Noontime Knowledge with VATC -- Mark Your Webinar Calendar!

DATE: Tuesday, October 13th
TIME:  12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Grab your lunch, sit down at your computer and feed your mind by joining Andy Mikell and Liz Smith as they review the 2020 release of Vermont Title Standards. They’ll review several amendments to existing Standards and discuss brand new Standards on Easements, Mobile Homes and General Partnerships. If you watch the whole program and don’t check your email (not even once), you’re entitled to 1.0 hour of CLE!
SAVE THE DATE: Our next webinar will be November 11th from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. More information at a later date.

Claims Corner: Practice Tips
Identifying Fraud in Real Estate Transactions
Real estate transactions are a prime target for fraudsters. Why? 

  • They are lucrative- the average sale price of a home in the USA is over $226,000.00! 
  • Multiple Parties- there is an average of eight people per transaction; fraudsters need to fool only one!
  • Deadline Driven- key points in transactions which are vulnerable 
  • Unsecured email accounts and unprotected computer systems
  • Eager-to-please employees who make exceptions to office policies for sources of business and others 
If you don’t think it can happen to your office, think again. In the last few months the CATIC Claims Department has seen close to a half-dozen filed fraud claims with some losses approaching seven figures.
CATIC is aware of one situation where cyberhackers were able to ascertain the name of the mortgagee being paid off prior to closing, proceed to open an account at the same bank, and then intercept and alter payoff instructions to divert funds to a separate, incorrect account within the same bank.

Remember: Use extreme caution when wiring or sending out mortgage payoff proceeds. 
  • Independently verify all outgoing wire instructions by calling a known number.
For example, one you can verify at the law firm’s website online; or
  • Make payments via overnight delivery to an address that you can independently verify.
  • You are not authorized to issue a CATIC title insurance policy until you have independently verified all outgoing wire instructions or are making payment via overnight mail.
  • Question any last-minute requests for changes to payoff directions.
  • Confirm wire and other payoff instructions through a conversation with the attorney or paralegal at a verifiable number, not one supplied in an e-mail request, or in a call purportedly originating from the other side.
Some initial thoughts: trust your instincts - don’t ignore those red flags; question everyone and everything - does it pass the commonsense test; stop and look at the big picture of the transaction; and when in doubt call a CATIC Underwriting Attorney for help.

CATIC wants to help our agents on the front lines, who are preparing and closing these transactions, by publishing practice tips on a regular basis to help identify and prevent potential losses resulting from both intentional acts, such as fraud, and unintentional errors. 

Watch for more practice tips in the immediate future!

VATC's Website - A Valuable Resource

We encourage everyone to peruse the VATC website for an overview of our resources to find important information for you when the next "unique title insurance situation" arises.

Our Policy Preparation and Underwriting Guidance sections can serve as a checklist for your office. Under Policy Preparation, you will find answers to many of your questions for out of the ordinary issues in transactions ranging from manufactured homes, Sales and Purchases by LLCs, Corporations and Partnerships, and issuing policies with multiple mortgages. In addition, our Underwriting Guidance section includes how-to guides for situations which arise in a transaction such as the use out-of-state, foreign, and military Powers of Attorney, and surveys and parties in possession exceptions.

As ever, we welcome your comments and suggestions for how we can improve the site. Please let us know! Thank you.
Monthly Marketable Title Mayhem

October's quiz will be available on the VATC website on Wednesday, October 7th. If you are a subscriber, you will automatically receive each month's quiz by email. If not, you can play by going to the VATC website.

Congratulations to our September winners (5 for 5): Michael Gawne (Cahill, Gawne, Miller & Manahan); Laura Gorsky (Laura E. Gorsky, PLLC); Fred Peet (Law Offices of Fred V. Peet); Benjamin Gould (Paul Frank + Collins).
PrepExpress Online Updates

  • Short Form Mortgage Amount: You may have noticed that the Short Form Mortgage amount was not updating when you edited the Loan amount. Now when you edit the Loan Amount in the General Information, the Mortgage Amount will be updated. Finally, a fix we have all been waiting for!

  • Policy amounts over $1 million: Please call our office for a rate quote. You will receive an invoice from us, however, you will need to manually edit your CD, HUD, ALTA Statement, Transmittal and Disbursements.
Lau's Corner & Title Tips

PrepExpress Online®,: Introduction and Refresher

This webinar will introduce new users to PrepExpress Online®, CATIC’s closing software, as well as highlight new features which have been incorporated into the latest version for existing users. The webinar will include navigation of PE, Closing Disclosures, ALTA Settlement/Disbursement Statements, etc. Click here to register for this webinar hosted by CATIC.

Staff Turnover?

Please email Katie if you have experienced staff turnover in your office. We like to keep our email list up to date - it is the nice list, we promise!