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Title Industry Responds to COVID-19: Our Title Is Protection

Title insurance professionals take pride in protecting their customers by ensuring that their home is theirs when they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the title insurance industry has stepped up even more to help their communities. Whether it’s volunteerism, or innovation to get deals closed during this time of social distancing, the title industry is here to provide protection today, tomorrow, and forever.

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A Good Time to Catch Up

My Perspective

By Frank Pellegrini

Summer is here, and that’s always a good time to evaluate the year so far and give some thought to the near term future as we hurtle toward 2019.

What’s happened this year:
New Illinois disclosure rule delayed again- The Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation was set to implement its new rule regarding the Disclosure of Financial Interest form on July 1, when the courts swooped in after a lawsuit was filed by Attorneys’ Title and joined by ILTA. The Illinois Land Title Association reported on June 29:

The court issued a Temporary Restraining Order today enjoining the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation from implementing its new proposed DS-1 Disclosure Form. … Absent further action by the Court or a settlement with the Department, the TRO will remain in effect until the Court considers the case on the merits at a preliminary injunction hearing that is scheduled to begin on September 26.

In Springfield
During the spring state legislative session, a budget was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor – a minor miracle in and of itself – while two bills of interest to the real estate community also became law. One bill legislates predictive recording fees for Cook County, while the other limits the selection of title insurance and settlement services and the splitting of title policies in any residential transaction (“bifurcation”).

On the federal front
After many fits and starts, updates to DoddFrank are now law, to the applause of many in our industry. Unfortunately, there’s been no movement forward on the House-passed bipartisan ALTA-supported legislation that corrects the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance premiums on the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures. As we grind toward the November election, odds will fade that the Senate will take up and pass this bill, but there’s still hope.

The real estate market
The elephant in the room, of course, has been the residential real estate market, particularly the lack of housing available for purchase. I can’t recall a time when the housing market was so bogged down despite a pretty good national economic growth pace – and I’ve been in this business a long time.

We need more inventory for sale and more buyers at the lower end of the market, millennials especially, to really get things moving. Unfortunately, no one can say definitively when the residential situation will change. The MReport noted recently that listed homes are moving more quickly – in June homes were listed an average of 54 days, six days fewer than a year ago. But that’s just a glimmer. We remain hopeful that the market will gain momentum soon.

In the meantime, we are working continuously to improve our services, the processes we use to turn your transactions around quickly and without error, and, as always, we work every day to safeguard our business and the information you entrust to us.

As examples, you’ll read in this issue about the digital pen technology we have incorporated into our business, and you’ll find email tips that will help keep your business secure. You’ll also read Five Fast Questions answered by Maria Cristiano and Louis Scannicchio, two of our attorneys who work tirelessly to bring your transactions to a successful close.

Happy summer to all! Enjoy those trips to the beach, baseball games, barbeques and family get-togethers. Let’s hope the fall brings good news to the housing market.

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This story first appeared in the third quarter 2018 edition of Assurance News from Prairie Title.
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