Both Mike Haltman and his wife Linda started off on Wall Street as traders a few decades ago. He and his wife were also bond analysts. They both knew the ins and outs of title insurance because they had dealt with mortgage-backed bonds.
Mike Haltman’s father-in-law was the CEO of the Hallmark Abstract and used to say: “The only thing that could go wrong is if the atomic bomb hit Long Island.”
“And then 2008 happened, and I guess you could say that was the bomb,” Haltman laughs.
Linda, my wife, was into Hard Money Lending for Vacant Land and New Construction at the time, noting along with CEO James Prendamano, there’s a lot of misconception about hard money lending.
The History Behind Haltman’s Company
What happened was, according to Mike Haltman, was that 2008 hit us tremendously hard. Both my wife and I now had non-viable businesses and we had two girls in college at the time. We needed to reinvent ourselves and do it quickly. We had to hustle and figure out a plan. So we actually met with someone who was working at a Title company and didn’t like how the company was being handled.
CEO James Prendamano notes there are a tsunami of foreclosures coming and, of course, the banks are going to be looking to get rid of all this paper.
While things like health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and life insurance – all other insurance -- is based upon the possibility of future events, Title Insurance works the opposite way. Title Insurance protects you from the past. It could go back 50 years. It looks at the home, the mortgage, every assignment, every fine. Basically, you’re going back to making sure that your buyer – who’s closing on that deal – has a good, clean, clear title on that property. At the end of the day, we protect buyers from that type of situation – from someone coming out of the woodwork and saying: ‘Hey, I have a mortgage on that house – or a lien.’
And that happens more often than you would expect, and it’s simply because a few documents weren’t signed correctly a few decades ago.
James Prendamano notes how Covid, of course, has turned things upside down and asks Mike Haltman – if the title insurance industry has suffered as well. The answer was no, certainly not as bad a most industries, as he notes how fortunate they were.
James Prendamano shares his thoughts on blockchain verification and how it couldn’t possibly disrupt the title insurance industry. The Golden Rule: You get what you pay for. Plan and simple, James Prendamano and Mike Haltman agree.
Heroes to Heroes is a non-denominational faith-based charity for veterans who have suffered from moral injury. James Prendamano shares his reverence for our own beloved veterans and his grandfather, Grandpa Joe, who was in Normandy.
In addition, Michael Haltman has done the Polar Bear Plunge. “When I turned 50, I started to step out of comfort zone, and I even did a boxing fundraiser. I raised about $17 thousand dollars for a number of Long Island charities.”
“It was just like – I turned 50 and I started stepping out of my comfort zone. I became less afraid. Like, the next thing I want to do is go skydiving!”
Well, James Prendamano, laughs, we will be happy to be there on the donation side, but I don’t know that I will be jumping out of an airplane anytime soon.