Magazine article American Banker

Insurance: Chase Launches Commercial Title Joint Venture

Magazine article American Banker

Insurance: Chase Launches Commercial Title Joint Venture

Article excerpt

By MICHAEL O'D. MOORE Chase Manhattan Corp. has added a line of insurance to its growing product menu.

Chase, which offers life and property and casualty insurance, now sells commercial title insurance to its customers through a joint venture with four underwriters.

The venture, Madison Park Title Agency, is majority-owned by the banking company. "This was a logical complement to the business that we currently have," said Margaret Celic, a Chase vice president.

Indeed, lenders nationwide require commercial borrowers to buy title insurance for the amount borrowed, to protect the financial institution from losses related to challenges of a property's ownership. In addition, property owners may buy policies to protect themselves.

Ms. Celic said Chase started its title insurance effort by selling policies to its own commercial customers in New York State. But it plans to bring the program to other states and sell outside its customer base, she said. It is also considering selling retail title insurance, she said.

Chase expects more than $1 million of revenue from the program in its first year, Ms. Celic said.

Some banks have agencies that sell title insurance to retail customers, but apparently no big bank has a commercial insurance agency.

Theodore G. Werner, a vice president at Chicago Title Insurance Co., one of the four underwriters Chase is using, said the New York bank is "well positioned" to sell title insurance.

He said Chase's broad middle-market customer base gives it a strong leg up. …

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