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Best Practices

ALTA Releases Updated Version of Best Practices

August 1, 2013

ALTA has released an updated version of its “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” following many conversations with agents, underwriters, lenders, regulators and other stakeholders.

The updated Best Practices includes a handful of changes. The most significant change was the removal of the requirement to check employees’ credit reports in the section on escrow accounting and data security best practices. Other changes included simplified insurance requirements and clarification of recording timelines. In addition, language across the seven pillars was modified to make it clearer and more consistent.

“We want the Best Practices to be reflective of industry needs, so we will continually seek feedback and make appropriate modifications,” said Frank Pellegrini ALTA’s president.

What’s Next

ALTA is creating a workbook for title professionals to help examine adoption of Best Practices and prepare for a company assessment. The workbook will expand on and clarify each of the Best Practices. It will ask agents questions in each of the assessment procedures to assist in understanding readiness for the Best Practices assessment.

“You can think of the assessment as the test and the workbook as the Cliffs Notes to help title professionals prepare for the test,” Korsmo said.

Finally, ALTA is working on completing tools to help members develop their own written procedures. The model creation tools will help guide agents as they create written procedures necessary to execute the policy of adhering to Best Practices.

ALTA expects to publish the workbook and model policy creation tool in August.

“As you can see, ALTA is working hard to provide tools to help all professionals compete in the marketplace,” Korsmo said.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the Best Practices, send ALTA an email at bestpractices@alta.org.

Best Practices Education Opportunities

To help you stay ahead of the curve on what lenders are looking for, we have nine professional development sessions dedicated to Best Practices during our 2013 Annual Convention in Palm Beach, Fla., at the Breakers. Here’s a look at a few of the sessions:

  • Escrow from Soup to Nuts: From set up to shut down, this session will cover everything you need to know about escrow including proper naming of the account, reconciliation, verifying the existence of fraud accounts, proper crime insurance and how to escheat funds. Come to this session to make sure your accounts satisfy the ALTA Best Practices.
  • Gaining a Competitive Advantage by Implementing a Clean Desk Policy: Speakers will provide information that will give you the ability to create a customized Clean Desk Policy specific to your organization.
  • Weaving the Threads of Title E&O: This session will discuss how title professionals can utilize current insurance market products to mitigate their financial responsibility risks. Attendees will learn about title agent E&O, cyber liability/data breach and escrow security bonds, and how to use these products most effectively within their agencies.
  • Trials and Tribulations in Enhancing Consumer Care: Panelists who have implemented Best Practices will share successes in modifying their processes and provide attendees solid take-aways that can be implemented in their operations.
Click here to get more information about the Annual Convention or to register. A preliminary schedule can be viewed here. As always, CE/CLE credits will be available for many states.

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