Expert on Title Insurance Law Passes Away

February 24, 2015

William Hart, an expert on title insurance law and author of multiple books, articles and papers addressing land title issues, passed away Jan. 29 at the age of 68.

Hart was the chief executive officer of Title Law Associates, a firm that works as title insurance consultants, publishers of title litigation news and educational materials directly related to the title insurance industry. He was editor of “Title Management Today” and of the recent book “Due Diligence in Title Insurance Underwriting,” A regular contributor to the DIRT listserv—a forum for real estate professionals for the purpose of discussing real property legal issues—Hart also authored several articles for West Law.

As an apprentice to his father, Hart started searching titles as a fifth grader during summer break. During the 1970s and ’80s, he held several positions in the title industry, responsible for profit-and-loss centers, and identifying turn-around problems and risk issues.

From 1992 to 2006, Hart served as chief underwriter for Pennsylvania-based T.A. Title Insurance Co. Prior to that, he was senior vice present and chief underwriter for Meridian and American Title Insurance Company from 1985 to 1992.

For two decades, Hart served on ALTA’s Title Counsel Committee and as an ad hoc member of the Forms Committee from November 1985 to 2005.

Bushnell Nielsen, shareholder of the law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren and editor of Title and Escrow Claims Guide, first met Hart at an ALTA Title Counsel meeting.

“Bill was a true old school title underwriter with a great respect for the industry and its history,” Nielsen said. “He seemed to know everyone in the business. He also was friends with and the legal scholars who observe and deal with the title business, and was an excellent student of the law.”

Michael Skalka of Old Republic National Title Insurance also met Hart through ALTA’s committees.

The two worked together when Skalka was with Stewart Title and Hart was with T.A. Title. Skalka remembers Hart’s devotion to the title industry.

“Bill loved the title industry and its people,” he said. “Outside of his family, underwriting was Bill's passion. The title industry is a bit sadder for our collective loss.”

Donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.

Click here to read Hart’s obituary.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or