Welcome to the August Edition of Virginia Title Center's Title Notes E-Blast.  It is our hope that you will find the information contained herein to be relevant and timely.  Please let us know what you think.  We want to hear from you.
Thank you,

Patti Dickerson
Director of Marketing & Communications
VTC Logo
August 2013
Title Notes E-Blast


Time is Running Out to Register!



Reviewing Title Commitments
and Title Policies

How to Read Them, Understand the Requirements, Exceptions, Exclusions
and Identify Potential Red Flags

August 27th at 2 pm
Don't Delay - Register Today!


Have you been seeking clarity as to what is disclosed in a title insurance commitment? Ever come across an exception on a title commitment and weren't sure exactly what it meant?  Wonder if an exception will jeopardize your title coverage?


A title commitment and policy may be one of the most important, yet most misunderstood documents in the real estate transaction. A few minutes reviewing the commitment is one of the best ways to prepare the way for a smooth transaction at the closing table. 


Join us for this interactive webinar to help clear up these questions and more, as well as help you gain a greater understanding about your client's title policy.


Presented by David S. Florio, Training Director at Investors Title Insurance Company.


Don't miss your chance to hear the latest on this hot topic. Reserve your FREE Webinar seat now!


A Little Background on David Florio 

As the current Training Director at Investors Title, David manages training programs designed to educate real estate professionals on the purpose of title insurance and its role in a real estate transaction, policy forms and available coverages, and underwriting practices used to provide insureds with the best possible title insurance coverage.  David delivers training courses that range from introductory topics relating to title insurance and underwriting to commercial underwriting certification courses to educational seminars for real estate partners.


David has held a variety of positions during his 14 year career with Investors Title.  As an Underwriting Support Representative, he supported the issuing offices in the entire Investors Title footprint by fielding high volumes of underwriting and risk related questions and by providing solutions for resolving title issues to ensure smooth real estate closings.  As Underwriting Auditor for the Company, David reviewed the practices of title agencies to ensure that policies and guidelines were properly implemented.  And as an Operations Representative in numerous states, David managed the day-to-day operations of several agencies. 


David graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor's Degree in History and is a Licensed Title Insurance Underwriter.



Managing and Assessing Environmental Risk Associated with Real Property Used as Collateral 



While brownfields, commercial, and industrial properties have a higher likelihood of contamination than residential or new development, all real estate, regardless of use, can pose environmental risk. 


For lending institutions, environmental risk is an important consideration in evaluating overall credit risk.  Environmental issues can (among other concerns) impact borrower financial stability, limit property use and development, disrupt site access, create bodily and property injury liability associated with the collateral or other properties, and damage a bank's reputation, brand and image. 


There are ways banks can assess and limit exposure to environmental risk associated with collateral, including proper site assessment, lender liability protections and programs, and contractual agreements.


In the September FREE webinar, Williams Mullen environmental attorney Lynne Rhode will discuss these issues and answer your questions about managing environmental risk associated with property used as collateral.


Lynne C. Rhode, Attorney

Williams Mullen

Read More About Lynne's Background

With experience in all aspects of environmental law, Lynne Rhode can help you or your business work through all issues relating to the environment. She can help you comply with federal and state regulations and guide you through the permitting process. She has worked on projects related to brownfields redevelopment, water development, and alternative and renewable energy. She has also worked on issues regarding waste management issues, all appropriate inquiry in real estate transactions, and environmental litigation.  Lynne also has experience in general complex litigation, energy, local government and land use, government affairs, and animal law matters.


Lynne has been recognized for her accomplishments in her environmental law practice by several publications. She has been named a Virginia Leading Lawyer in Environmental Law by Chambers USA and a Virginia "Rising Star" in Environmental & Natural Resources by Virginia Super Lawyers. She was also given the 2009 James C. Roberts Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono Award. In 2011, she served on the Department of Environmental Quality's Combustion Regulatory Advisory Panel.


Lynne received an M.S. from The London School of Economics, her J.D. from the University of Virginia, and her B.A. from the University of North Carolina.

