Title News February 2021 Innovation in Title

Title Gets Innovative: Companies Using Artificial Intelligence to Automate Various Aspects of Transaction



BROADLY SPEAKING, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) can support three important business needs: automating business processes, gaining insight through data analysis, and engaging with customers and employees. It is useful for title and settlement services companies to look at AI through the lens of business capabilities rather than technologies.

The title industry has used AI and automation in various parts of the process for many years. Title production software companies have made great strides in automation that eliminates rekeying and the transferring of data from one application to another. This streamlines the order process and eliminates duplicative tasks.

More and more companies—including underwriters, third-party vendors and business process outsourcers—have started offering title production automation. One such automation process, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), enables different types of documents—such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images—to be converted into text that is searchable and indexable. This technology is used heavily in the area of commitment preparation, and the application continues to improve as the digitization of records has increased. Additionally, companies are using automated reconciliation to complete this task in a timelier manner and address issues more effectively. Finally, title and escrow companies have automated email and text communications such as reminders, confirmations and notifications into title production systems.

Automating repetitive, mundane tasks can have significant ramifications on employee productivity—and the bottom line. WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report details the impact inefficient workforces have on revenue and overhead for businesses. According to the report, 53 percent of employees state that they can save up to two hours a day (240 hours per year) through automation. Meanwhile, 78 percent of business leaders speculate that automation can free up to three work hours a day (360 hours per year).

The report concluded that while employees and business leaders view automation somewhat differently, both groups believe there are advantages to automation at work and would use time saved through automation to go above and beyond in their core function.

Expediting Adoption of Automation

In the past, a title company wanting to adopt automation needed a custom software build, had to change their workflows around a new process and had to provide training for their examiners to transition using a new interface.

To speed adoption, NextAce unveiled a Virtual Title Assistant (VTA) that helps title companies fully adopt title automation in just days. The tool connects to existing data sources, templates and codebooks, enabling a pre-examined report to be delivered back into a title company’s production system in minutes, according to Don Cantral, president and founder of NextAce.

“To build the user experience our customers have been asking for, NextAce created the Virtual Title Assistant to blend seamlessly into their existing examiner workflow,” he added.

The ability to cut costs quickly by adopting automation is particularly needed in an unpredictable market. Fidelity started investing in NextAce in 2005 and acquired the company as a key component in its initiative to modernize the real estate transaction process.

“In these unprecedented times, every business needs to maximize efficiency,” said Roger Jewkes, Fidelity National Financial’s chief operating officer. “NextAce has been one of our key strategies for managing costs and responding quickly to changing market conditions.”

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