Wednesday, June 06, 2012

lost policy and title agents are out of business...what to do...what to do?


I came across you website in surfing the net trying to find info on obtaining an owners title policy that I cannot find. 

How do I get a copy of my policy ??  I have an endorsement page from Chicago Title but do not have the other parts of the policy(it is officially stamped and has pres. Signatures).  I am doing a re-fi right now and would like the re-issue credit. I have called Chicago title and they say there records do not go back that far to 1997.

Chicago title is telling me that the paper is just an endorsement and without the other papers they cannot send me a new policy. I told them that if I had the policy I would not be calling them.

The title company that performed the closing is out of business by mismanagement(Flagler Title)
I have two first pages of the hud not the second crucial page that may have listed the company.

I do have a survey from 2005 that lists Chicago Title as the underwriter and Olympia Title was the title company. I called Olympia and they cannot find any records. 

If no one has a record how can I protect my house against any title defects ? without purchasing a new policy ? I would think I would have to have a policy as I  re-financed in 2005. But the title in that one I think is the lenders . I did manage to track some down from that hud and called but those companies say no policy as well. Lender First Choice which is now out of business . They were pretty big.  I called the companies that were their major underwriters but no luck.

How do I know if I am getting the run around. Why would their records not go back that far especially since it is the reason they exist is to protect title . Some people never move or re-fi .

Any suggestions are welcome.



Hi, J:  This is one of the weaknesses in our system of title insurance.  They rely on the consumer to retain copies and that just doesn't make sense to me.  

You've got two issues here:
1.  getting evidence of owner coverage
2.  getting that reissue discount

You may want to contact the state department of insurance to find out what the requirements are to be eligible for the reissue rate. If you were in Pennsylvania, we would not need a copy of your policy to give you the discount.  We could base the eligibility on the date of your last transaction and even that will change on July 1. They may be able to use the information from your last refinance.

As for the owner policy, without at least a copy of the HUD showing evidence of payment of an owner policy premium, it's hard to say if Chicago would honor it.  On the other hand, you have an endorsement in hand.  Look very carefully at that endorsement.  It should give the policy number and insurance companies do keep track of the policy numbers.  When a title agent goes out of business they audit the policy numbers assigned to that agency and account for each one.  Someone has to have that record. If it doesn't have a policy number it may not be a valid endorsement and you're back to square one.

I think at that point the best you can do is file complaints with the Department of Insurance and perhaps the Attorney General.  Your insurance agent seems to have taken your money and not given you a policy.  They were authorized to do business by one of the big underwriters and if nothing can be done for you, perhaps you can help improve the regulations in your state for other consumers.  Good luck and thanks for reading.  ;)


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