Title insurance agents face waves of continuous technological evolutions, all designed to ease the agent’s work, but which can be glitchy enough to tempt title agents to abandon new protocols in favor of old habits.
Technology shows up in our work lives in several ways. For example, the options below are but an “initial round-up” (if you will) of many title agent’s interactions with technology:
Production Software – Often used by title agents to manage files, create documents and commitments, handle disbursements, communicate and share information with clients.
Electronic Records – While still not yet available in every county or title plant, most urban areas now have electronic records. Title professionals no longer have to drive to a set location to research property records. They can do research from a computer anywhere with an internet connection.
E-Recordings – Rather than taking the original documents to the County Register of Deeds to be put of record, recordings can be submitted online through various providers.
E-Signatures – E- Notaries/RON (remote online notarization) – This a rapidly evolving space and can be a major convenience for consumers and increase productivity for title agents.
Smart Contracts – SC’s are just beginning to become a reality. Self-executing contracts that follow an “if-this-then-that” protocol can streamline workflow and reduce errors.
Social Media – A powerful and ubiquitous vehicle that aids marketing and relationship efforts.
Technology is now a part of everything we do, and most every title agent recognizes the benefits of adopting some form of technology. Moving forward, technology is helping mitigate risks like wire fraud while helping us run more efficient businesses.
There can be a bit of tug-of-war over the adoption of new technology. The over 50-year-old work population has had to learn new technologies as adults, while Millennials grew up in the face of ever-evolving technology options, and the up-and-coming Generation Z has never known a life without the Internet.
Those from older generations have witnessed methods that were once industry best practices become obsolete in a brave new, technological world. In some cases, entire industries have had to evolve or risk becoming obsolete themselves.
The truth is the title insurance industry is behind, technologically speaking. Title insurance operates much like the check at the grocery store; although the check may remain an option for some time yet, it is not now, nor will it ever again be the dominate method of payment.
Yet our industry has been slow to adapt and embrace new technologies. Those who would drag their feet cite concerns about emerging technology, the validity of it and what the implications could be in the result of certain claims. These are valid concerns.
But a continued resistance is creating opportunity for those outside our industry to change it for us.
While the use of new technology does open doors to risk of claims or risk of being unintentionally negligent could increase, the waves of disruption don’t look to be letting up anytime soon.
To remain relevant, title agents must get on board and move full steam ahead.
Successful SSAE 18 Type II examination validates Alliant National’s processes for approving, monitoring and reviewing its agents
LONGMONT, Colo. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with Independent Agents to improve their competitive position in the marketplace, announces the successful completion of the Service Organization Control (SOC 1) SSAE 18 Type II examination for the fifth consecutive year.
The examination results in an AICPA endorsed report stating that Alliant National Title Insurance Company has maintained effective controls over its Agent Quality Management System. A-Lign Certified Public Accountants of Tampa, Fla., performed the engagement and certification.
The successful SSAE 18 Type II examination validates Alliant National’s processes for approving, monitoring, and reviewing its agents, which results in its agents being designated as Authorized Service Providers or Certified Service Providers of Alliant National. Under this framework, Alliant National’s Independent Agents are reviewed annually against rigorous quality standards.
Lenders relying upon Alliant National’s oversight of its agents and Authorized and Certified Service Provider programs receive additional assurance that processes and controls are designed and function properly and accurately.
Alliant National was certified to the SSAE 16 Type I standard on Dec. 1, 2013 and received compliant status to the more rigorous SSAE 16 Type II standard effective Aug. 31, 2014 and each year through December 31, 2018. That makes 2018 the fifth consecutive year of continued compliance to SSAE Type II standards. The unqualified report was issued without exceptions.
“Alliant National was the first title insurance underwriter in the nation to obtain an SSAE16 Type II compliant status and is the only title insurance underwriter to achieve compliant status for five consecutive years. This certification provides strong independent assurance of our agent oversight systems to lenders and all stakeholders,” Alliant National President and CEO, Bob Grubb said. “Our goal is to provide unequivocal evidence of the quality of our agents through an independently audited system.”
Tracey Webb, a Senior Vice President and Southeastern Region Agency Manager for Alliant National, has 30 years of title industry experience and is based in Atlanta
LONGMONT, Colo. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company (Alliant National) recently announced that Senior Vice President and Southeastern Region Agency Manager Tracey Webb, a title industry leader for over three decades, received the National Title Professional (NTP) designation from the American Land Title Association.
The American Land Title Association advises the NTP designation is designed to recognize land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property.
“Tracey is a very accomplished, professional and highly regarded title insurance industry executive,” said Kyle Rank, executive vice president, agency, Alliant National. “Meeting the NTP designation’s stringent standards and criteria is further proof of her dedication to our independent agents’ success.”
Webb, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, is also a Certified Public Accountant and is responsible for Alliant National’s agency group in the southeast.
“Advancing our industry through education and professional standards helps us all,” Webb said. “I look forward to continuing using my skills to serve our independent agents.”
The Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent®, Alliant National believes in putting other people first. The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 450+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 24 states and the District of Columbia, with annual revenues exceeding $120 million. Visit alliantnational.com/newsroom for additional information.
