Busy keeping less never getting more

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I dug a shallow grave for my career today.

Actually, the hole is now much larger.  It’s 10X 4 and it’s the basis for my first of two raised gardens.  I’ve got the fence framed and even the terminal poles for the dog run gate installed.  I even did my neighbors a favor and pulled some of the weeds in the front yard.  They’re really nice people who have been dealt a couple of really tough cards.  Her mother has Stage IV some kind of vicious cancer, his sister is fighting some other nasty cancer and the daughter has a brain tumor.  That’s the shitty end of the stick.  The least I can do is keep my weeds from giving him more headaches.  He’s running the house while she’s taking care of her mother.  Tough on a young family like them.

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Rita stand guard on her tree stump.  You can see how boney she is.  I feed her the same as Beauregard.  He weighs 76, she weighs 49.  But she never stops moving.  Ever.  Never.  She’s now finally sleeping and Beau and me couldn’t be happier.

Red flag, bull, charge!

One of my gentle readers forwarded me the following link from the LA Times. I guess he wanted to see my head blow off first thing in the morning. It did.

Still, at least half of what Americans pay for title insurance can be attributed to illegal referral payments, said J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America.

This guy clearly has no clue as to what we do. I give him credit for getting after the casualty guys after Katrina. They needed it. Oh it’s wind damage, not covered, oh it’s water damage, not covered, oh it was cause by the…blah blah blah. Too many wiggle words, too much bullshit. But title insurance is a different beast. We keep huge reserves. Yes, over 70%  of our customers will never need their title insurance. HOWEVER, I pitty the poor schmuck that doesn’t have it when something gets sideways.  That $2500 is going to go a long freaking way buddy. That number won’t even get you a retainer with the class of attorneys that a title company will hire for you. We’re pretty damned cheap when it’s all said and done with.

Half of the premium to illegal kickbacks? He ought to look at a title company P&L. I’ve seen a few in my time. Not so much Bobby. I know Alliance maintained a department that was questionable, but it wasn’t half of our budget. Tops and I do mean tops 3 to 5 percent. It also generated a lot of pieces that were specifically designed for the end-consumer. That’s right Steve, the guy who paid for the policy. Buyer’s guides, seller’s guides, borrower’s guides, all explained the process to the end user. Objectively. So I’d say even 3-5% is generous. They also generated our marketing campaigns. We did not give away sporting event tickets or anything else that could not be tied directly back to the consumer. We did not pay for bus trips to Pebble Beach. Promotions I was involved with involved candy canes, candy bars, valentines with candy hearts, home made cupcakes with babies and mardi gras beads. (and maybe our babies had mohawks) Cost per customer: around .50 cents. Not 50% of our operating income. So what this shows me is a clear misunderstanding of what we do for a living. Now, part of this is our fault. We should not be outsourcing to Bangalore, and on some levels we deserve what we’re getting now for allow that. On some levels, it reminds me of Martin Niemöller’s poem. (Not to detract at all from the horror of the holocaust, but rather to point out the inaction on our part, which in general can be compared to the inaction by the German intellectual community)

…When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

There’s no one left to speak for us. Our jobs are gone and we’re the only ones that care. The government is bickering on who’s going to build a ridiculous wall between here and Mexico and our jobs are already gone. Maybe we can get jobs building the Wall.

And I have incredulously ask “What does $500k get you in Iowa?”

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Lot is 22210 sq. ft., Year Built: 2007, Central air conditioning, Basement, Fireplace(s), Dining room, Den, Laundry room, Hardwood floors, house is 3246 sq. feet. It’s a 4/3.5. Forced air heat. Central air conditioning. Interior features: Dining Areas, Eat In Kitchen, 1st Floor Family Room, Mud Room, Pantry, Unfinished Basement, 1st Floor Laundry, Carpeting, Tile, Maple Trim, Painted Trim, Dishwasher, Microwave, Stove And the basement is 1745 feet.

You want to know what you get for your money Mr. Washington DC Ass Clown? Ask the guy with World Savings who got the $40 million dollar check from Title Insurance of Minnesota. TIM wrote the check, that day. Zev ben Simon ran a pyramid-esque scheme. I don’t think he meant to in the beginning, I think the market moved against him and finally it became apparent what was going to happen and he ran. I’ve got to ask, sit in a US jail or an Israeli prison? He probably could have gone to Lompoc (Club Fed). Don’t know if Israel has that sort of hook up.

Title Insurance professionals actually review the records Bob-O and good ones find stuff like finding the forged notary that brought down a local company. They were renting space from a guy who was on the Board of Directors of the company. He was coming into the branch late at night and using the Escrow Officer’s notary stamp (that sat in her desk drawer) to forge reconveyances on his properties. He robbed Peter and paid Paul until I called the Escrow Officer and asked her to verify her signature on the recorded reconveyance. She was horrified, the FBI was called and he did 9 years. That’s what your premiums pay for Bob. That kind of expertise.

Or the guy who I threw out of ORTC. I wouldn’t do his deals because all of the vesting deeds were uninsured and he wouldn’t let me call his “aunties” who gave him the property. Next thing you know, dudes on the front page of the Oakland Tribune for stealing houses from old ladies. I sent that article to the Escrow Officer who was upset that I 86ed her client. That’s what title professionals see. That’s what we do, and that’s our value, Steve. Now what’s your value?

6 Replies to “Busy keeping less never getting more”

  1. Feel better now?
    Sales costs in the South are somewhat different. Salesmen can and do get about 20 to 25 percent on sales, 15 to 20 on refi’s. If overall costs of sales is under 35 percent, that’s pretty good management. It’s a real different world down here.

  2. Sure is. The sales rip up here is somewhere between 2-7% depending on the book the rep controls. After that it’s just salary and I really don’t think it gets anywhere near 20%. I can’t remember the exact ratio right now, but I want to say total salaries were about 55% (including sales compensation) on my P&L. Maybe one of the northern county managers would like to confirm?

  3. Hey, WD. Sounds like you might be feeling better. I recommend B12 for the stress related stuff. Ginger tea will help boost your immune system and may some good vitamin C – rosehips and bioflavnoids.

    I did an open response to the LA Times Article here:

    http://titleinsurancetalk.blogspot.com/2008/02/open-response-to-scott-j-wilson-of-la.html

    In our market we have all-inclusive rates and much of the Pittsburgh metro area is all locked with affiliated shams. Most of the premium does unfortunately go to feed the referral trough. It’s sick and our underwriters allow faux examination in place of the real stuff.

    Title insurance professionals as you describe them and my staff and I are in that group, are in danger of extinction. We’re not done fighting and we may win yet.

    Keep up the good work. I love reading PBE and love seeing the pics of Rita and Beau.

  4. Trust me, It’s different world down in SoCal than NoCal!!!! I worked in NoCal and when the “Bloodless Empire”, as you call them, sent me down to SoCal after buying another “Bad Investment” and hired “Scam Artists” to run this company. This really gave the NoCal Sales Reps a bad name. The things that these Reps were doing was “Unbelievable”. I came back after my first trip and talked to my Sales Mgr. and County Mgr. on what was going on down in SoCal. I went back a couple of more times and went to several Cocktail Parties that included R.E. Agents and Lenders, which was paid by the NoCal Sales Rep. They took me on a 2 day golfing trip, which again included R.E. Agents and Lenders. I was offered to go to Mexico, Las Vegas for golfing. I was also offered free Lakers/Dodger tickets and more. You tell me? Legal???

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