I have been in the business for 13 years, the bulk of those years have been spent within Small Title Agents. In short, Small Agents are different. We don’t have Order Entry Personal, HUD Prep Staff or Policy Officers… Small Agents have a “Donna” who does 13 different jobs before lunch and we have an “Annette” who searches, examines, types, closes, records and remits, while somehow finding the time to pay the office bills. Now I find myself an Owner of a Small Title Agency and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I surmise that there are three main challenges that, while shared by Large Agents and Underwriters are magnified by our size, the first of which is Time Management. I simply do not have the time to keep up on every legal debate that challenges the industry. My time is spent logging orders, attaining new business, typing commitments, closing loans… You get the picture. Small Agents are lucky if they get to eat lunch, or even dinner for that matter, yet alone find time in their day to keep up on the progress of the latest Senate Bill that could potentially affect their Agency.
The second problem I see is a Lack of Resources. Yes, we do fine. Bills are paid, payroll met, remittances up to date. The real issue is that our small size means our human resources are limited. When you’re a company of 4 or 5 people, a busy day trumps all else. When we have a 7 closing day or a 12 order day… It’s all hands on deck! This lack of additional resources makes it very difficult for us to stay up to date on new regulations. Moreover, the lack of resources makes it difficult for Small Agents to plan for changes within our industry, as it’s harder to see them coming.
Third and perhaps the most unfair, small agents suffer from a Lack of Political Respect. Yes, the big boys underwrite us, but we aren’t them. Not only is our Industry a Cornerstone of our modern society, the role of the small agency is absolutely key to insuring the backbone of our nations economy. Our customers may love us and respect our opinions and we may be very well thought of within our City or County but the fact remains that alone we just don’t have the voice we need.
It is for all these challenges and more that I choose to be a member of the ILTA. Membership is the first step towards alleviating the great burdens of the challenges I believe we face. Membership and Participation within the ILTA allows me to focus whatever time I have on potential regulatory matters that are going to alter my business. ILTA gives me the added Educational resources that I need to keep my staff’s knowledge up to date in this changing environment. And most importantly, ILTA Membership and Participation gives me the Political Respect that I need to make sure that my livelihood and the livelihoods of my employees are being taken into consideration.
Make no mistake; the Title Insurance Industry is under attack from multiple sides. Small Agents, it has never been more important for our voices to be heard. I hope to see you on ILTA membership roles and indeed hear your thoughts on the challenges you face at meetings and conventions to come.
QM Firmly In Place
4 days ago