Title Searches Go Automated via Title Data Platform Enhancement

December 19, 2006

Houston-area title companies and attorneys - and their home-seller and buyer customers - will benefit from a new feature offering automated title searches online.

The TIMS(R) title plant and production platform was developed by Houston-based Title Data Inc., one of the largest title plant maintainers in the country. TIMS has been enhanced to interface with a title company's escrow and closing system to transmit a title order for searching.

If a title order is matched electronically to a property legal description, TIMS automatically launches a search of Title Data's title plant, which significantly reduces the time required for the title search.

Currently, TIMS gets a "hit" for approximately 68 percent of all orders submitted using TIMS including both acreage and lot and block parcels. This is considered a high match rate in light of the number of incomplete, incorrect and missing legal descriptions encountered in the typical title order and the complexity of matching a parcel which is described by metes and bounds.

Stewart Title of Houston has been the beta test site for the enhancement and has integrated the new functionality into its area operations.

"This new TIMS feature delivers on all counts--higher accuracy, reduced turnaround time and lower cost for our title company customer," said James P. Sibley, president, Title Data. "Stewart Title of Houston played a major role in guiding our development of this new product, for which we are deeply grateful."

The process begins when a Stewart Title of Houston escrow employee enters a new title order into the Stewart AIM(R) title production system. The order generates and transmits an XML stream to Title Data, which determines which parcel or piece of land in Title Data's database correctly matches the order information.

TIMS then launches an electronic search of Title Data's title plant and delivers a search package to the Stewart Title production center, where results are immediately available to the title examiner. If the parcel is not found, the order is sent to an open order clerk in Stewart's production center for manual processing.

"We were fortunate to be Title Data's beta test site for TIMS," said Steve Robison, president, Stewart Title of Houston. "We look forward to its implementation, which will speed examination turn-time, increase operating efficiencies and benefit all involved in the closing process."

Title Data and Stewart Title of Houston also are working together on additional TIMS enhancements. These include: automatic ordering of tax certificates; sending search results to a title examiner who finishes the exam and commitment while working in an electronic workbench environment; as well as automated production of a preliminary title insurance commitment, using text extracted from recorded documents and prior commitments.

Source: Stewart Information Services Corp.

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