Saturday, February 23, 2013

Properties owned by William P. Foley and the Foley Family

One of the things I found very interesting with my claim was that it was transferred from Walnut Creek California to Chicago and then Omaha and an appraiser from Boise Idaho was hired to value the property and the loss.

It seemed that no one who dealt with the claim was even vaguely familiar with the area.  Yet in my research of Mr. William P. Foley II and Foley Family Wines, I discovered that held in title by either Mr. Foley and his wife or Foley Family Wines is approximately half a dozen properties in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

And as I mapped out their properties (indicated with the orange arrows) I discovered that they encircle the property that was the subject of the claim.

So although Mr. Foley was not involved in the processing of my claim - there was at least one person with Fidelity National Title who I think I can assume if familiar with the area.  I wonder if he lost an almost mile long easement to one of his properties if he would think that the value was $0??  And I wonder if he had to make a title claim if he would chose Jim Gibson from Boise Idaho to compare his properties to American Canyon??  Definitely a couple of interesting questions.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Another with a similar experience with Fidelity National Title

I received a phone call today from someone who began the conversation with "I am your Number One Fan!"

I was driving part of the Sonoma Varsity Softball team to a pre-season game in Napa so had to put him on hold - but it was not easy as he so wanted to share his experience.  What I can say is at this point until I have the time to connect with him and hear his whole story (I did just call and left him a message) that I have found a kindred spirit with someone who has had a similar experience with Fidelity National Title.

When I say that I had to put him on hold - I mean that almost literally as considering the topic of conversation and my own emotional feelings about the subject - I did not feel safe driving my own and other people's children and talking about either his experience or mine with Fidelity National Title.  But LOL - it was very apparent that as I do with this blog - he has a lot to say and a need to say it.

I can hardly wait to hear his story and he suggested perhaps assembling a group of  individuals that have had a similar experience with Fidelity National Title - that there is strength in numbers.

I am not sure exactly how to put together a group so that we can maintain our privacy within the group but as soon as I finish this blog post - I will see what I can come up with.  Obviously though - finding me is not too difficult !!!!  And I certainly welcome others with a similar experience to join in the conversation.

If you do not feel comfortable writing - I am more than willing to help.  For all of you who read this - and there is an ever increasing number - I have a gift for gab and will help write for you.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Staying at William Foley's Rock Creek Cattle Company

I thought it would be interesting to perhaps stay at the same place that the Fidelity executives stay - but it is not quite in my budget !!!!!

These are just the lowest priced accommodations - and I cannot even afford one night.

Friday, February 15, 2013

FNF Employee Stock Purchase Plan

Another excerpt from the 2011 FNF Proxy Statement:

"Employee Stock Purchase Plan

We sponsor an Employee Stock Purchase Plan, which we refer to as the ESPP, which provides a program through which our executives and employees can purchase shares of our common stock through payroll deductions and through matching employer contributions. Participants may elect to contribute between 3%  nd 15% of their salary into the ESPP through payroll deduction.
At the end of each calendar quarter, we make a matching contribution to the account of each participant who has been continuously employed by us or a participating subsidiary for the last four calendar quarters. For most employees, matching contributions are equal to 1/3 of the amount contributed during the quarter that is one year earlier than the quarter in which the matching contribution is made. For officers, including our named executive officers, and for employees who have completed at least ten consecutive years of employment with us, the matching contribution is 1/2 of such amount. The matching contributions, together with the employee deferrals, are used to purchase shares of our common stock on the open market."

I think the loyalty of an employee who has ownership in the company can be swayed to the protection of their own net worth.  I would think that there would be a conflict of interest.  If a claim is filed, found to be valid and then paid it would reduce the overall profitability of the company.  If a claim is found to be valid but is then valued at $0 the value of the profitability of the company and consequently of its stock is higher than if the claim was valued at a greater amount.

At least this makes sense to me.

This was actually one of the things that we asked for information on that was not provided.  Thank goodness for the internet!!!

So which of the FNF precepts do I find interesting???

Per the letter from Mr. Foley

The six precepts are:

Autonomy and Entrepreneurship
Bias for Action
Customer-Oriented and Motivated
Minimize Bureaucracy
Employee Ownership
Highest Standard of Conduct


Customer-Oriented and Motivated
The last thing that I felt was that anyone employed by Fidelity was Customer-Oriented and Motivated.  As a matter of fact I felt that not only was I not at the bottom of the totem pole - I felt like I was not even on it!!!

Employee Ownership
Well I have discussed this before and will again in the next post.  I felt that there was definitely a different motivation in handling my claim other than me - the customer.  I suspect it had to do with Employee Ownership.

