It was a year ago that we first reported on the company-wide changes Stewart Title was making to create better experiences for agents and brokers. CEO Fred Eppinger, who took over the reins in late 2019, saw the company’s emergence from a long period of merger talks as an opportunity to redefine how Stewart does business. Today, we look at the progress the company has made over the past year on its “journey to become the premier title services company.”
“We took a hard look at who we were, who we wanted to be, and the needs of the industry,” Mr. Eppinger says, “We developed a strategy and got to work.”
That strategy included hiring a number of A-list players in the industry, boosting the company’s technology offerings, and pursuing acquisitions to strengthen the company’s position in key markets.
2020 was one of the most successful years financially for the company in its 128-year history, and things haven’t slowed down in 2021. Stewart has been intentional with its expansion of operations through acquisitions of both companies and new talent. In the past three quarters alone, the company has added more than 3,500 employees through acquisitions and direct hires.
On the acquisitions front, the company has invested $900 million in more than a dozen companies over the past 18 months, spanning the full breadth of its business. The company has added an impressive list of industry leaders to its fleet, like A.S.K. Services, Cloudvirga, Pro Teck® Valuation Intelligence, Signature Closers, U.S. Appraisals, Informative Research, and NotaryCam®.
Stewart continued to demonstrate their commitment to meeting customers’ needs with their most recent acquisition of PropStream. The company offers an impressive residential real estate property data platform that gives agents the ability to generate insights and better target selling, investing and other business opportunities. This is one more example of how Stewart is using acquisitions to address the needs of its customers.
Along its journey, Stewart has also focused on home-grown programs. One such program is the Success with Stewart program, a partnership that offers training and insights around agent marketing, farming tools, and CRM systems. The company also partners with CertifID to protect customers from the rising wave of wire fraud, reassure them that their funds are protected, and provide peace of mind to everyone involved in the transaction.
The road ahead
The CEO made it clear that Stewart doesn’t invest for the sake of investing. All investments are made with the customer in mind. Stewart is dedicated to advancing the industry’s needs and bettering customers’ experiences with the company. These two things are at the forefront of all their business decisions.
On the topic of commitment, Mr. Eppinger sums up his outlook for the company this way: “We need to consistently deliver better experiences, whatever it takes. And we will not be out-invested on the things that count most.”
With everything we’ve seen the company accomplish so far, we’re inclined to take him at his word. Stewart is serious about redefining itself. In the process, it just might be redefining the industry.