As the real estate market recovers and interest rates rise, we’re seeing fewer distressed real estate or refinance transactions. The commercial market continues to be strong and, after a tough winter, the residential purchase market is expected to improve as well. A healing economy, prudent underwriting, hard work in our claims group, and a best-in-class agency network all contributed to Stewart’s lower year-end loss ratio.
That said, we never stop working to improve our expertise even further. Through strong agency education and training programs, we not only lower the risk for future claims, but also ensure our customers are getting the best service possible. And in a global network like Stewart’s, with access to vast information and experience, this means identifying and sharing industry trends, tools and insights with our agencies to help them anticipate what is around the corner in an ever-changing environment.
In the commercial arena, two recurring issues we encounter today are mechanic’s lien coverage, and mineral rights issues due to the oil and gas boom in areas across the country. Our experienced group of underwriters focus on mechanic’s lien coverage in order to assure the balanced protection for the insured. For mineral rights, we’ve conducted a state-by-state review in the regions where the majority of our oil and gas transactions take place. Because mineral rights laws vary by state, it’s critical that our agencies are aware of and fully understand the applicable laws. Our long-standing experience with these types of transactions, and our ability to invest resources in keeping our agencies apprised of the nuances on these complex issues, are just two off the many benefits of using our network of accomplished underwriters.
On the residential side, time and again we see issues relating to boundary, access, vesting, easement and surveys. While usually not as complex as the issues that present themselves in commercial transactions, they can cause some major problems in transactions if they are not handled with same degree of expertise and care.
Regardless of which segment you work within, and what the trending issues of the day may be, if you select a team with a great track record and a history of integrity, you can rely on them to navigate even the most complex transactions. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations that will take effect in August 2015 will sharpen everyone’s focus on engaging experienced business partners. One thing we know for sure – in the months ahead, as the CFPB increases oversight from a compliance and regulatory standpoint, business practices will be monitored with a greater degree of scrutiny. All the more reason to work with a name you trust – Stewart and our team of underwriters.
At Stewart, we take great pride in the strength and integrity of our network. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been recognized by Forbes® as one of the 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies in America. This recognition has been earned by consistently taking a proactive approach to offer the greatest service possible. By ensuring our agencies are well-equipped to help our valued customers, we ensure our continued trustworthiness and customer satisfaction into the future. As we’ve learned for more than 120 years, developing great services and customer service takes continued investment, and that’s an investment Stewart and our team of underwriters are committed to making.