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Volume 12 Number 7     Fall 2014

How Property Insight is tying loose ends to improve the search experience
The vision of an examination-ready title plant

There is a self-help Web site aimed at consumers that covers such diverse topics as "how to sift flour" and "how to reduce your carbon footprint." It also explains, in 400 words and four photos, how to conduct a title search and explains that "… the task can be completed with relative ease."

If only it were so.

The truth is, title searching is a highly specialized activity, even when an automated title plant is involved. To complete a search you must understand not only how to look, but where to look for records and documents. This is especially true when it comes to linking properties to document images, such as maps, and associating parcels that may have a historical relationship. Title companies have been known to maintain their own local cross-reference tools, policies, and other media to streamline future searches.

Property Insight plant operations specialists have been working to simplify the search process by expanding and strengthening the integrity of property location keys, which together define the Property Control File, the backbone of a modern plant. This enables association of current and historical documents and records in the plant and ties parcels to historical maps and documents with absolute certainty, enabling products like TitlePoint to automatically "harvest" relevant images in a title search.

In the latest release of TitlePoint, links to recorded plat and tract maps, assessor maps, Arb maps and back plant Tract Book images (where available) are automatically displayed in the property history section of a title search in select counties in Arizona, California and Washington. (See related story, below).

The initiative is called "PIQ Xpress" and, according to Erik Bauer, Data Administration Manager for the Western Region, the goal is to minimize the amount of input required to return a complete data and image set for title research, including maps.

"With the proper property identifiers, our clients can begin a comprehensive title plant search minimally using an APN or property address, and we will reliably return the rest," he explained. "We are creating an examination-ready environment by being able to harvest diverse data and image sets across the title plant with certainty, setting the stage for vesting, legal description, exceptions and supporting documents for a given property," he added.

"We are creating an examination-ready environment by being able to harvest diverse data and image sets across the title plant with certainty, setting the stage for vesting, legal description, exceptions and supporting documents for a given property."

PIQ Xpress involves a multi-pronged approach that touches current and historical plant records, new plant postings, cross-reference tables and back plant image sets to link all of the plant's resources.

"One key principle is the creation and maintenance of property account definitions granular enough to conform to the unique public record legal boundary," said Erik. "Add to that an association to its respective Tax Parcel number, and expand to include associations to all applicable and diverse map image sets, and even back plant images, and you can then get a sense of how we’re endeavoring to streamline the title search process."

The integration of these data and image sets coincides with increasingly rigorous plant posting practices, such as tightly maintained property create and vacate dates, validated primary and secondary document relationships, and the strategic capture of key data directly abstracted off public records.

“Modern plant technology plays a vital role in facilitating these improvements,” says Erik. “Property Insight is nearing completion in converting 100% of its title plants to the modern plant environment, with Los Angeles, CA being the final conversion candidate."

"Migrating to a modern plant environment has created opportunities historically unachievable in the legacy plant systems," he said. "All of the limitations resulting from constrained field space and truncated records are eliminated, creating the ability to store richer and more highly integrated data sets."

At the same time the required skill sets for plant operation specialists continued to evolve, as plant experts became more intimate and skilled in leveraging technology to maintain and perform quality control on plants.

"At one time plant operations was behind the technology curve," explained Erik. "Now we're ahead of it. We're seeing significant savings in plant operation expense at the same time we are delivering global improvements on plant data and creating a better examination environment for our clients," he said.

"We're seeing significant savings in plant operation expense at the same time we are delivering global improvements on plant data and creating a better examination environment for our clients."

PIQ Xpress will have far-reaching, positive effects on title searching as it touches more counties and search operations to improve existing title automation services, believes Erik.

"Today's enhancements will enable tomorrow's routine processes," he said. “Once we demonstrate the reliability of these enhancements, users' confidence in the plants will only increase, and they will begin to reap the benefits of a more fruitful and productive search automation process."

Erik holds close to his vest a document entitled "Title Plant Data Automation." It lays out a vision, in three phases, to deliver search and examination efficiencies through better data structure. Current enhancements, like the ability to automatically retrieve map images as part of a title search, are Phase 1 improvements. Phases 2 and 3 provide even more meaningful gains, building on the work that Erik and his team are completing today.

"When our community thinks about workflow efficiency, it tends to focus on search technology," said Erik. "But fundamentally improving how we capture, store, and associate the underlying data upon which that search technology rests," he added, “is what you might call the secret sauce.”

And maybe someday the task of completing a title search can be performed with relative ease.

New TitlePoint feature brings maps into clear view

With the release of TitlePoint version 4.10 in August, TitlePoint users in select counties in Arizona, California and Washington State can automatically retrieve map images that correspond to the property in question (PIQ) in their TitlePoint search.

This is made possible by structural improvements within the plant that strengthen the integrity of property location keys, linking parcels to historical maps and documents with absolute certainty and enabling TitlePoint to automatically "harvest" relevant images in a title search.

Links to map images appear in the Property History section in the Search Results page.

This feature is available in:

Arizona: La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pinal, Yavapai
California: Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mendocino, Merced, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Tehama, Ventura, Yolo
Washington: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston

Property Insight, TitlePoint and TitlePoint Xpress are registered trademarks of Property Insight, LLC.


Read feature stories from past editions

Xpress Services: Our new look reflects the care we take as we manage data | Summer 2014

Xpress Services: Judgment and Tax Lien searching now more refined | April 2014

Vantage Point: New tools in the quest for quality | April 2014

Product Development picks up the pace with new releases | April 2014

Fine tuning new technology produces unimaginable gains | November 2013

Property Insight launches national Municipal Lien search | October 2013

Chicagoland service now offers judgment & tax lien searching online | July 2013

The new model for improving efficiency in title searching | June 2013

Going further for customer convenience: Product release 4.1 | March 2013

Rounding third and heading for home: Nearing completion on plant conversions | January, 2013

OrderPoint: A new high point in title order management | December 2012

Buckle up: TitlePoint & TitlePoint Xpress have shifted into 4.0 | November 2012

Sending a policy? Don't ship it - transmit it | September 2012

Time savings ahead thanks to our new v3.10 product releases | July 2012

Reaching new levels of performance in Arizona: Improving Plant Integrity | July 2012

Custodians of Chicago's fiery past: our role in preserving history | July 2012

Spotlight on TitleTax in AZ and CA: Getting the most out of your tax search | March 2012

Spotlight on Chicago: TitlePoint takes to the Toddlin' Town | March 2012

Release 3.9: TitlePoint and TitlePoint Xpress deliver new conveniences | March 2012

Our newest product release: It's about creating time in your day | June 2011

Customers answer questions about our performance | December 2010

Special Search Team answers the call | October 2010

Xpress Search does more of the legwork in a title search | Summer 2010

TitlePoint and TitlePoint Xpress version 3.5 power up | Summer 2010

Outsourcing poses new challenges and opportunities | Summer 2010

Legal & Vesting Report: a single source for searching multiple data sources | October 2009

What goes into an application upgrade? | June 2009

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