HousingWire recently spoke with Tom Kriby, Vice President of Client Development and Partnerships at Westwood Insurance Agency, about how insurance issues can hold up a home closing and how lenders can integrate insurance into their process to help their homebuyers avoid delays.
HousingWire: What are some unexpected things that can delay a home closing?
Tom Kriby: Everyone knows home inspections and appraisals can hold up a closing, but insurance is another possible roadblock for an on-time closing. It’s more common than you think. Last year, about 10% of the policies we issued were rush orders.
For many homebuyers, insurance slips through the cracks simply because they’re incredibly busy with all the other factors that go into buying a home, like providing financial documents, arranging moving services, and setting up utilities at the new address.
Understanding and providing all the home details needed for an accurate insurance quote and shopping around for the best coverage and price can be a major hassle. This can lead to homebuyers procrastinating, but the closing can’t happen without proof of home insurance.
HW: How can lenders help homebuyers avoid closing delays?
TK: Ideally, lenders and insurers would work together to make the process as seamless as possible.
Typically, a lender tells a buyer to provide proof of insurance, and outside of a few reminders, the lender doesn’t offer any assistance for that task. However, the process could become more transparent and simplified if lenders better integrated the purchase of insurance into their loan origination platform.
If purchasing insurance were a more integrated part of the loan process, it would create a one-stop shop for homebuyers. Plus, by leveraging the information the lender already has on file, homebuyers can secure insurance with just a few clicks.
HW: What are the benefits of an integrated process for lenders and their customers?
TK: For lenders, integrating insurance into their process allows them to be more efficient, improve their customers’ experience, and avoid last-minute surprises that result in delays.
By better integrating the purchasing of insurance into the loan origination process, lenders can prequalify their customers, calculate DTI ratios, request EOI, and process any closing date changes within minutes.
For homebuyers, insurance can be challenging to navigate alone, but in a streamlined approach, they can instantly get a customized quote from leading insurers without much effort. This saves them time and spares them the hassle, making them less likely to procrastinate purchasing that vital home insurance policy.
It adds up to an improved experience for both the lender and the customer.
HW: How does Westwood Insurance Agency help lenders offer a more frictionless customer experience?
TK: At Westwood, we’ve been using technology to innovate the insurance industry for the last 70 years, and we genuinely believe that closing on a home should never be delayed due to insurance.
We already have a seamless process set up for purchasing insurance, and we currently work with some of the largest nationwide lenders to close more than 85,000 homes per year.
Our approach allows lenders to provide their customers with added value. Customers are never more than a few minutes away from personalized quotes.
Because we work with over 35 insurance carriers, Westwood can provide the best coverage at maximum savings without complicating the process. We pride ourselves on delivering solutions that create a better overall experience for lenders and their customers.