ALTA Best Practices
Safe Harbor Title Company has implemented the Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices outlined by the American Land Title Association. These best practices are a benchmark for the real estate settlement and mortgage lending industries. They illuminate the high level of professionalism that ALTA members follow to protect consumers and businesses in real estate and mortgage settlement.
“The 7 Pillars” of Best Practices
Pillar #1: Establish and maintain current License(s) as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services.
Safe Harbor Title Company holds all State of Virginia mandated title insurance licenses as a title insurance agency and for requisite individuals dependent upon job responsibilities. Such licenses are reviewed by our underwriters on an annual basis. Safe Harbor Title Company provides all required corporate governance filings and reports to the State of Virginia as a matter of course. We also secure all local business licenses and permits required to do business for all branch locations we maintain. Safe Harbor Title Company is part of an agreement with ALTA in utilizing all ALTA Forms and affiliated information.
Pillar #2: Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation.
Safe Harbor Title Company deploys all appropriate and essential procedures and controls related to its Escrow Trust Accounts as required by the Virginia Department of Insurance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and our underwriters to safeguard your funds. All Escrow Trust Accounts are reconciled daily.
Pillar #3: Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information as required by local, state, and federal law.
Safe Harbor Title Company maintains an Information Security Policy that comports to federal and state law as well as requirements set forth by our underwriters for holding and securing non-public personal information. Safe Harbor Title Company has developed a Disaster Management Plan for the company’s network, systems, and applications. This Plan is exclusive of the company’s routine upgrade and maintenance policies. This Plan has been provided to our underwriters.
Safe Harbor Title Company utilizes encrypted email for transmitting non-public personal information. Safe Harbor Title Company maintains a “Clean Desk” policy for all non-public information stored in its offices.
Safe Harbor Title Company performs employee screening in the form of background checks in its hiring process and regularly conducts background checks every 3 years. These background checks are available to our underwriters and our underwriters may institute random background checks on our employees as well.
Safe Harbor Title Company has procured a seven-figure “Cyber Liability” insurance policy for the benefit of our customers.
Pillar #4: Adopt standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that help ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Protection Laws as applicable to the Settlement process.
Safe Harbor Title Company has written procedures that delineate our procedures and checklists (pre-closing and post-closing) for real estate settlements in Virginia that adhere to federal, state, and underwriter mandated requirements. All employees are trained and subject to future training on those requirements.
Safe Harbor Title Company maintains training for Mortgage Fraud Awareness and Prevention that includes, but is not limited to, constructing a proprietary Fraud Alert System built on data and information routinely provided to us by our underwriters.
Safe Harbor Title Company provides Pricing Procedures and Controls in the form of underwriter’s rate manuals, our production system (RamQuest), and/or online calculators (as appropriate) to help ensure the correct fees are being charged for title insurance policy premiums, state-specific fees and endorsements as filed with the Virginia Department of Insurance. All credits, discounts, and other pricing accommodations are provided (whenever applicable) pursuant to our underwriter’s business rules and filed rates along with our filed settlement fees.
Safe Harbor Title Company administers written Document and Instrument Recording Procedures and Controls for e-recordings, overnight mailers, and desk presentations.
Pillar #5: Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance.
Safe Harbor Title Company maintains all requisite procedures for timely issuance of title insurance policies to Owners and Lenders as dictated by federal law, Virginia Department of Insurance regulations, and underwriter mandates.
Safe Harbor Title Company also maintains the appropriate systems to timely report issued title insurance policies to our underwriters, remit payment to our underwriters, and overall meet our legal and contractual obligations thereto.
Pillar #6: Maintain appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage.
Safe Harbor Title Company secures Professional Liability Insurance (Errors and Omission Insurance as an example) that stands by our financial capacity and commitment to provide professional real estate services to our customers. Such insurance also includes any mandated coverages called for by our underwriters.
Pillar #7: Adopt and maintain written procedures for resolving consumer complaints.
Not happy? We welcome receiving any complaint you might have. The company has developed written procedures to capture, review, and timely address any issues or concerns you may have regarding our services. You can submit a complaint at Contact Us via our website, call and request a complaint form be sent to you, or simply send company management an email explaining your situation. We want to know about any poor service experience or compliance concern you might have. Your confidence and satisfaction is important to us.