Highest Standard of Conduct
Well I do not feel that anyone I dealt with after the filing of the claim was performing with the Highest Standard of Conduct at least in regards to me - the customer.

So forgive me if I find these precepts as they relate to FNF employees amusing (and everyone I dealt with from my escrow officer through the last Fidelity attorneys, Richard McNeely and Edward Kunnes had email address that ended identically with "" so I am assuming hopefully correctly that they were all FNF employees.)

FNF Code of Ethics caused me belly laughs

From the Proxy statement mentioned in previous post

Below is excerpt about the Code of Ethics that is supposed to govern FNF employees.  All I can say reading this is that I am experiencing belly laughs.  Now I know from my Settlement Meeting with Richard McNeely and Edward Kunnes, Mr. Kunnes would most likely not approve of my laughing...............when I tried to interject a little levity into the conference he informed me it was not appropriate.  Because of this I believe he would not find my laughing at reading the following appropriate either.  But I cannot help myself!!!

Code of Ethics and Business Conduct

Our board has adopted a Code of Ethics for Senior Financial Officers, which is applicable to our Chief Executive Officer, our Chief Financial Officer and our Chief Accounting Officer, and a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which is applicable to all our directors, officers and employees. The purpose of these codes is to:
 (i) promote honest and ethical conduct, including the ethical handling of conflicts of interest;
(ii) promote full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable disclosure;
(iii) promote compliance with applicable laws and governmental rules and regulations;
(iv) ensure the protection of our legitimate business interests, including corporate opportunities, assets and confidential information; and
(v) deter wrongdoing.
Our codes of ethics were adopted to reinvigorate and renew our commitment to our longstanding standards for ethical business practices. Our reputation for integrity is one of our most important assets and each of our employees and directors is expected to contribute to the care and preservation of that asset. Under our codes of ethics, an amendment to or a waiver or modification of any ethics policy applicable to our directors or executive officers must be disclosed to the extent required under Securities and Exchange Commission and/or New York Stock Exchange rules. We intend to disclose any such amendment or waiver by posting it on the Investor Relations page of our website at

From the FNF Code of Business Conduct and Ethics
(September 2010)

A Message from
William P. Foley, II, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dear Fellow FNF Employees:

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. has developed six core values that represent the cornerstone of our management philosophy for operational success. I challenge each of you to use these precepts as a foundation for every decision you make in the workplace.

The six precepts are:
Autonomy and Entrepreneurship
Bias for Action
Customer-Oriented and Motivated
Minimize Bureaucracy
Employee Ownership
Highest Standard of Conduct

As indicated by our sixth precept, “Highest Standard of Conduct,” we are all expected to maintain the highest standard of business conduct and ethics. To achieve this objective, we are each responsible for behaving in a manner that reflects positively on both our personal reputation and the reputation of our company.
This Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is a resource for applying our values and ensuring a consistent understanding of what FNF expects of you and what our customers, business partners, and shareholders expect of us. It is intended to help resolve compliance and ethics issues by providing you with the information, tools and resources necessary to make good, ethical decisions. However, no code can provide answers for every situation that may arise. In the end, we rely on you to use sound judgment to make the right decision and to do the right thing.
It is important to read this Code to understand your role and responsibilities as an FNF employee.
Thank you for doing your part to ensure our ongoing success and our adherence to the Highest Standards of
William P. Foley, II
Chairman of the Board of Directors

and from p. 16 of that document

Do the Right Thing
• Deal fairly with customers, shareholders, regulators,
agents, business partners, service providers,
suppliers, competitors, and employees.
• Do not take unfair advantage of anyone
through manipulation, concealment, abuse of
privileged information or misrepresentation of
material facts.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. Proxy Statement

I wanted to make sure that I was reporting accurately in the previous blog post and I found the actual proxy statement - and I skimmed it but found so many interesting things.  To me this excerpt, for example, means that in spite of a projected decline in mortgage originations (income) they are committed to their stockholders to protect the profits.  Got that.  How??????

Fidelity National Financial, Inc.
601 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32204


We came into 2011 facing a significant projected decline in mortgage originations. Despite the challenging market outlook,we committed to taking the necessary actions to protect our margins and to maintain industry leadership in profitability. During fiscal 2011, under the leadership of our named executive officers, our Company performed well.

In 2011, we generated $414.8 million in pre-tax earnings on $4.8 billion in revenue. We also returned $105.1 million to our shareholders in the form of dividends and repurchased 5,419,850 shares of our common stock.

Our compensation programs, which emphasize pay for performance, are designed to help us accomplish our business objectives and to foster a high performance culture. Accordingly, our named executive officers' 2011 cash incentives under the FNF annual incentive plan were tied directly to the achievement of pre-established, objectively determinable goals relating to two key measures of our success: return on equity (ROE) and pre-tax margin relating to our title segment.

