ALTA Best Practices

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) recently established seven Best Practices including Title Insurance Agencies & Procedures to serve as a benchmark for the real estate settlement and mortgage lending industries. Subsequently ALTA developed an independent certification process for title insurance agencies that are in compliance with these requirements by August 2015. We are proud to announce that on January 23, 2015 Surety Title received its Certification of Compliance with the ALTA Best Practices and Procedures. We are not aware of any other title agency in Ohio who has received this certification to date.

We understand the tremendous pressure mortgage lenders are under to meet their responsibilities to protect non-public personal information under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. It is also our understanding that GLBA requires financial institutions to oversee their service providers by “taking reasonable steps to select and retain service providers that are capable of maintaining appropriate safeguards for the customer information at issue,” and “require service providers by contract to implement and maintain such safeguards.” ALTA implemented the Best Practices & Procedures in part to assist lenders in fulfilling this responsibility.

The ALTA Best Practices address seven main areas ranging from controls regarding escrow and trust funds to protecting customers’ non-public personal information and responding to complaints:

  1. Establish and maintain current licenses.
  2. Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation.
  3. Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security plan to protect Non-public Personal Information as required by local, state and federal law.
  4. Adopt standard real estate settlement policies and procedures.
  5. Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance.
  6. Maintain appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage.
  7. Adopt and maintain procedures for resolving consumer complaints.