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March 14, 2021

Donna Hodgson on title insurance

Donna Hodgson on title insurance

Donna Hodgson is a Regional Manager with the Chicago Title Insurance Company (Canada) In this episode we talk about residential title insurance. We discuss what title insurance typically covers and what sets Chicago Title apart from its competitors.


Donna Hodgson is a Regional Manager with the Chicago Title Insurance Company (Canada) In this episode we talk about residential title insurance. We discuss what title insurance typically covers and what sets Chicago Title apart from its competitors. 

Transcript

Adrian:

I'm joined today by Donna Hodgson of Chicago Title. Hi, Donna.

Donna:

Hi, Adrian. How are you?

Adrian:

I'm well. And yourself?

Donna:

Great. Thank you.

Adrian:

Donna, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and Chicago Title?

Donna:

Sure. And thank you for this opportunity today, Adrian. My name is Donna Hodgson, and I am your Regional Manager for Chicago Title Insurance Canada. I look after Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and I reside in Winnipeg. I actually grew up in the North End. My background is banking, mortgage lending, and underwriting, and I also held my Mortgage Broker's License in Alberta for almost 15 years. I have a full scope around the mortgage product and title insurance. Chicago Title Insurance Company is trusted and a proven title insurance company, providing security for real estate transactions for over 150 years. We've actually been in Canada since about 1961, so 70 years. Chicago Title Insurance Company is part of Fidelity National Financial and is the largest title insurer in North America. We are an industry leader in all measures of financial strength, which includes the largest claims reserve in the industry. We are in the client success business, and I build my business with referrals much like yourself and your real estate partners.

Adrian:

Now I heard a word that gave me a certain level of confidence, and that is the highest level of claims reserves. What does that mean?

Donna:

Well, it means that when somebody is making a claim, you want to be sure that you have reserve funds available to pay those claims. So I can confidently say that with a high amount of claims reserve, that can also put your clients at ease that, if a claim should arise, that they can feel confident that it's actually going to be paid.

Adrian:

Now what products does Chicago Title offer in Winnipeg or Manitoba or perhaps Canada as a whole?

Donna:

We offer full residential and commercial title insurance. As well, we have coverage for mobile homes, for cottage properties, indigenous land, vacant or raw land. We also look at private lenders. And another important thing is that gap insurance is written into all of our policies.

Adrian:

Now the most common type of real estate transactions in Winnipeg and Manitoba are, of course, residential home transactions. What does a residential title insurance policy typically cover?

Donna:

I'll tell you that we have 34 coverages in our policy. So I'm not going to read them verbatim because I'm sure that a lot of it is quite wordy and you'd be falling asleep, but I can break it down. Whether you're a first time buyer or an experienced homeowner, your property needs protecting. Sudden expenses can come any time, from your town ordering a repair to a thief stealing your identity, encroachments. The vendor may owe property taxes which were not disclosed, as well as water utility that may have been the vendor's responsibility. Title insurance protects you from having to pay the vendor's obligations. Only title insurance can fully safeguard your home. The coverage lasts for as long as the property is yours, and there is no deductible.

Donna:

I've got a few short points on the other coverages we have. Fraud for impersonation, defects or irregularities, noncompliance with municipal bylaws, notice of violation of zoning bylaws, encroachments which I mentioned, lack of access right, undisclosed property tax arrears, construction liens, errors on public records, incorrect legal description, undisclosed arrears from a common expense re condo fees or your strata fees, and another one would be failure of the condominium or strata to be validly created.

Adrian:

Now I personally had an experience a couple of years ago. My wife and I's first marital home that we had purchased, the driveway essentially was crumbling and needed repaving. When the paving company came to give us a quote, they said, "I'm not sure if this..." It was two single garages pushed together instead of a double garage, and they said, "We're not sure if this was done to code and if there is even a permit taken out to build that second single garage that is essentially connected to the main attached garage in the home." And they said, "You should check with the city to see if they actually have this garage on file." And it turned out that they didn't. So we essentially had a garage structure erected, this is prior to us owning the home, that was done without a permit. So ironically the paver was uncomfortable paving into that garage and that garage base floor because it had been done originally without a permit, and they suggested that perhaps title insurance could cover such a thing. How do you think title insurance would respond to such a claim?