Our strong earnings in 2011 resulted in the compensation earned under the FNF annual incentive plan paying out at or near maximum levels.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fidelity paid Rock Creek Cattle Company $453,382 for executive vacations????

Per executive bios, Mr. Foley:

"Bill enjoys his time as a vintner and is the founder and managing partner of Foley Family Wines, headquartered in Sonoma, California. Most recently, Bill formed and serves as Chairman of Glacier Restaurant Group, LLC, the largest restaurant business headquartered in Montana. He is also the developer of Rock Creek Cattle Company, an 80,000-acre working Montana ranch, featuring a high-end golf community with diverse homesteads, a well-appointed lodge for recreation and dining, and an exceptional golf course designed by Tom Doak. "

On there was an article by Daniel Fisher on 6/27/2012 entitled "The Most Outrageous Executive Perks."

The Most Outrageous Executive Perks

"And then there’s the Executive Dude Ranch. Fidelity National Financial is in one of the world’s most boring businesses – title insurance – but its executives found time to kick up their heels to the tune of $453,382 last year at the Rock Creek Cattle Co., a 28,000-acre “working Montana ranch” that just happens to be owned by Fidelity’s chairman, William P. Foley II.
The choice was natural: Foley grew up in the Texas Panhandle and probably draws comfort from the aw-shucks environment of his cattle ranch, where the website says “most introductions still start with a slight tip of the hat and a firm handshake.” Fidelity also spent $55,000 at wineries and restaurants and a hotel owned by Foley, who earned $12.5 million last year."
To confirm this I did more searches and found the same statistics cited many times including in South Florida CityBizList 

Fidelity National’s William Foley II Among CEOs with ‘Outrageous Perks’

The way I understand this - when the value of the loss of my almost mile long easement in Napa California was valued at $0 by an appraiser from Boise Idaho so that my loss for which I paid for title insurance for from Fidelity, the premiums which I paid and others paid for was used to pay for Fidelity's executives to visit Mr. Foley's Rock Creek Cattle Company to the tune of almost half a million dollars????

I think I have this right??  I am assuming that since they did settle the claim for an amount although not equal to the loss in my opinion still substantially more than the premium that there was indeed a loss although no acknowledgment of such.  But at the same time perks were given to Fidelity executives that were paid by Fidelity to companies owned by Mr. Foley?  This seems a little odd to me but then - I obviously do not understand the workings and compensation packages enjoyed by Fidelity executives.  I certainly do not get perks like this from my company although it would be nice!!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Does Fidelity National Title stay "focused on the customer"?

I read that according to a November 1992 article in California Business , Mr. Foley stated, "It takes years to get the business, one deal at a time. But once you get it, you have customers for life, as long as you treat them properly."

Per Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed.
Reference for Business to Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd e. to F-L to William P. foley II 1944-Biography

"Foley ascribed his success to one core principle: staying focused on the customer."

I began working in the real estate industry in 1992 and it was at that time that my relationship with Fidelity National Title began.  For the next ten years Fidelity was my preferred title company for my own real estate transactions and I referred dozens of clients to Fidelity National Title for their real estate transactions and to have their property protected.

So am I a customer for life?  Absolutely not.  I would never use Fidelity National Title again.

Was I treated properly?  In my opinion I do not think so.  When a claim was opened on my behalf by an employee of Fidelity I was dumped all over the country from office to office and claims counsel to claims counsel and it was finally determined by an appraiser from Boise Idaho that my Wine Country California property loss was worth nothing.  I do not believe that all of the data I went to the Claims Counsels was even read by them.

Do I feel that Fidelity National Title stayed focused on me as the customer?  Absolutely not.  I believe that the focus of the individuals that I dealt with was focused on how to not pay the claim and preserve the bottom line or profit of the company.  I do not know this for a fact but this is what I feel happened.  The one thing I can say without hesitation is that as soon as my claim was sent to the various claims offices the focus was definitely on something else besides me - the customer.

So what happened in the last 20 years?  Is Mr. Foley even aware of how his employees now treat customers if they have a claim?  Did he read my letter or did anyone who works for him read it?  (I kind of doubt it as I did not hear from him.  Plus what I wrote was not read by the various claims counsels so why would I ever imagine that this letter would be read??)

I felt that I was a valued customer as long as Fidelity National Title was taking my money and the money of my clients as premiums but I did not feel like I was a valued customer as soon as a claim was opened on my behalf by a Fidelity employee.  It appeared that as soon as some money would have to be paid to me I fell off the value wagon and remained that way through the end of the Settlement Conference.  I was made to feel that I was the one responsible for the errors made in my title and grant deed.


