Kyle Mead Asks 'Who Gets It?' and Explains the Mysteries of Title Insurance

Photograph: Kyle Mead.Kyle Mead, '98, presented the Lunch and Learn "Who Gets It? Mysteries of Title Insurance Explained" on March 26, 2018. He was hosted by Washburn Law's Business and Transactional Law Center.

Mead, a Topeka native, is a Washburn University School of Law alumnus and has been employed as an examining attorney at Lawyers Title of Topeka, Inc. since 2002. During law school, he clerked for a local firm in Topeka and practiced privately for about 5 years after graduation, which he says is actually quite rare for his line of work.

Mead began his presentation by explaining that his job occurs during the due diligence phase of a transaction. He described it as an investigation into a property's "bundle of sticks" in that, he tries to figure out who is holding all the sticks to a particular piece of property. To do this, Mead reviews places that are generally reliable enough to impart public notice on a buyer, such as public records at register of deeds office, records with the district court, and records with the Secretary of State. His job involves reviewing the evidence and making determinations on who the current owner of the property is and what needs to happen to get property interests legally and cleanly transferred from person A to person B.

Mead explained to students that title insurance is quite different from casualty insurance. Title insurance seeks to prevent losses based on an examination of a title’s past; it does not forecast the future. This type of insurance protects the insured and covers various things such as indemnity if a specific tendency occurs and a promise to make good in case of a loss. To search for a title's past, Mead explained that he starts by researching the land and the people or entities involved in the transaction and acquires the proper legal description of the property (sometimes all the way back to when the government conveyed the land to the first owner). He also searches for things regarding the property that could cause issues such as mortgages, deeds of trust, foreclosures, tax liens, mechanics liens, and probate and divorce cases involving the property. Mead explained that primary customers of his job include attorneys, lenders, and realtors. He indicated that it usually takes 7–10 business days to complete all necessary research and have a finished product ready to go out to customers.

Washburn University School of Law thanks Kyle Mead for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with law students about his substantial experience in the world of title insurance.