Careers at First American
First American provides a range of title insurance products and other property insurance services, with a view to effectively protecting the exposure of its customers to risk in property ownership.
First American organises its operations into two principal reportable business segments:
- Title Insurance and Services, which provides title insurance policies on residential and commercial property in the US and offers similar or related products and services internationally, as well as other services such as closing and/or escrow services, and tax-deferred exchanges of real estate; and
- Specialty Insurance, which provides property and casualty insurance products, offering insurance coverage to residential homeowners and renters for liability losses and typical hazards such as fire, theft, vandalism and other types of property damage.
First American traces its roots back to 1889, when Orange County, California split off from the county of Los Angeles. Two firms were opened to handle title matters in the brand-new county. The two competing companies were merged in 1894 by CE Parker, with the newly merged entity taking the name Orange County Title Company, First American’s earliest predecessor company.
Orange County Title Company’s growth was modest throughout the remaining years of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century, with the company establishing itself as a reliable local operator. In 1957 the Company launched an expansion plan with the intent of establishing itself as a major player in the Southern California market. The company subsequently expanded significantly, and by 1982 it served customer across every region of the US.
Under the newly adopted name First American Corporation, the business began to expand internationally, developing operation in nearly 70 countries worldwide and diversifying its operations. In 2010 First American Corporation separated its newly developed real estate information businesses from its title insurance and financial services operations, creating two new independent companies, with its information and analytics operations becoming CoreLogic Inc and its financial services and title technology companies becoming what is now First American.
First American is among the largest companies in the US, placing 497th on the Fortune 500 list. The Company trades a portion of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of $4.14 billion.
Benefits at First American
Business model of First American
First American serves a broad network of clients a diverse portfolio of insurance products related principally to property. The Company’s core customers can be arranged broadly into the following categories:
- Banking and Lending Institutions, comprising mortgage loan originators, banks, and specialist lending institutions;
- Commercial Property Owners, including commercial and corporate owners of properties across multiple business sectors; and
- General Consumers, including residential home owner and renters.
According to its annual report, First American provides title insurance policies and other products and services to many of the largest credit institutions in the US, including high-profile names such as Wells Fargo and Company, JPMorgan Chase and Company, US Bancorp, Quicken Loans Inc, and Bank of America Corporation, together with their affiliates.
First American principally serves customers in its home market of the US. The Company, however, also serves an international customers base, including clients in certain international markets.
First American provides value to its customers in the following ways:
- Its industry standing and reputation, with the Company established as one of the largest and most well-regarded providers of title insurance products and related services in the US, having a positive track record for providing reliable and effective solutions;
- Its financial strength, with the Company controlling substantial financial reserves that provide comfort to its clients and stability to the Company operations enterprise wide;
- Its portfolio of products, with the Company providing a range of title insurance, property insurance, and casualty insurance products, as well as certain related services, that are tailored to suit the needs of each individual client;
- Its accessibility, with the Company providing products and services through multiple channels, including certain online services and third party issued products; and
- Its industry expertise and experience, with the Company employing highly-trained, specialist personnel across its two operating segments, led by a team of experienced industry executives
First American operates a website at www.firstam.com, through which it provides information on its products, services, and corporate activities. The Company also operates several online platforms through which customers are able to access certain products, services, resources, and tools. This includes the Company’s myFirstAm, FASTWeb, and AgentNet portals, which facilitate title ordering, order tracking and various other services.
First American operates its own n-house direct sales force, which deals directly with clients around the world. This sales force is organised by geographic region and by product and service line, allowing its personnel to provide a more focused service. First American’s policies and related products and services are distributed via sales representatives located at its various offices across the US, including in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston.
First American also provides services through a range of intermediaries, notably its network of independent sales agents located across the US. These agents work closely with the Company in order to ensure quality of service.
First American provides a range of services and products to its customers on a self-service basis. The Company’s above-mentioned online platforms allow customers to place title orders, track orders, search records, and calculate fees without interacting directly with members of the Company’s sales and service teams.
First America, however, primarily serves its customers through its dedicated sales and service representatives, who consult directly with clients in order to fully establish their needs and circumstances and provide personalised products and solutions. Its services are typically provided for fixed terms, often spanning multiple years. The Company endeavours to provide effective coverage and services, with a view to encouraging recurring business.
First American provides ongoing care to its customers after sales have been made. Customers are able to contact dedicated support personnel over the phone or via an online contact form in order to obtain personalised responses to queries, complaints, and enquiries. The Company additionally provides certain online support resources, such as guides to submitting claims, as well as news coverage of the Company’s activities.
