BEST PRACTICES IN TITLE INSURANCE AND SETTLEMENT

SELF ASSESSMENT CERTIFICATION

Oct 1, 2015

 

 

Mission Statement:   To practice the business of title insurance and settlement in compliance with State and Federal laws and regulations and to adhere to the highest standards in the industry in professionalism and best practices to provide positive and informative settlement experiences for the consumer and related service providers.  We adopt the Best Practices of the American Land Title Association and highly value our participation as members of the professional associations of the American Land Title Association and the Missouri Land Title Association.

 

Best Practice Pillar I:  Establish and maintain current licenses as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services in the State of Missouri.

 

Preferred Land Title, LLC is compliant with Best Practice Pillar I. 

  • The company maintains licenses to do business in every office and every county in which it operates in the State of Missouri.

  • The company maintains licensed principal(s) for the company as required under state regulations

  • The company maintains a license to use the ALTA promulgated forms through its membership in ALTA.

 

Best Practice Pillar II:  Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliations.

 

This Pillar provides for appropriate and effective escrow controls and training for staff to aid the Company in meeting client expectations and all legal requirements for the safeguard of consumer and client funds.  The procedures adopted help ensure accuracy and minimize the risk of loss of client funds.  Segregation of duties in trust accounting is followed internally.

           

Preferred Land Title, LLC is compliant with Best Practice Pillar II.

  • The company maintains separate operating and escrow accounts

  • Escrow accounts are reconciled with trial balances at least monthly using three way reconciliations.   Deposits and disbursements are reconciled daily with two way reconciliation per file.  Duties are segregated so that employees who have signing authority do not reconcile and those who reconcile are experienced and trained in account reconciliation.  Management reviews each electronically stored reconciliation report.

  • Escrow and Trust Accounts are properly titled.

  • Positive and negative file balances are documented.

  • Only authorized and licensed  employees may conduct settlements, authorize transactions and former employees are immediately barred from any activity and removed officially from the account  as soon as possible.

  • Escrow accounts are only held in federally insured financial institutions and care is taken to make sure the limits of such accounts are not exceeded.

  • The company utilizes Positive pay where available, and ACH blocks and  International wire blocks on all accounts.

  • Only those employees with satisfactory credit reports and background checks are authorized signatories on escrow accounts.

  • Training sessions are conducted one on one monthly as to any issues that turn up in the reconciliation process and at least quarterly during the year to settlement/closing personnel through various methods in person or on-line.

 

Best Practice Pillar III:  Adopt and maintain written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information as required by local, state, and federal law.

Federal and state laws (including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) require title companies to develop a written information security program that describes the procedures they employ to protect Non-public Personal Information. The program must be appropriate to the Company's size and complexity, the nature and scope of the Company's activities, and the sensitivity of the customer information the Company handles. A Company evaluates and adjusts its program in light of relevant circumstances, including changes in the Company's business or operations, or the results of security testing and monitoring.

          

Preferred Land Title, LLC is compliant with Best Practice Pillar III

  • The company maintains separate operating and escrow accounts

  • NPI if physically maintained by PLT is accessible only by authorized employees.

  • NPI, if electronically maintained is done so on secure servers with access restricted to only authorized employees

  • Storing data on removable media such as smart phones, USB drives and disks is controlled and often prevented by our Information System Manager.

  • Documents containing NPI is transmitted from PLT using a vendor specializing in safe delivery of documents using encryption and password protection.

  • Each PLT office maintains its own document shredder or contracts the service to a shredding vendor to ensure disposal of NPI.

  • PLT maintains and test its written Disaster Recovery Plan on an annual basis.

  • All existing and new employees are trained on information security.

  • PLT vendors who handle courtesy closings or witness closings and also come into possession of NPI must have acknowledged in writing that they comply with Federal and State privacy laws and PLT's information security plan.

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

Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training helps ensure the Company can meet state, federal, and contractual obligations governing the Settlement Procedures to meet this best practice.

 

Preferred Land Title, LLC is compliant with Best Practice Pillar IV.

  • PLt's policy requires its closing/settlement employees to submit documents for recording within two business days of  disbursement using e-recording when available and tracking the documents as they make their way through the recordedr's office.

  • PLT accurately quotes rates based upon the state filed premium rates, its own rate sheets, and on-line rate sheets of its underwriters to ensure that consumers are being charged the appropriate premiums.               

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

 

Adopting appropriate procedures for the production, delivery, and remittance of title insurance policies helps ensure title companies can meet their legal and contractual obligations.

           

Preferred Land Title, LLC is compliant with Best Practice Pillar V:

  • PLT issues policies within 30 days on insured transactions that PLT settles.

  • PLT issues policies within 30 days after the last requirement is met for non-PLT closing insured transactions

  • PLT tracks its orders to assure that policy issuance standards are met through reports generated through its software and by tracking its paid invoices for title insurance premiums.

  • PLT reports policies through its underwriters on-line policy reporting systems and reports the issuance of policies by the last day of the month following the month in which the insured transaction was settled.

  • PLT reviews all billings for premium from the underwriter and submits for adjustments within 30 days after receipt of the billing from the underwriter.

  • PLT pays all underwriter final invoices within 30 days after receipt of the final adjusted billing.

  • PLT keeps all premiums due to the underwriters on all premiums collected for insured transactions in a separate escrow account and reconciles said premium remittance account monthly.

Best Practices Pillar VI:

Appropriate levels of professional liability insurance ( E & O insurance) helps to ensure that tile agencies and settlement companies maintain the financial capacity ot stand behind their professional services.  State law and title insurance underwriting agreements may require a company to maintain certain levels of E & O insurance, fidelity coverage or surety bonds.

           

PLT is compliant with Best Practice VI.

  • PLT has E & O insurance with a $10,000 deductible with appropriate insurance against claims for errors and omissions in its work as a title insurance agent, including the closing process,  and as an abstractor and provider of search information and examination of title.

  • PLT has fidelity coverage for employee theft in the amount of $100,000 per incidence.

  • PLT tracks the time periods for renewal of  its  E & O insurance, fidelity insurance, and  cyber insurance that it may have acquired when available.

  • PLT reports all claims and issues that might be under its insurance policies timely and tracks all such incidents.

  • PLT Its employees are trained annually to recognize claims and liability situations and to report them immediately to the claims supervisor.

Best Practice Pillar VII:

 

A process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints helps to ensure that reported instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered.

 

PLT is compliant with Best Practice VII:

  • PLT has performed education of all personnel in every office to recognize a complaint, to know how to acknowledge a complaint, and how and to whom it is to be reported.

  • PLT has appointed the Claims Registrar and clerk to preserve the records.

  • PLT has trained the Claims Registrar in claims resolution.

  • PLT has a procedure for keeping records of claims, attempts of resolution, and resolution of the claim if any, as well as back up of records so that they are kept on each complaint for at least 3 years.

Copyright Preferred Land Title, LLC  2018