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The role of title insurance under recording and registration

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This article outlines a transaction cost theory of ‘title insurance’ and analyses the role it plays in countries with recording and registration of land titles. Title insurance indemnifies real estate right holders for losses caused by pre-existing title defects that are unknown when the policy is issued. It emerged to complement the ‘errors and omissions’ insurance of professionals examining title quality. Poor organization of public records led title insurers in the USA to integrate title examination and settlement services. Their residual claimant status motivates insurers to screen, cure and avoid title defects. Firms introducing title insurance abroad produce little information on title quality, however. Their policies are instead issued on a casualty basis, complementing and enforcing the professional liability of conveyancers. Future development in markets with land registration is uncertain because of adverse selection, competitive reactions from established conveyancers and the ability of larger banks to self-insure title risks.

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File URL: http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/565.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 565.

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Date of creation: Jul 2001
Date of revision: Sep 2002
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:565

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Transaction costs; property rights; land titles; title insurance; real estate;

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  1. Kevin E. Villani & John Simonson, 1982. "Real Estate Settlement Pricing: A Theoretical Framework," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(3), pages 249-275.
  2. Roland Kirstein, 2000. "Risk Neutrality and Strategic Insurance," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(2), pages 251-261, April.
  3. Nyce, C. & Boyer, M.M., 1998. "An Analysis of the Title Insurance Industry," Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Montreal- 98-14, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Montreal-Chaire de gestion des risques..
  4. Deborah Ann Ford, 1982. "Title Assurance and Settlement Charges," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(3), pages 297-312.
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