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Assessment Procedures Available to Help Determine Compliance

August 1, 2013

ALTA has developed a set of Assessment Procedures that can be used by title professionals to help lenders decide if a service provider meets different pillars of the Best Practices.

“The Assessment Procedures are designed to be objective and uniform and to provide a national standard that lenders can use to assess services providers,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Our hope is this document will allow various companies to conduct assessments that will be acceptable to lenders because they are based on the standard assessment procedures.”

Any company that is acceptable to lender clients may conduct the assessments. Having standard assessment procedures allows various entities to conduct assessments, potentially including underwriters, public accounting firms and certified public accountants. The assessment is intended to be updated biannually.

Frank Pellegrini, ALTA’s president, said it’s a title professional’s choice to have an assessment, but this is a proactive way for agents to show their lender customers that they are compliant with Best Practices.

“If you are waiting to get ready for a lender assessment to come, you are waiting too long,” he added. “The relationship between lenders and their service providers has changed and ALTA’s Best Practices framework can help prepare for an assessment and avoid potential disruptions in your order pipeline.”

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

At 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, July 24, Terrie Miller of H.B. Wilkinson Title Company and Alison Gareffa of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company will address the seventh pillar of Best Practices during the webinar titled “Best Practices – Resolving Consumer Complaints.” Miller and Gareffa will walk through how to develop a process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints is important to ensure that any instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered. Click here to register.

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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