Donna:

Well, I'm not an underwriter with title insurance, so claims are done on a case-to-case basis.

Adrian:

Of course.

Donna:

But things like this are covered all the time. It's a common thing.

Adrian:

Yeah. It's just a situation that would arise, right?

Donna:

Correct.

Adrian:

So here's the sad part. I was too cheap to buy title insurance.

Donna:

Oh, no.

Adrian:

So lesson learned, I am now a big fan of title insurance.

Donna:

Just another quick little story. There was an instance in Ontario somewhere. It was a swimming pool in a backyard that encroached over to the other person's property. So I mean, they can always do a settlement between money, right? You're not going to move a swimming pool at that point. But yes, title insurance covers situations like that. It's a very common thing.

Adrian:

Yeah. And I think in private sale or conventional, there are I would say argues in some residential real estate transactions, it is not automatic or default to have had purchased title insurance. And having gone through the experience ourselves, we now know and understand the importance of it. What sets your residential title insurance apart from competitors?

Donna:

Oh, there's a long list. Well first of all, you get me and I'm local and I'm in Winnipeg. But for a one-time low fee, I would say for prices in Winnipeg you could get a title insurance policy, both policies actually, lender and owner, for around $300. So you can get a lender and an owner policy and have peace of mind. I always recommend buying both policies, as clients may think they have coverage with a lender-only policy, but they do not. Our experts know the ins and outs of even the most localized legislation across Canada. When it comes to our clients, offering better value anywhere else is unmatched. And our customer care, we will safeguard the real estate industry one property at a time. We are in the client success business as I mentioned in the beginning when I did my introduction. No matter what life throws at you or your home, a title insurance policy lets you rest easy knowing that Chicago Title Insurance has your back.

Donna:

Since you have a perfect listening audience, I want to tell you about our home warranty program. We offer it to offer your clients, and it's six months for free. So Chicago Title Insurance will cover for the first six months, and this can be branded as a gift from your realtors or from yourself. It doesn't have to necessarily be from Chicago Title Insurance, but this is what we offer. So on the seventh month, your client will pay a monthly premium of about $20. So I'll go into a little bit of explanation around this. So repair service, electrical, heat, air conditioning, and plumbing, for a $50 service call fee, repair services are available 24/7, weekends, and holidays. Imagine having a house full of people over for the holidays, and the turkey's in the oven. Suddenly your power goes out and somebody in the house is going, "Oh, my God, what about the turkey dinner?" So for one phone call, again it's a $50 service fee phone call, somebody will be sent to your house and they'll find and repair your issue, and your festivities can continue. Peace of mind, right?

Adrian:

Yeah. How does somebody go about obtaining a Chicago Title policy?

Donna:

Well, my clients are the lawyers, right? So when the lawyer gets instructions and they're closing a real estate transaction, I want them to choose Chicago Title Insurance. So if you can convince a lawyer that's not using Chicago Title currently, certainly you can give them information with my contact information and I can do a training scenario with their assistance. Or they can go online to www.ctic, that's Chicago Title Insurance Canada, so ctic.ca. And when their assistants are ordering the title insurance policy, there is a box right on our ordering system that says home warranty, yes or no. And then the homeowners will have to provide their banking information so that on the seventh month, the premium can be debited to their account, the monthly premium.

Adrian:

Now Donna, you shared some of the benefits of Chicago Title, obviously a very competitive offering in the title insurance space. Most importantly, what do you love about Winnipeg real estate?

Donna:

Oh, that's a good question, Adrian. I love the unique properties and different entry levels and price points, so that anyone wanting to get into the home ownership space can certainly do so in Winnipeg. I also love the walkable neighborhoods with the vast culture. Spending time and shopping local is your real sense of home.

Adrian:

Donna Hodgson with Chicago Title, I thank you for joining us on this episode of I Love Winnipeg Real Estate.

Donna:

Thank you, Adrian, for the opportunity. And I hope that people have a takeaway after listening. Thank you.

Donna Hodgson

Regional Manager, Chicago Title (Canada)

20+ years in sales in the mortgage industry with complex underwriting and business development experience, as well as training facilitation and risk mitigation.

A forward thinker with analytical reasoning and strong communicator able to develop trusting relationships in the area of sales and account management.