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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

ALTA Best Practice #5 – Title Production

Best Practice 5 – Title Production: Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance. Appropriate procedures for the production, delivery and remittance of title insurance policies ensures title companies meet their legal and contractual obligations.

Purpose: Appropriate procedures for the production, delivery and remittance of title insurance policies ensures title companies meet their legal and contractual obligations.

Title Policy Delivery; Reporting & Premium Remittance

  1. Policy Delivery to Insured Parties: While our goal is to deliver policies to our customers within forty-five days of a closing performed by us, provided that all of the terms and conditions of the title insurance commitment have been satisfied, title policies are generally delivered to customers no later than by the fifteenth of the second month after the closing.
    • As a general rule, policies are generally prepared after the closing documents and necessary releases are recorded.
    • For closings and disbursements made by us, the policy may be issued to the customer prior to receipt of the release, if waiting for the release to be recorded will cause the policy issuance to be delayed beyond the time frame above.
    • For closings and disbursements not performed by us, the policy will be issued when all necessary documentation is of record. We follow up on the status of these transactions every 60 days.
  2. Policy Reporting: For closings performed by us, policies will be reported to our underwriters no later than by the 15th of the second month after the closing.
  3. Payment of Premiums: Title premiums will be paid no later than 45 days after the end of the month in which the closing occurred in compliance with Texas Title Insurance regulations.
  4. Premium accounts for funds owed to underwriters: We maintain premiums owed to our underwriters in a premium escrow account separate from our operating account.

Title Policy Production and File Maintenance

  1. Title insurance orders will be processed either on the same day or the next business day after receipt.
  2. Title insurance searches and exams will be made with due regard to recognized title insurance underwriting practices and in accordance with our Underwriter's bulletins, manuals and other instructions, including any state or federal applicable requirements.
    1. Each policy issued on behalf of our Underwriter(s) is issued upon a determination of insurability of title which includes, but may not be limited to:
      1. a search from earliest public records or in accordance with applicable state law and/or Underwriter's written instructions; and
      2. an examination of all documents affecting title to the subject property.
  3. Each title order or transaction is prepared and maintained in a separate title file that contains all documents upon which we relied to make our determination of insurability, including, but not limited to: affidavits, maps, plats, lien waivers, surveys, title reports, searches, examinations, and work sheets, together with a copy of each commitment, policy, endorsement and other title assurance issued.
  4. We maintain a separate closing file for each transaction, with closing file containing, without limitation; closing statements, disbursement worksheets, copies of all checks disbursed and receipted, deposit slips, escrow agreements and any other instruments or documents executed or created at closing. We generally keep both the title and closing files for each property together in one physical folder or electronic filing system that allows tracking and future review.
  5. The title and closing files are preserved in accordance with applicable State document retention requirements, or in the case of a legal hold order, in accordance with instructions of our Underwriter(s).
  6. In the event that we destroy or disseminate the files for any reason, we shall maintain and protect any confidential or private information contained in such files in accordance with applicable State and Federal law.
  7. We maintain a policy register in a form approved by our Underwriter showing the disposition of all policies and other pre-numbered forms furnished. Even though these logs/registers are now generally kept electronically by our underwriter, we are able to reconcile our records against our underwriters’ records. Differences are properly identified as voided policies or otherwise.
  8. A review our Agency Agreements with our Underwriter(s) shows that if there is a termination of our Agency Contract, ownership of, and title to, the title files shall vest in each underwriter upon which the policy was issued. Our title files will be sent to each respective underwriter.
  9. When claims are filed and the underwriter requests a copy of the file in question, or when files are requested for other reasons, we promptly search for and provide the requested documentation. These include:
    1. all documents received by Agent in which Underwriter is a party to any administrative and/or judicial proceedings;
    2. all written complaints or inquiries made to any regulatory agency regarding transactions involving title insurance policies, endorsements, commitments or other title assurances of a particular Underwriter;
    3. any information alleging a claim involving a policy, commitment, endorsement or other title assurance of an Underwriter or a transaction for which an Underwriter may be liable; and
    4. all original documentation and work papers associated with the transaction or conduct giving rise to any examination, claim or complaint.
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