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Title Insurance Companies Focusing on Tech like Their Lives Depend on It

A digital property closing tool for title insurance companies Qualia just snagged $33 million from some serious Silicon Valley VCs. $33 million is a rather large amount for a company in a generally unsexy space of niche enterprise services. This and the participation of notable, seasoned investors like Menlo Ventures, one of the oldest VC firms in the Valley, show that many are anticipating a lot of opportunity in the title insurance space.

The most talked about the threat to the title insurance industry is the possible use of distributed ledger technology like blockchain to reduce or eliminate the chances of error or fraud. “Disruptionists” think that the industry will just go away once municipal public records are stored digitally. This theory ignores the fact that the insurance companies themselves are in a better position to adopt these very technologies before sluggish bureaucracies and thus remain the gatekeeper of the closing process.

One of the countries largest title companies, Old Republic, recently announced their new technology initiative called Pavaso:

“Old Republic Title’s Pavaso solution integrates disruptive technologies like BlockChain and electronic notary and allows title agents to assimilate a suite of complementary applications into a single portal.”

A similar tech focus came from the announcement that Title Source is changing their name to Amrock and considering themselves a tech company. According to CEO Jeff Eisenshtadt:

“This is a major milestone and major turning point for our business, we’re a tech-driven, American-based company. We really think of ourselves as an insuretech provider.”

So the race is on for the title companies to stay relevant. They could do this in a couple of ways. They could choose to adopt the very technologies that threaten to disrupt it. Or, they might consolidate to incorporate more parts of the closing process into their offerings. Whichever way they choose to defend their business against the impending changes that technology is bringing they will need act fast or risk being put out of business altogether.