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The role of title insurance under recording and registration

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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. 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..
  2. 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.
  3. Kirstein, Roland, 1999. "Risk-Neutrality and Strategic Insurance," CSLE Discussion Paper Series 99-02, Saarland University, CSLE - Center for the Study of Law and Economics.
  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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