Best Practices

Learn more about HBW's Best Practices in our continuing effort to better serve our customers.

The owners, managers, and staff of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc., an Illinois corporation, clearly understand the importance of conducting the business of title insurance and real estate settlements in a professional, confidential and responsible manner. Our company has been in business since May of 1883 and we have always taken our responsibilities seriously. We are fully aware of the necessity our lender customers have in demonstrating to state and federal regulators that they are affirmatively managing the risk of the service providers they choose to do business with, and more specifically to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Bulletin 2012-03 dated April 13, 2012. In order to provide our lender customers with the needed documentation of our compliance with the American Land Title Association’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, dated July 19, 2013, we have prepared the necessary written policies and procedures accurately detailing the manner in which we have been conducting business as a responsible title insurance agency.

The rapid pace of technology has brought about many wonderful tools that help make us more efficient, but with that technology comes a greater responsibility to protect the non-public personal information of all consumers as well as protecting the funds that are entrusted to us in our escrow accounts. We have had an ongoing policy of utilizing new technology and implementing ever-higher levels of system security for many years. For example, we began using positive pay as an anti check fraud measure in 2004 and continue today with the more secure version of payee positive pay.

We appreciate the relationship we have with all of our customers and with every consumer we have the privilege to serve. It is very important to us that all who choose to do business with H. B. Wilkinson Title Company have complete confidence in our business practices.

In order to demonstrate to all who choose to do business with us, from the first-time home buyer to our long-standing valued customers, that we have been handling and will continue to handle every transaction with the care that is expected of us in today’s business environment, we provide the following summary of our policies and procedures.

Thank you for your confidence in H. B. Wilkinson Title Company.

Daniel D. Mennenoh, President

Daniel D. Mennenoh, President

Summary of Policies and Procedures

Licensing and Registration Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 1)

It is the company policy of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) to establish and maintain any and all registrations and licenses, and to comply with the filing requirements of all federal and state agencies in order to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services in a lawful and uninterrupted manner.

This Licensing and Registration Policy is updated as may be required by changes to state and/or federal statutes and regulations. It is also the Company’s policy to train and educate its staff members of these requirements.

The following items are currently maintained in order to comply with this policy, with copies available upon request:

  1. Certificate of Good Standing from the Illinois Secretary of State.
  2. Chicago Title Insurance Company Illinois Department of Financial Institutions Certificate of Registration dated May 22, 1990.
  3. First American Title Insurance Company Illinois Department of Financial Institutions Certificate of Registration dated May 9, 1990.
  4. Fidelity National Title Insurance Company Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Financial Institutions Certificate of Registration dated April 1, 2004.
  5. Old Republic National Title Insurance Company Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Financial Institutions Certificate of Registration dated April 9, 2010.
  6. American Land Title Association Certificate of License for the current year.
  7. Wisconsin Insurance License issued by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to Devon M. Irby.
  8. Copies of current Notary Public Commissions of all HBW staff members holding a Notary Commission, along with copies of the active Notary Bond, as required under Illinois law, are retained in the corporate office in Galena, IL.

Escrow Accounting Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 2)

As a real estate settlement agent, H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) is entrusted with money belonging to sellers, buyers and mortgage lenders in real estate transactions, as well as owners and mortgage lenders in construction projects. The protection of the money entrusted to HBW is of extreme importance to the protection of those parties to real estate transactions.

In order to properly protect the money that HBW is entrusted with, the Company has invested in and implemented escrow accounting procedures and security measures that currently exceed the ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices requirements. These procedures and security measures include and address proper segregation of duties, daily three-way reconciliations, a separate incoming wire escrow account, anti-fraud security measures for both checking activity and wire activity, payee positive pay, obtaining criminal background checks on employees, and handling of stale-dated checks, in addition to the many other individual procedures that provide the expected level of protection of our escrow accounts that a responsible title insurance and settlement agency should have in place.

The Company views these procedures as an ongoing process of improvement. As technology improves and greater security measures are developed by our software vendor(s), our bank(s), any of our underwriting companies, or any other source, the Company will make enhancements to these procedures as needed.

Privacy and Information Security Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 3)

As a title insurance and real estate settlement agent, H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) is required under the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act to develop a written information security program that describes the procedures it employs to protect Non-public Personal Information (NPI). HBW is entrusted with the NPI of consumers who are sellers or buyers of real estate, as well as mortgagees in real estate lending transactions. The protection of the consumer’s NPI entrusted to HBW is of extreme importance to the protection of all parties to real estate transactions and it is the policy of HBW to comply with all Federal and State laws governing the protection of NPI.

In order to properly protect consumer NPI, HBW has invested in and implemented: General offices security measures to specifically address the individual security measures needed for each of it’s company offices, including a clean desk policy; Physical file security procedures to protect each physical file being worked on whether in an HBW office, a customer’s office, the county courthouse, or in transit to any of those locations; Computer system and technology security procedures; Strong password policy; Handling of consumer NPI; Use of a high security level data center; Disaster Management and Recovery; Management, oversight, internal auditing and security breach notification.

