Whitepaper Urges Title Industry to Rethink Paradigm

November 4, 2009

The title insurance industry is beginning to see the bottom of the housing slump as order is being restored to the chaos within the financial markets.

Obviously the impact to geographic markets in the U.S. vary considerably, but with the assistance that has been provided by the Federal Government in the form of stimulus and special programs, the title industry is starting to become a healthier beneficiary of these initiatives, according to California-based CentRealTech Inc.

The privately held technology and services company, which is led by former title industry and technology executives with over 100 years of experience, said many may look at these programs as a convenient means to help shore up struggling industries to get back on track and/or take themselves out of survival mode; but others look at these government and state sponsored programs and see the potential for a new beginning.

CentRealTech issued a whitepaper in November that addresses what companies in the title industry should be doing to prepare for a full recovery in light of current challenges. The whitepaper also encourages companies to find out what their customers want to add value to the partnership.

The paradigm for success is growth, revenue and profitability, according to CentRealTech. Nothing has changed here and traditionally results have been achieved organically and/or through acquisition. If the industry is to change to a high-performance model, full achievement must include four key imperatives that will directly impact results:

  1. Enter new markets

  2. Increase revenues in existing markets

  3. Improve operational performance

  4. Deliver products and services more efficiently and effectively
The gauge for success, however, is how well you execute and this becomes the determining factor if your company is “on” or “off” the road to becoming a high-performance organization. The common thread for enablement of these imperatives is:
  • Aggressively implementing new processes that drive positive levels of performance

  • Leverage innovative technologies that helps deliver immediate results

  • Institutionalize new patterns of behavior that reinforce “time to productivity” and “time to market”

  • Eliminate the need for manual intervention and capture cost savings that will sustain profitability.

The Changing Marketplace

The title industry by its nature is very competitive and the slow adoption of technological processes has become an inhibitor for growth, CentRealTech said. Internally developed programs have become a residual of the past, albeit some work better than others. Others, because it was always done this way, provide an old pathway for pre-determined results without regard for or trust in innovation. The constant drive for cost containment and the search for new business opportunities with improved profitability paths clearly are limited if innovation does not become the vehicle for consideration. The progressives, who are now adopting new avenues for growth of their businesses, are embracing change and selecting a high performance pathway to out-perform their peers.

High-performance business strategies build upon expertise in process, consulting, technology and services -- which enable performance at the highest levels and create sustainable value for customers and shareholders.

“Would you consider altering standard business operations with complimentary digital processes that provide full regulatory compliance … and map to the intersection of leading technology service standards and best-in-class business practices to achieve improved profit margins and competitive advantages in the marketplace?” CentRealTech asks in its whitepaper.

Among the key strengths that distinguish a high-performance organization in the marketplace as opposed to remaining just a “me-too-company” include:
  • Extensive industry expertise

  • Broad and evolving service offerings

  • Expertise and positive attitude for business transformation

  • History of technology innovation and implementation

  • Proven and experienced management teams

Operational success has been established in the title industry when a company begins to execute its pathway forward in the drive to become a high-performance organization.

What has been common-place in this process are the initial steps:
  • Right size their organizations

  • Simultaneously expand service offerings

  • Stay focused on core competencies

  • Outsource tasks that are aligned to support and service functions.

CentRealTech said when companies implement these steps, they moved forward positively in every part of their business from strategic, tactical and day-to-day operations. Their customers can now count on them to mobilize the right people, provide the right skill-sets and support every interaction and service engagement with a world class “state-of-readiness,” and meet all delivery expectations in the title industry.

Today, customers are receiving the benefit of fully automated title production platforms that provide closed loop property searches, access to property reports and data on a continuous basis, and delivery of “title ready” products in record breaking time. These new business processes, supported with front- and back-end technical interfaces, operate a paperless production and reporting platform that is networked via Software as a Service (SaaS) architected Internet portals, according to CentRealTech. The digital information highway travels from customers, to title plants, to service operations centers, and back to the customer within hours, not days.

“New industry standards have now been set in the marketplace and are quickly becoming recognized by customers who are demanding change from vendors and/or suppliers,” CentRealTech said in its whitepaper. “Customers will become the drivers in the market as the industries move forward as they seek to become competitively advantaged while old performance standards go by the way-side.”

Sustaining Customer Relationships

Every high-performance team holds dear the relationships developed with customers. Understanding the unique set of business requirements that every customer has is imperative to maintaining an excellent relationship; whether this means the content and structure of search reporting, data capture methods, or the process used to integrate with their production systems. As expected, there are different levels of expertise within each provider organization in the title industry, so a one-size fits all approach simply does not work.

High-performance organizations must stand ready to provide customized solutions with maximum flexibility that address their customer needs, wants and desires and not just provide standard offerings, according to CentRealTech.

So what are the steps that make the high-performance customer model work for you to maximize customer relationships:
  • Assess internal and external environments and then determine a complimentary strategy that will advance the current state to a mutually agreed upon targeted conclusion.

  • Decide on the most expeditious path forward to capture early results that reinforce the strategic direction and support the long term goals.

  • Implement change efficiently and effectively and be open-minded that results are fully optimized when there is agreement and understanding.

  • Always view the customer relationship as long term, and whereby over time you will provide added value and deliver promised results.

High Performance Business Defined

There are several common threads that define high-performance businesses in the title industry, including:
  • Effectively balancing current needs and future opportunities.

  • Consistently outperforming peers in revenue growth, profitability and total return to shareholders.

  • Sustaining superiority across time, business cycles, industry disruptions and changes in leadership.

“Customers reach high-performance levels of achievement when they address how to better compete in today’s markets with a vision for what markets will look like tomorrow,” CentRealTech said in its whitepaper. “Their success is predicated on a clear set of adoption drivers that include a keen ability to make timely decisions, implementing distinctive and unique capabilities resulting in better organizational practices and creating winning organizational mindsets that support new directions and deliver efficiencies with greater profits.”

High Performance Technology Defined

High-performance technology has changed the way customers think about and execute business functionality and the results have impacted new standards for the title industry.

Value derived and now expected will be provided through the execution of technological innovation when coupled with business practices. In reviewing these new standards each one by itself becomes a critical component to complete a property search and title process. CentRealTech said the new closed-loop digital platform should be benchmarked against the following criteria:
  • Title products that contain hyperlinks to all referenced documents

  • OCR technology to easily extract and insert appropriate information into title products

  • Asynchronous integration to accelerate processing time for batch searches

  • Secured partner and customer portals for transmission of property records

  • XML technology to populate documents automatically

  • A single-seat solution that drives and completes “title ready” products

  • A SaaS architecture delivered over the Internet which reduces upfront costs, no software to install, no hardware to manage, with greater productivity/ROI and lower total cost of ownership (TCO)

  • Open API’s for compatible internal/partner application integration

  • A world class disaster recovery center for full operational back-up

  • The capability to produce all property documents and “Title Ready” products within hours.

Achieving High Performance Business Results

The ultimate test for any high-performance business is when the customer validates what was delivered versus what was promised. The standards that have evolved for the title industry are now customer defined:
  • Improve processing turn times by optimizing workflow rules and technology.

  • Automate and streamline processes by eliminating manual intervention.

  • Improve organizational quality with mindsets that embrace change for the betterment of the organization.

  • Deliver direct cost savings to the bottom line every time a property search is undertaken.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.