Insurers that provide cover in the event that title conflicts arise during land transactions are anticipating a boom in business heading into the Olympics.
David Hawkins, managing director
of First Title Insurance, said he was expecting a boom as companies capitalised on the thriving opportunities surrounding the
Olympic site in London’s East End.
Title insurers investigate who has rights to land and whether there are any conditions that could delay or nullify any transaction or planned use of a property. The insurance covers legal costs and loss of business in the event of delays.
Hawkins said: “The Olympic site is an area that has been left undeveloped for a long time. A lot of land has been in ownership for a long time. In many cases the ownership never had to be proven before because nothing was ever done with it.”
He cites the example of a company that buys a piece of land with the intention of opening a pub and is unaware of a condition on the land dating back 100 years stating that no alcohol can ever be served on the property.
Hawkins said: “We are growing very rapidly and anticipate an increase in business with the the rising level of construction leading up to the Olympics.”
He would not comment on how much First Title is hoping to grow its business, but he said it would be significant.
First Title insures more than £1bn of commercial property throughout Europe.
Kim Hart, director of UK underwriting for Stewart Title, said there would be scope for title insurers and for brokers to grow.
Traditionally, title insurance was sought by solicitors, but Hart said there was a growing interest by brokers in the market.
She said: “We’ve certainly seen a large increase in broker work over the past two years and I would think a lot more title insurance business will come from brokers leading up to the Olympics.”
Although detailed planning has already taken place in the Olympic
Park, peripheral businesses, such as bars and restaurants, have a lot to lose if the proper initial investigations don’t take place.