concluded. “At the moment we are licensed in New York, but our plan is to expand beyond New York.”

Read the full story here.