Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why am I Writing this Blog about Fidelity National Title Insurance Company????

As a former licensed California Real Estate Broker and Architect, when I purchased this property I feel that I had more knowledge and experience than the normal purchaser of property.  I feel that I investigated all issues that were raised on the Preliminary Title Report issued by Fidelity National Title Company.  I trusted Fidelity National Title Insurance Group to protect my interests.

I was very surprised to learn:

  • The company who handled title, escrow, prepared the prelim and the grant deed (Fidelity National Title Company) was not the same company that provided the title insurance (Fidelity National Title Insurance Company)
  • How easily the claim was opened on my behalf by Fidelity's title officer - this made me very optimistic
  • That Fidelity National Title Insurance Company would hire an appraiser from Boise Idaho to value the loss of the easement
  • That no one from Fidelity National Title Insurance Company thought that it was unusual (until I pointed it out) that the appraiser from Boise Idaho determined a "cost to cure" value that to be honest is unrealistically low - but also to a different road to a different town in a different county.
  • That then this same appraiser from Boise Idaho would value the loss of an almost mile long easement to an 80 acre parcel in the Napa Valley at $0.
  • That for the most part none of the Claims Counsels who were, I thought, supposed to be representing my interests would even talk to me on the phone.  That indeed to get any response I had to contact the California Department of Insurance for assistance.
  • That the attorney for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company is apparently by his affirmative defenses going to argue that it is my fault that they insured Parcels Two, Three, Four and Five ????   (I am not sure about this but as a lay person this is how I read their affirmative defenses.)
So the reason I am writing this blog about my experience with Fidelity National Title Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.  Buyer beware.  Even if a claim is filed on your behalf by a title officer from Fidelity National Title Company, it appears that Fidelity National Title Insurance Company will do everything (move you from office to office, from Claims Counsel to Claims Counsel, present erroneous and misleading appraisals, etc.) to value the claim at $0 and wear you down.

And why would they do this?  Is it their job and/or loyalty to protect your interest in your property?  Or is it their job and/or loyalty to protect and/or insure their bottom line and by that I mean profit?  And as their [employee] "Stock ownership serves as a motivational force for Fidelity employees who recognize the Company's success is dependent upon their efforts and contributions,"  is this not a conflict in interest?  Does it not appear that it is beneficial to the stock holders that the less they pay in claims the higher the value of their stock will be?

The only thing I can say for certain is this entire situation is exhausting but if someone had to go through this horrible situation I am glad it is me and not one of my clients.  I have a different opinion and that is that my clients deserve the best representation and service and honesty and loyalty that I can possible provide for them.