Alternatively, customers are able to interact directly with representatives of First America, and receive updates on its operations, through its social media accounts, including with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
First American operates as a holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the Company is engaged in the provision of various financial and insurance services.
The Company operates primarily through two reportable segments: Title Insurance and Services, which issues title insurance policies on residential and commercial property in the US and offers similar or related products to customers in certain international markets; and Specialty Insurance, which issues property and casualty insurance policies and sells home warranty products to customers in the US.
The Company also operates a corporate segment, which consists primarily of certain financing facilities, as well as the corporate services that support the Company's business operations. First American provides products and services to many of the largest lending institutions in the US, including Wells Fargo and Company, JPMorgan Chase and Company, and US Bancorp.
First American works in conjunctions with various partner companies and organisations around the world in order to provide effective and reliable services. These partners can be organised broadly into the following categories:
- Supplier and Vendor Partners, including suppliers of professional services, equipment, technologies, and tools that are utilised across the Company to ensure its efficient and reliable operations, as well as companies to which certain no-technical functions can be outsourced;
- Channel and Distribution Partners, comprising the Company’s network of independent agents and sales representatives that help to extend the sales and marketing reach of the Company’s in-house sales force;
- Community and Sustainability Partners, including various non-profits and charitable organisations with which the Company collaborates on community and sustainability projects, primarily in the US; and
- Strategic and Alliance Partners, including a range of market leading companies across multiple sectors with which the Company collaborates on various marketing, branding, development, and other joint projects.
First American has launched a number of partnerships in recent years. This includes a branding partnership with BrandingBusiness, and a community partnership with Operation HOPE and the National Centre for Human and Civil Rights.
First American’s key resources are its trademarks and intellectual properties, its financial reserves, its online platforms, its IT and communications infrastructure, its sales and distribution channels, its partnerships, and its personnel.
First American owns a number of intellectual properties that are key to its activities, including customer relationships, non-compete agreements, trademarks and patents. Searches of records published by the US Patent and Trademark Office identified a number of patent applications filed in First American’s name, including an application entitled ‘System and method for extracting information from documents’.
First American also owns and leases a number of physical properties, notably including its network of offices across the US.
First American incurs costs in relation to the development of its intellectual properties, the development of its online platform, the maintenance of its IT and communications infrastructure, the operation of its sales and distribution channels, the implementation of marketing and advertising campaigns, the procurement of professional services, the management of its partnerships, and the retention of its personnel.
In 2015 First American recorded total expenses in the amount of $4.30 billion. This included personnel costs totalling $1.49 billion, premiums retained by agents totalling $1.66 billion, and other operating expenses totalling $745.28 million.
First American generates revenue through the sale of various insurance and financial services products, as well as the provision of related services and products. The Company derives revenue in the form of premium payments form its clients, as well as from the sale and refinancing of residential and commercial real estate assets.
In 2015 First American generated revenue for the year in the amount of $5.18 billion, up slightly on the $4.68 billion recorded by the Company in 2014. The bulk of this revenue was generated by the Company’s Title Insurance and Services segment, which alone generated revenue for the year of $4.79 billion.
info: Dennis Gilmore (“Gilmore”) has served as Chief Executive Officer at First American since 2010, having previously served as Chief Executive Officer of First American Corporation’s financial services group from 2008. He oversees the overall strategic direction of the Company. Gilmore also sits on the Company’s Board of Directors and serves as President of the Company's largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company. Gilmore was previously a long-serving employee of First American Corporation, having joined the company in 1991. He served in a number of senior roles at the company, including a spell as Chief Operating Officer, before First American was spun off as a separate entity in 2010. Gilmore began his career in the lending industry, going on to join TRTS Data Services in 1988. TRTS Data was acquired by First American Corporation in 1991.
info: Mark Seaton (“Seaton”) has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at First American since 2013, having previously served as the Company’s Senior Vice President of Finance from its establishment in 2010. He oversees the Company’s various financial functions, and sits on the Company’s Board of Directors. Seaton first joined First American Corporation in 2006, going on to serve in a number of roles, including management of the Company's financial planning, treasury, investments and investor relations activities. Prior to joining First American Corporation, Seaton held various positions of increasing responsibility at companies operating in the private equity investment banking sector.
info: Kenneth DeGiorgio (“DeGiorgio”) has served as Executive Vice President at First American since 2012, having previously served as the Company’s Secretary. He also serves as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. DeGiorgio has held various senior positions at First American and its predecessor company. He first joined First American Corporation in 1999 as Regulatory Counsel. He was promoted to Vice President and Associate General Counsel in 2001, and later to Senior Vice President and General Counsel three years later. DeGiorgio began his career as a lawyer, serving as an associate in the Los Angeles office of New York-based law firm White and Case.
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