New Year, New Procedures - ALTA Best Practices

Kris Pelot, President & COO

The American Land Title Association has issued best practices “to guide its  membership to protect consumers, promote quality service, provide for ongoing employee training, and meet legal and market requirements.”

The practices are voluntary but are intended to provide a positive real estate settlement service.

At GTS, we take these practices seriously. In fact, we have built initiatives into our 2013 Strategic Plan to enhance those processes already established, and create new where there’s a gap to comply with these best practices. The best practices are as follows:

1. Best Practice: Establish and maintain current license(s) as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services

2. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for escrow trust accounts along for electronic verification of reconciliation

3. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect non-public personal information as required by local, state and federal law

4. Best Practice: Adopt standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws as applicable

5. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance

6. Best Practice: Maintain appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage

7. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain procedures for resolving customer complaints

Some of this is reminiscent of my ISO 9001 experience in manufacturing.  "Do what you say and say what you do."  Establishing consistent processes and ensuring they are followed contributes to process control and product and service quality.  The trick is keeping the procedures updated, auditing for compliance, and always looking for ways to improve (three cheers for Continuous Improvement!!!)

All of these practices will become industry standards over time.   Today, they are a way agents in our industry can differentiate among competitors, and reflect the quality of process and service within an organization itself. At GTS, these standards fit like a glove in our GTS Standards of Excellence - and will support our goal of providing a “wow” experience to all of our customers.

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