The Co-operators introduces protection against growing risk of real estate title fraud

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GUELPH, ON, Dec. 10, 2007 – Real estate title fraud costs Canadians as much as $300 million a year, according to the Canadian Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders. With this in mind, The Co-operators announced recently that it has made arrangements with First Canadian Title to offer residential title insurance protection for existing homeowners. The Co-operators, with over 600 retail outlets in Canada, is the first Canadian-owned multi-product insurance company to make this coverage available with First Canadian Title.

Title insurance protects homeowners against challenges to the ownership of their homes, including title defects, fraud, and forgery. Title fraud includes registration of a fraudulent mortgage against the legitimate owner’s property, and fraudulent sale of real property. Often, stolen identities or forged documents are used to transfer a registered owner’s title without their permission. Once the title is transferred, a fraudster may obtain a mortgage on the property and arrange to receive the funds.

In March 2007, The Co-operators added identity theft coverage at no charge to its home insurance policies. It covers up to $10,000 of costs associated with recovering or correcting damage to personal identity. Title insurance, which complements identify theft coverage, covers all legal expenses and manages the process related to restoring title after fraud or forgery.

“Restoring your title can be very costly both financially and emotionally,” says Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “For a one-time premium, title insurance can help victims through the difficult process of reclaiming what is rightfully theirs — their home.” Title Insurance also protects home ownership from many other title defects. Coverage may include unmarketability of the land due to matters that would have been disclosed on an up-to-date survey, lack of legal access to the property, encroachments onto neighbouring properties, and zoning infractions.

Until recently, residential title insurance was only available at the time a home was purchased. The recently launched coverage is available only to existing homeowners.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators is a Canadian-owned multi-product insurance company. It is co-operatively owned by a group of Canadian co-operatives, credit unions, and like-minded organizations.

About First Canadian Title:
First Canadian Title is Canada’s leading provider of title insurance, and other related products and services for residential and commercial real estate transactions. Founded in 1991 and based in Oakville, Ontario, First Canadian Title employs approximately 1,000 people from coast to coast. Its customers include more than 15,000 lawyers and notaries nationwide, every major Canadian chartered bank, credit unions, other lending institutions, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and builders. First Canadian Title is the registered business name of FCT Insurance Company Ltd. and of the Canadian branch of First American Title Insurance Company. For more information about First Canadian Title, visit www.FirstCanadianTitle.com.

About The First American Corporation:
The First American Corporation is a FORTUNE 500 company that traces its history to 1889. With revenues of $8.5 billion in 2006, it is America’s largest provider of business information. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within five primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Mortgage Information, Property Information and First Advantage. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.