The Company views these procedures as an ongoing process of improvement. As technology improves and greater security measures are developed by our software vendor(s), our bank(s), any of our underwriting companies, or any other source, the Company will make enhancements to these procedures as needed.

Terminated Employee Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 3)

It is the company policy of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) to protect any and all Non-public Personal Information (NPI) of any consumer as required by local, state and federal law. HBW will protect, maintain and monitor the security of, but not limited to, all company offices, files, computer system data, computer equipment including mobile computing equipment, bank accounts including escrow checking accounts, and any other Company information, data or property.

Upon the termination of any HBW employee, whether voluntary or involuntary on the part of said employee, that employee’s direct supervisor will follow the company protocol to eliminate that employee’s access to all physical office locations, eliminate that employee’s access to all Company files, disable that employee’s access to all Company computer systems, disable that employee’s access to the Company’s escrow accounting and banking systems, remove said employee from any and all bank account signature authorizations, and eliminate all other access said employee may have.

The Company views these procedures as an ongoing process of improvement. As technology improves and greater security measures are developed by our software vendor(s), our bank(s), our equipment vendor(s), our underwriting companies, or any other source, the Company will make every effort to enhance these procedures as needed.

Document Recording Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 4)

Legal documents affecting interests in real estate are entrusted to H. B. Wilkinson Title Company (HBW) on a routine basis as a part of the normal course of business. Upon receipt of any legal document(s) by any HBW staff member or office, whether by hand delivery, regular mail delivery, overnight currier, electronic transmission, or any other method, said legal documents must be handled appropriately and in a timely manner. It is the company policy of HBW to examine legal documents for accuracy and insurability, then submit said legal documents for recording to the appropriate county recorder within two days of receipt of said documents and the appropriate recording fees, regardless of whether HBW conducts the closing or said documents are submitted to HBW after a closing is conducted by another entity.

Pricing Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 4)

H. B. Wilkinson Title Company (HBW) is an Illinois based title insurance and settlement services agency and conducts most of its business on real estate located in the State of Illinois. HBW conducts a small percentage of its business in the State of Wisconsin and handles some transactions on commercial and industrial real estate located in the State of Iowa. It is the policy of HBW to follow and comply with any and all title insurance rate schedules required by the state departments of insurance, or any other regulatory agency that governs the title insurance industry, where HBW conducts business.

Title Policy Production and Remittance Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 5)

The issuance of title insurance policies in a timely manner is a critical step in the completion of any insured real estate transaction. On every transaction that H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) insures, whether or not HBW closes the transaction, the issuance of the title insurance policy must be done within 30 days of the settlement and/or recording of the documents to be insured, and all of the conditions of the title insurance commitment have been satisfied.

Along with the issuance of title insurance policies, reporting the transaction to the title insurance company and remitting the underwriter portion of the title insurance premium, Closing Protection Letter (CPL) fees, and any policy fees required by state statute, is critically important. It is the policy of HBW to utilize the electronic policy jacket capabilities of its underwriting companies, which allow for the immediate reporting of the transaction, issuance of the title insurance policy or policies, total premium collected, amount of premium to be remitted, and CPL fees collected and remitted in a timely manner.

On all title insurance policies issued and reported to each of HBW’s underwriting companies, said underwriting companies prepare and submit a billing statement to HBW each and every month. The HBW Policy Department reviews said underwriter billing statements for accuracy, then submits said statements to the corporate office in Galena for payment. It is the policy of HBW that all such reviewed underwriter billing statements be paid within 30 days of receipt of said statements.

Daily Deposit Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 5)

It is the policy of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) to segregate all title insurance premium remittances, Illinois $3.00 policy fees and CPL fees (collectively, remittances) and keep them separate from the Company’s operating funds. In order to accomplish that goal, a separate accounting procedure is used to retain all remittances in the Company’s escrow checking account until payment to the underwriters is made.

Insurance Requirement Policy

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 6)

It is the company policy of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) to maintain appropriate professional liability insurance or Errors & Omissions insurance, and fidelity insurance covering employee theft in order to meet its contractual obligations with the title insurance underwriting companies that HBW is an authorized policy issuing agent of. HBW also issues Closing protection Letters (CPL’s) in all settlement transactions where HBW is acting as the settlement agent in accordance with the Illinois Title Insurance Act.

It is also the policy of HBW ownership and management to review the types of coverage needed and the limits of insurance policies on an annual basis as a part of the annual renewal process coordinated with the appropriate insurance agencies it works with.

Consumer Complaint Procedure

(Pertaining to ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Version 2.0, Pillar No. 7)

It is the company policy of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. (HBW) to receive, address and document consumer complaints in a timely and professional manner. A log of customer complaints is maintained by and within each office.

NOTE: H. B. Wilkinson Title Company’s Policies and Procedures are proprietary and are the property of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc., an Illinois Corporation. Said Policies and Procedures may not be disseminated to any party without the express written consent of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company, Inc. A full copy of all of H. B. Wilkinson Title Company’s Policies and Procedures may be provided upon request contingent upon the receipt by HBW of a signed confidentiality agreement by the party requesting the full copy.

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