What began as a law office that also did a bit of title work in rural Kansas has transformed into Tallgrass Title, a thriving title insurance agency serving three counties in Northeast Kansas.
Jake Pugh, owner of Tallgrass Title, is happy to share the long history of this successful family business. Jake’s grandfather started the law office in the 1940’s, Jake’s father joined the business in the 1980’s and Jake joined “a few years later,” in 2006.
“Title insurance wasn’t even a thing back in the 1940’s,” recalls Jake. “But the law office did dabble in probate, title work and routine real estate items.”
Jake’s father saw an emerging market in title insurance in the 1980’s and opened a title business, Wamego Title, in the back office of the law firm.
It became a successful business among the locals, but outside of the town of Wamego, no one knew about it. Fast forward to 2017 and Wamego Title wanted to grow and serve clients in the Northeast Kansas region.
Through a successful relationship as an independent agent with Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Wamego Title rebranded as Tallgrass Title.
Jake began the process by collaborating with Alliant National’s Director of Marketing Nikki Smith in conjunction with Alliant National’s partner David Hafleigh from Future Works.
Nikki and David worked closely with Jake, sharing knowledge based on market research and experience with helping other independent agents grow their title insurance businesses.
Together, they chose a regional-based name for the business: Tallgrass Title, a name that’s inspired by the area’s rolling prairie hills, valleys and rivers.
Nikki and David were extremely insightful, helping Jake with a new website, advertising and other branding material, as well as event planning for a grand re-opening under the Tallgrass Title name.
While Jake loved the rebranding efforts, one marketing practice he felt adamantly against was blogging.
He didn’t need to do such a thing, and nobody in the area would know about or seek out his blogs, and if by chance they did read his blogs, they’d be bored with the content.
Or, so he thought. Nikki was insistent that Jake needed to blog.
Jake wrote a few blogs and posted to Tallgrass Title’s website. And then, he cross-posted those blogs to the company’s social media sites and shared them via email newsletters.
They also used details from the blog to put into educational presentations. Then, he went about his business, attending networking events and being active in his community. But, something was different.
Realtors would approach him and talk about his blog. They’d ask follow-up questions, and also request topics for him to write about in future blogs. They appreciated his knowledge and wanted more blogs!
Business opportunities are growing for Tallgrass Title in the Northeast Kansas region and every day, Jake is grateful that he found Alliant National Title Insurance Company.
You are looking at a photo of a house on Mexico Beach, Florida which was the location that Cateogry 4, Hurricane Michael, made landfall on October 10, 2018.
Almost all of the homes surrounding this home were built to 1970s Category 3 hurricane standards set by the local government. You can see what happened to them. Catastrophic destruction.
This particular home was built “for the big one.”
In this case, a Category 5 hurricane standard, able to sustain winds of 250 miles an hour and very high storm surges.
The owners of this home took the time to think for themselves and choose to work with different standards, higher standards, so they could cope more effectively with the new set of threats being created by climate change.
Given the picture above, here’s the question to ask yourself as an independent title agent: What standards am I building my business to?
Where am I getting those standards and what is the motivation of the source that is giving me that information? How reliable are they? Is it appropriate?
As the Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent, we at Alliant National think for ourselves.
What should those standards be considering that our agents success is our success, that we don’t compete with them by having direct operations and our entire business model is organized around helping our independent agents thrive?
As you may have surmised, our standards are higher. Alliant National is the independent underwriter for THE FINEST Independent agents in the industry, and we have evidence to prove it.
From 2013 through 2017 the title insurance industry had an average loss ratio of 7.7 percent. Alliant National’s loss ratio for that same period was 3.4 percent. That’s performance!
How do we do it?
We offer quality assurance certifications to help our agents meet the needs of regulators and bolster their credibility with REALTORS and lenders.
And we have our own processes verified and certified to be the finest in the industry.
AUTHORIZED SERVICE PROVIDER
The Authorized Service Provider designation is determined by an audit using the stringent SSAE 18 Type 2 (SOC 1) examination process.
We send a formal letter and seal to each agent for every year they carry the Authorized Service Provider distinction, which can be shared with third-party vendors.
CERTIFIED SERVICE PROVIDER
The Certified Service Provider designation also comes with a formal letter and seal, which can be shared with third-party vendors.
To achieve this elevated distinction, an agent must submit additional documentation for review while satisfying Authorized Service Provider and ALTA Best Practices standards.
SSAE18 TYPE II CERTIFIED
Alliant National was the first title insurance underwriter in the nation to obtain an SSAE18 Type II compliant status and is the only title insurance underwriter to achieve compliant status for four consecutive years.
ISO 27001 CERTIFIED
We’re also the only title insurance underwriter in the industry to receive an ISO 27001 certification, validating that we adhere to the most rigorous International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements – just another example of how Alliant National assures quality and helps manage risk for our agents.
So choose your standards carefully.
Know the motivations of your underwriters and why some set standards high and why others set standards low so you’re more at risk.
Our standards are built to last, built for the big one, and built to help our agents thrive.