Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Claims - Part 2  

John Howe

Claims -  Part 2

Defalcation, Defined by Webster as “to steal or misuse funds entrusted to ones care; embezzle”.  I don’t mean to bring up bad memories, however as a point of information, I feel you need to know how this happens and what we as an industry do to protect you and your clients funds. If you recall there were a few cases of this kind of activity in Missouri in the recent past.

Obviously the fees paid for the title insurance product belong to the title company for work done and risk assumed, however there is that little issue of “ESCROW FUNDS”, the funds we receive and disburse relating to real estate closings, or that we may be holding for a 1031 exchange transaction or some other matter where we may be the one funds have been entrusted to hold.

There have been cases where an individual Attorney, Title Company, or a Realtor has in fact transferred those funds to their personal or business account and used for other purposes with the intent of replacing it before anyone in the deal had any knowledge of the act. However, the replacement of the funds in some cases does not occur before that money is needed to finalize a closing or disbursement. That is the simple definition or example of a defalcation.

Now, what does Benchmark Title do as a Title Insurance Company Agent do to protect your money? Our operating system has some very strong built in programs that can prevent a large amount of these functions from occurring, but someone with adequate computer knowledge of the system and the authority levels necessary can override some of those protections.

Along with that, our accounts are reconciled on a regular basis by an internal accounting person that has no signatory authority on any of the accounts, plus, each of those reconciliations is reviewed by an outside accountant and ownership on a monthly basis. All of those accounts are also reviewed and audited by each of our underwriters on an annual basis, date and time unannounced. That translates to a reconciliation process almost daily, an audit by underwriters a minimum of three times a year.

We, at Benchmark, have put in place multiple methods and procedures to give you, our valued customer, and your client the comfort that your funds are safe when entrusted to Benchmark Title.



Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Bethany Bond
Marketing Director

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221

Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236

Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

Benchmark Title is celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary!!!

With 10 years of the highest quality of service, & the most accurate product in the industry, we would like to say
Thank You for making us successful!!!!

Dates to Remember

September 12 - Please wish our employee, Lisa Masterson, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

 September 22  - Bring us a new order on these days and receive 10% off your title premium.

September 25 - NAHBR Golf Classic at Arlington Golf Club.  Registration at 11:00 am with Tee Time at 12:00 Noon.  Contact HBA at 343-6331 for more information.

October 7 - GGAR Board of Directors Installation Luncheon and Ceremony in honor of incoming Chairman of the Board, Doug Hartmann Jr. at Gateway Center, Collinsville.  Reception and Check-in at 11 am, Buffet Luncheon 12 pm, ceremony after lunch.  $20 per person.  Please RSVP to the Association office by September 30.

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