From Biography on Willaim P. Foley II

William P. Foley, II is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF), and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors for Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (NYSE: FIS).
Currently ranked number 366 on Fortune’s list of America’s largest companies, FNF provides title insurance, specialty insurance, claims management and information services. FNF also is a leading provider of outsourced claims management services to large corporate and public sector entities through its minority-owned subsidiary, Sedgwick CMS. Another FNF minority-owned subsidiary, Ceridian Corporation, is a leading information services company in the human resource, retail and transportation industries. In 2004, the company was selected by Forbes as one of the “26 Best Managed Companies in the U.S.” and has repeatedly been named to Fortune’s list of America’s Most Admired Companies, Forbes’ list of the World’s Best Companies and selected for Barron’s list of Best Companies for Investors.

Listed on the S&P 500® index, FIS is a global provider of core processing for financial institutions; card issuer and transaction processing; and related information products and outsourcing. FIS has been named the number one overall financial technology provider in the world by American Banker and by the research firm Financial Insight in the FinTech 100 rankings®.

After receiving his B.S. degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Bill served in the U.S. Air Force, where he attained the rank of Captain. He received an M.B.A. degree from Seattle University and earned his J.D. degree in 1974 from the University of Washington School of Law. From 1974 to 1984, Bill practiced law in Phoenix, Arizona, and focused primarily on corporate and real estate law. Following his legal tenure, Bill became affiliated with FNF. Through strategic acquisitions, Bill led FNF to become one of the largest title insurance companies in the nation, as well as to diversify into information services through the 2003 acquisition of ALLTEL Information Services, now Lender Processing Services (NYSE: LPS).

Bill devotes time to many educational and community organizations. He serves as an advisory board member for the University of Washington School of Law, the Florida Forum Advisory Board for Wolfson Children’s Hospital Women’s Board. Bill also serves Chapman University School of Law both as a member of the Dean’s Council and as an Endowed Chair of the William Foley Chair in Corporate Law & Taxation. In 1997, he was chosen as Orange County, California’s Business Person of The Year, honored with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Semper Fidelis award and inducted into the Florida Council of Economic Education’s First Coast Business Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bill and his wife, Carol, are active philanthropists for many causes, especially those in support of children’s education. Bill serves as a Trustee on the Boards of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. His additional professional directorships include Winter Sports, Inc. and Remy International, Inc.

In addition to his numerous professional and philanthropic commitments, Bill is an accomplished golfer, ranked in 2004 by Golf Digest as one of the top five executive golfers in the world. Bill enjoys his time as a vintner and is the founder and managing partner of Foley Family Wines, headquartered in Sonoma, California. Most recently, Bill formed and serves as Chairman of Glacier Restaurant Group, LLC, the largest restaurant business headquartered in Montana. He is also the developer of Rock Creek Cattle Company, an 80,000-acre working Montana ranch, featuring a high-end golf community with diverse homesteads, a well-appointed lodge for recreation and dining, and an exceptional golf course designed by Tom Doak.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Most Popular Posts about Fidelity National Title

I have been really busy working the last week and have not had a chance to post - plus I have been thinking about what should be my next posting topic.  So one thing that I have looked at was what has been my most popular posts - and I confess I am overwhelmed at the number of people who have visited this blog.  It is clear to me that insurance claims and in this case insurance claims with real estate property insurance companies is a topic that has great interest.  In light of this I will continue to post and research this hot topic.

My most visited post is the letter to President and CEO of Fidelity National Title William P. Foley II.  I find this very interesting and so for my next series of posts I will be researching Mr. Foley and providing as much information on him that appears to be accurate.  I should also comment that although it has been a month - not surprising - I have not received an answer from him.  I know he must be an extremely busy individual although I thought that he would have a staff that aided him in things like answering letters.  Oh well.

The next most visited post is Do Fidelity National Title Company Escrow Officers Sell Title Insurance.  A lot of this traffic comes from the discussion following this post.  But I still to some degree have the same question.  Is it really the Customer Service Representative really have the responsibility for "selling" the title insurance?  Or is it the escrow officer who receives the money on behalf of Fidelity National Title Insurance Company?  I know that I never (to my knowledge) spoke to anyone from Fidelity National Title Insurance Company about buying the title insurance so I wonder who (the actual physical person) sold me the title insurance?

And finally the next most popular post was Insurance Claims & Settlements.  This is a more generic post about insurance companies in general although I believe it is in some regards applicable to Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.  But how insurance companies settle claim - or do not settle claims - seems to be a topic of great interest and warrants more research.

Thank you again for all of your interest and I welcome anyone who has answers to the great number of questions I have posed for discussion.