Be watching for more details and registration information in future communications. 

In that time, a lot has changed.

Download your free copy of "CFPB: A Look at the First Two Years."

It has been two years since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) opened its doors. In that time, a lot has changed. New mortgage forms have been proposed for use at closings, and new lending standards have been finalized and are ready for lenders to implement. The CFPB also effectively changed the lender/title agent relationship when it issued a bulletin outlining financial institutions' responsibility to oversee their third-party service providers.


In the midst of all this activity, the CFPB has made great efforts to be a transparent agency. For the past two years, representatives have brought insight to attendees at the National Settlement Services Summit.


The Legal Description has produced this free special edition, sponsored by RedVision, to provide an inside look at the issues that have been addressed in the last two years, as well as the issues that will remain a focus as the CFPB enters its third year.


The report provides in-depth coverage on the following:

  • Lender liability issues
  • Mortgage disclosures
  • Qualified mortgages
  • Affiliated business arrangements
  • Marketing agreements
  • UDAAP supervision
  • ...and more!

Click here to download your FREE copy of the Special Edition published by The Legal Description.

How much do you know about USDA Single Family Housing Loans and Grants?
Single Family Housing Programs provide homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income rural Americans through several loan, grant, and loan guarantee programs.
The programs also make funding available to individuals to finance vital improvements necessary to make their homes decent, safe, and sanitary.
Visit the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development website to learn more about the variety of options available to assist your clients in low- and moderate census tracks. You may also contact the local Rural Development office in your area.
Investors Title Company Announces Second Quarter 2013 Results



Investors Title Company announced its results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2013. Net income attributable to the Company increased 19.6%, or $1.92 per diluted share, compared with $1.57 per diluted share, for the prior year quarter.


Revenues increased 29.2% versus the prior year quarter, primarily due to a 30.9% increase in net premiums written. The premium growth reflects substantially higher levels of purchase transactions, as well as increases in average home values in many parts of the nation, driven by improvements in the overall economy. Refinance volume was also up slightly as interest rates remained near historically low levels.


Operating expenses increased 29.6% versus the prior year quarter, primarily due to increases in agent commissions and other variable expenses which fluctuate with premium volumes. Claims expense was higher than the prior year quarter, but both periods were abnormally low due to adjustments for favorable loss development. Favorable claims expense trends are also impacted by the absence of large fraud-related claims in recent years, as well as an increase in business in states with historically lower loss provision rates. The increase in payroll expense was largely driven by higher staffing levels to support ongoing software development initiatives.


For the six months ended June 30, 2013, net income attributable to the Company increased 54.4%, or $3.54 per diluted share, compared with $2.24 per diluted share, for the prior year period. Revenues increased 24.8% and operating expenses increased 19.1% versus the prior year period. Results for the first half of the year have been shaped predominantly by the same factors that affected the second quarter.


Chairman J. Allen Fine added, "After a lengthy period of sluggishness in the economy, we are pleased to see the recent increase in home sales, as well as a developing trend of overall increases in real estate prices. Both of these factors, coupled with an active mortgage refinance market, contributed to all-time high revenue for the second quarter. With housing affordability still favorable and consumer confidence improving, we are optimistic that recent trends in home sales will continue. Over the long term, we remain focused on enhancing our competitive strengths and capitalizing on opportunities to profitably expand our market presence."


For more information, please visit the Investors Title Company website.

