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Thomas Pryde's Blog

Independent Abstractors: Dying Breed or Valued Specialists? (Part One)
by Thomas Pryde | 2015/03/19 |

The prevailing view among some industry leaders seems to be that the independent abstractor is a dying breed, the last vestige of an ancient way of doing business. This is attributed to the rapidly expanding digitization of title documents and new technology solutions that are being designed to quickly and efficiently obtain and deliver those documents to their clients. This is one example where technology has made promises well beyond what it can actually provide.

Thomas Pryde's Blog ::

While it is true that the need for independent title abstractors might actually be eliminated if the idealized descriptions of a technology provider's capabilities proved realistic, proclamations of the imminent demise of their business may be premature. In fact, the independent abstractor has a real opportunity that seems to have been largely overlooked, but in order to understand and take advantage of this opportunity, we have to first examine the promised market of full digitization and automation. 

In this oft-prophesied and idealized market, all archived public documents will be available both remotely and digitally, and the client who needs these documents would be able to simply and efficiently obtain them, removing the need for someone to go to the courthouse, manually obtain documents, scan them, and then deliver them back to the client.

All search-related activities could be performed remotely, and there would be no need for any local expertise. This is the essence of what is promised on the back of technology. 

However, if digital availability was ubiquitous, if the digitized documents were perfect, and if all the related data was flawless, such technology might indeed eliminate the need for a skilled abstractor. However, achieving such perfection in the document chain would also virtually eliminate the need for the title insurance industry as a whole.

Of course, the reality is (and will continue to be) far from this ideal, and title insurance companies will continue to thrive on the potential existence of problems that might be found in any given document chain. As long as this is true, local expertise and timely results can work together to offer a value proposition that will ultimately trump a mindless search service offered at rock bottom prices. 




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Categories: Technology

521 words | 7065 views | 2 comments | log in or register to post a comment


The actual Problem being overlooked....

IMHO,  The author hit the nail on the head.

The technology involved in all of this, the digitization of documentation and indexing systems to access that researched information, does NOT speak to the legal validity of the matters indexed.

The result has been that this rush to automating Title Insurance designated job categories has in a lot of instances negated job functions falling within the categories of abstracting and examining, both of which have way more to do with the analysis of documentation within a retrieved Title chain than they do with simply locating that document to a specific denoted land account OR a named party.. Simply being able to "pull a chain" by pressing a button does not eliminate the more analytical part of the job.

As the author points out, Title Insurers, who are in control of both the markets for transaction customers and a great many of the data origination systems themselves, will indeed " continue to thrive on the potential existence of problems that might be found in any given document chain", as it is the Insurers legal ability to assume the liability against such potential problems that defines them as insurers of the Titles of its' customers.

As a comparison, and I realize fully that some people will no doubt object to my inferring it, the Title Insurance Industry, as a whole, seems to have taken the position of the house dealer at a Black Jack/ 21 Table. Like it or not, he who controls the dealing of the cards is always in control of the game and has the better "odds". The House accepts the odds for the purposes of making a profit off of the arrangement, and it is all the better for the odds in that the odds run in its favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 
by Donald Petersen | 2015/03/23 | log in or register to post a reply

Absolutely...

Donald, you said, "[Abstracting and examining] have way more to do with analysis of documentation within a retrieved Title chain than they do with simply locating that document to a specific denoted land account OR a named party.. Simply being able to "pull a chain" by pressing a button does not eliminate the more analytical part of the job."

Yes! Further, as long as the industry sees abstractors as mere searchers, the demise of abstracting as a profession is all but certain. Human search engines are easily replaceable and slightly valued, but local expertise and well trained eyes are valuable and worth maintaining. 

Part of the solution is a marketing problem, and organizations such as NALTEA can go a long way toward improving the situation.

 
by Thomas Pryde | 2015/03/26 | log in or register to post a reply
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