AmTrust Entitled to Enter New Territory
- Mar 04, 2016
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
New York—AmTrust Financial Services Inc. is expanding into a new line of business, and it has every intention of stepping on toes. The holding company plans to launch a commercial title insurance platform, AmTrust Title Insurance Co., edging its way into a market that has long been monopolized by a handful of gargantuan insurers.
AmTrust Title will be going up against the four largest title insurance families: Fidelity National Financial Inc., First American Title Insurance Co., Stewart Title Guaranty Co. and Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. The AmTrust Financial leadership believes the timing is right in the market for another player to join the game, and that AmTrust Title is the right player. “AmTrust has successfully entered insurance sectors where capacity is diminishing,” Jason Gordon, newly appointed president of AmTrust Title, told Commercial Property Executive. “In the title insurance space, four national underwriters write more than 85 percent of the business, and in the commercial title insurance arena, the ever-increasing risk amounts have strained industry capacity.”
In addition to experience penetrating different areas of the insurance market, AmTrust Financial sends AmTrust Title to the table well armed with a substantial capital and surplus base—$2.8 billion within the AmTrust Financial family of companies–that exceeds that of any of the so-called Big Four.
The platform will also boast a cracker-jack team headed by Gordon, an industry expert who most recently held the position of senior vice president with Westcor Land Title Insurance Co., and formerly served as vice president and counsel at Fidelity National. “Title insurance as a product appears to have commodity characteristics, but commercial underwriting is a highly nuanced discipline that is delivered best by experienced counsel and sophisticated business managers. AmTrust has put together a long-experienced team that meets that description very well,” said Gordon.
The new subsidiary will commence activities in AmTrust Financial’s hometown of New York City, as well as in New Jersey and Texas. The firm is also licensed in seven other states: Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia. And a Florida license is pending. AmTrust Title plans to spread like wildfire. “We are about to file in ten additional states, and will continue this expansion pace throughout the year,” Gordon added.
So, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf—or wolves in this case? Not AmTrust Title, according to Gordon. “[Our] entry into the title insurance business is unprecedented,” he noted. “The Company’s ability to transact at the highest levels of liability, together with its skilled team, industry-leading operating efficiencies and technology platform, will enable AmTrust Title to compete at a very high level.”