What can I expect once I have filed a claim in writing?
Investors Title Insurance Company will provide a written acknowledgment of claim usually within two (2) business days of having received the claims notice. New claims may be forwarded to [email protected]. The acknowledgment will contain the name and contact information for the claims administrator assigned to the claim. After your claim has been received and acknowledged, the claims administrator will immediately begin assembling information. Once a file has been created, the claim will be investigated. Note: If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your claim within one week of filing your written claim, please contact the claims department immediately.
What does the investigation of my claim involve?
First, the claim will be investigated for coverage. The length of time required to complete the investigation varies greatly depending on the nature of the claim and the quality and quantity of the information provided by the claimant. If coverage exists for the claim, repair/resolution options will be evaluated. If there is no coverage for the claim, you will be notified in writing.
How will my claim get resolved?
The policy provides that Investors Title Insurance Company has several options to repair or to resolve a claim. For example, Investors Title Insurance Company may choose to:
  1. Seek to repair and/or restore the claimant to the title position as insured by the policy.
  2. Negotiate a settlement, or pay the claim against the title.
  3. Prosecute or defend a court case related to the claim.
  4. Pay the insured the amount required by the policy.
  5. Take other action which will protect the insured.
  6. Cancel the policy by paying the policy amount and costs in accordance with the terms of the policy.
Review of policy terms and conditions provided on the policy jacket is recommended for a more complete discussion of claim resolution.
How long will it take to resolve my claim?
The length of time to repair or resolve the claim will depend on the nature of the claim.
Who do I call if I have questions regarding my claim?
The written acknowledgement of the claim will contain the name and contact information for the assigned claims administrator. Please contact the administrator with specific questions regarding your claim. NOTE: Do not contact the claims department for specific questions regarding your claim until you have filed your claim in writing and have received an acknowledgment of the claim.
Can I receive legal advice from Investors Title Insurance Company?
No. Investors Title Insurance Company is not able to provide you with legal advice. If you feel you need legal advice, and an attorney has not been retained on your behalf, we suggest you seek the advice of an attorney.


Contact Bobby Fothergill  - VTC Agency Manager for more information about the claims filing process.

The Role of the Settlement Agent
by Gina Webster, Manager -- Settlement Services and Agency Operations Support
Investors Title Insurance Company
In a real estate closing, the settlement agent is responsible for coordinating the transaction to ensure a smooth, error-free closing. They will handle all the details necessary to get the file ready for closing, including:
  • Scheduling the closing
  • Obtaining payoffs, hazard insurance, and any items needed to satisfy the requirements of the loan and title commitment
  • Preparing the HUD-1 Settlement Statement
  • Disbursing the settlement funds
  • Coordinating recording of the documents

The role of the settlement agent is critical and attention to detail is a must. The settlement agent must be patient, flexible, and prepared to deal with any issues that may arise during the closing process. If disputes arise at closing, the settlement agent may act as a mediator to assist in resolving the issue; however, the settlement agent must remain neutral and be prepared to postpone the closing should the parties not be able to resolve the issue at hand.


When preparing for closing, the settlement agent must remain in constant contact with all involved parties to ensure that the transaction continues to move forward and notify all parties of any issues that arise along the way that may delay the closing.  Communication is the key to a successful closing.


We value your feedback on the level of customer service you are experiencing with our Settlement Team.  Please share your experiences or recommendations for improvement with Brandy Wimer, VTC Settlement Services Manager.

Benefits of Using the Mechanics' Lien Agent Procedure versus the Long Form Lien Waiver Procedure
provided by Gail Duffy, Title Services Manager, Virginia Title Center 


Looking for the best procedure to ensure a smooth and more economical process for acquiring a title policy on residential construction loans?


We encourage attorneys, settlement agents and lenders alike to suggest that their clients apply for the Building Permit once the loan is approved and designating a Mechanics' Lien Agent thereon. Virginia Title Center can serve in this capacity.


By making such application and providing a copy of the correctly completed permit at closing, together with the other requisite items set forth in the Commitment for mechanics' lien coverage (see below), the title policy can be issued in a timely manner, rather than being held up or paying additional special risk premium(s) for not complying with all such requirements. 


This also applies to requests for draw endorsements which can be provided upon receipt if all requirements are satisfied. This is where the time and cost savings really come in to play, whereas if the Long Form Procedure is used, each sub-contractor must sign the waiver at the time of draw.


