history of title insurance title partners of south florida

The History of Title Insurance Companies, Part 1

Title insurance came about as most insurances did — to fulfill a need. Title insurance protects the buyer from financial loss should something be found wrong with the title to their property after the final closing has occurred. Potential problems include unknown claimants to the property, liens, back taxes owed, and more. When you purchase title insurance, you will have peace of mind that should something be wrong with the title to the home that you purchased, you will have financial recourse.

Title Partners of South Florida offers title services to Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties in the state of Florida. We handle all of the title work and paperwork you will need for your closing, including for your mortgage. Our mission is to offer you the best customer experience for your home closing. Below, we’ll go over in brief the history of title insurance. Contact us today for a property title search!

The Need

Centuries before title insurance companies, buying land was done with a handshake. However, due to the rising number of people in the United States and the growing number of conflicts over land and titles, the process of buying land had to be formalized. Hence, lands were granted deeds and titles so you would know exactly who owned that land. As land changed hands, the deeds and titles would change (at least, that was the goal). However, errors were consistently made, so there arose people trained in how to help with real estate transactions. These men were called conveyancers.

Early Form of Title Insurance Companies

Title Partners of South Florida notes that conveyancers were legal representatives of the law in terms of real estate. This means that they began to handle all real estate transactions, including title searches, in order to verify who owned the land and then to ensure the changing of hands of the land happened correctly. They would issue what were called “abstracts,” or reports stating their findings, which is what title insurance companies do today in their Title Opinion Letters. Conveyancers offered the early settlers and buyers of land at least some assurance, and they performed the job adequately well since the number of land transactions was still relatively small. Early settlers often did just that — settled and then worried about the legalities later on.

Problems did begin to arise as boom towns from mining and railroads began to emerge. You had fraudsters swoop, looking to make a quick buck anyway they could, and that included through title fraud. In addition, there were beginning to be so many transactions that the conveyancers could not keep up and mistakes were becoming more frequent.

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The Case of Watson v. Muirhead

One famous example of a mistake by a conveyancer finally brought the land/title system problems to a head. The Case of Watson v. Muirhead right after the Civil War involved a man named Watson who acquired the services of a conveyancer named Muirhead. When Muirhead did a title search, he found judgments against the title. He consulted an attorney who said to ignore them, which he did. He certified the title and Watson bought the property. However, it turns out those claims were valid and Watson found himself owing back liens on the property. Watson sued Muirhead for damages. This case scared many home buyers into demanding something be done about the current land title system.

Pennsylvania, where the case of Watson v Muirhead occurred, began to pass laws that allowed for title insurance companies to form. Hence, in 1876, the first title insurance company formed in Philadelphia. The idea caught on and soon title insurance companies began to crop up in every major US city. Protection for home buyers was now here to stay.


Title recording and changing of hands can be boring to a lot of people. After all, it’s paperwork that has to be verified by a court of law. For most people, they trust title companies today to take care of all of the legalities of buying a home.

Title Partners of South Florida hopes to make your time buying a home even more sweeter by ensuring your real estate closing process goes smoothly. We do this by verifying the title to your home in advance, order a property survey if needed, manage the escrow accounts (so down payments and money back), and handle the mortgage paperwork as well. When you show up for your home mortgage closing appointment with us, you can rest assured we will everything sorted for you. After you are done signing, you will get the keys to your home and then the celebration can begin.

For realtors, our mission is to make your job a bit easier by ensuring the title work is done as well. We also offer you a marketing program for use when you use us for your home closings that will periodically email your former clients and will notify you when they are back in the market for a new home. We store all of our loan closing documents online, which is a great benefit to your clients, and we offer e-sign services as well for those who travel a lot or for military families. We here at Title Partners of South Florida want to ease the busyness of your day as much as possible. Contact us today to get started!

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