Underwriting Guidelines for Mechanics' Lien Agent Procedures

  • Designation of a Mechanic's Lien Agent in writing by the owner of the real estate;
  • Receipt of Building Permit showing MLA designation and assurance the permit was posted in compliance with Va. Code Ann. 43.4.01;
  • Receipt of satisfactory, notarized Affidavit and Agreement Regarding Liens and Indemnity also signed by general contractor and borrower.     

Want to learn more about the Mechanics' Lien Agent Procedure and how it can benefit you and your clients?  Email Gail Duffy, or call any VTC Underwriter at 1-800-468-5811. 


One or Two Spaces Between Sentences?


Were you taught that double spacing after each sentence is appropriate in every situation?


You may be surprised to learn that including two spaces between sentences may not be the correct approach to take. The "double-spacing rule" came about in an attempt to make type easier to read on certain formats, but, from around 1950, single spacing became standard in books, magazines, and newspapers.


Most modern sources indicate that double spacing is incorrect although it may be utilized for stylistic purposes or when typing on a typewriter which spaces characters without regard to font type.


With the introduction of fonts in computers which account for spacing, double sentence spacing became obsolete, according to many experts. These proportional fonts now assign appropriate horizontal space to each character (including punctuation marks). The debate continues, however, on which convention is more readable, and the few recent direct studies conducted since 2002 have produced inconclusive results.


It seems that single spacing between sentences is appropriate in most situations.

Did you know that, pursuant to Item Number 4 under Schedule A of your Master Home Equity Loan Title Insurance Policy (MHELP), an advance made to a borrower on an equity loan after the first ten years from funding or recording, whichever is later, is not covered under the MHELP?


The insurance on a particular loan must be renewed every 10 years in order to continue coverage under the policy for funds disbursed after the initial 10 year term.


To renew the insurance coverage for a particular loan under the MHELP product, the insured must send a request for a renewal at which time a renewal confirmation along with an invoice for the additional premium must be issued.


"Just wanted to let you know that Steve Wagner and I really appreciate staff members at the Virginia Title Center like Pamela Blake. She addresses questions or issues quickly, provides thorough information for questions, and always handles herself in a professional manner. It's a pleasure working with someone like Pamela. Wish there were more workers like her. Please let her know how much we appreciate all of the hard work she does."


Ginger Whitlock

Wagner & Huber, PLC

Blacksburg, Virginia


Visit the VTC testimonials page on our website to view additional client comments.


Laura Lesando,

Title Insurance Underwriter

Laura Lesando, Title Insurance Underwriter


Laura will be celebrating her 20th Anniversary as an Underwriter with VTC on September 13!


Regardless of the length of time, Laura believes each day still brings something new to learn, get familiar or reacquainted with, since the requirements and regulations requisite to title insurance change constantly and success is in making sure they're understood and met.


At home, Laura's 3 cats allow her to spoil them silly whenever they want. Since she is an avid pro football fan, they pretend to be neglected on Sundays from September through the Super Bowl.


So, if you'd like to discuss football scuttlebutt, Animal Planet's latest "My Cat from Hell" episode (which one of hers could star in), just what annoys you the most about "Dancing with the Stars," or yes, title insurance, she's ready!


Send Laura a note to wish her Happy 20th Anniversary with VTC!


Click here to view information about other members of the VTC team.


**Remember to offer your borrowers Owners' Coverage on their most valuable investment. It's a one time premium with a lifetime of security. In addition, they will receive a reduced premium rate when they obtain it simultaneously with your Lender's Coverage.**

What Topics Are On Your Mind?

Virginia Title Center wants to provide you with pertinent information in future E-Blasts and Webinars. What questions are on your mind regarding the real estate and mortgage lending industry? What Hot Topics would you like to receive greater insights and clarity? Send Patti your thoughts.
Patti L. Dickerson                                      
Director of Marketing & Communications
Virginia Title Center, LLC
"where going the extra mile
     is nothing extra at all..."

Give Patti a call today!
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4502 Starkey Road, Suite 200, Roanoke, VA 24018
20 Bobby's Way, Suite 101, Staunton, VA 24401