Stewart Title Guaranty Company is a subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corporation, a technology-driven, strategically competitive, global real estate information company. Stewart provides title insurance and related services through more than 7,000 issuing locations in the United States and several international markets. With headquarters in Houston, Texas, Stewart delivers services required by the real estate and mortgage industries for settlement using e-commerce—including title reports, flood determinations, document preparation, property reports, background checks and online property auctions. Stewart also supplies post-closing services to lenders, automated county clerk land records, property and land ownership mapping, geographic information services for governmental entities and expertise in tax-deferred exchanges.
The diverse requirements in the claims department of Stewart Legal Services to track title insurance policy inquiries and claims demanded a legal case management system designed to manage the quantity and variety of matters that pass through its many offices. Since Legal Files is designed to manage any type of legal organization with any number of offices in any location, the fit was a natural one. Several Access databases that were being used by the department could not provide the comprehensive functionality that was needed. The department needed a system that could automate the claims process and track notes, reminders, calendars, communications and documents, as well as provide custom reporting.
“States were becoming more stringent on how claims must be handled,” said Denise Carraux, Assistant Vice President. “We needed a tool that could prompt us with reminders or to-do’s; a tool where we didn’t have to rely on a paper file—where all copies could be stored electronically in the file; and, finally, a tool where all information about a case could be stored in one, centralized location.”
The department realized the need for a new system and recognized it was not feasible for them to build something for themselves. The department worked with another software company for eight months before that company declared bankruptcy, losing valuable time. “After that, it took a long time for us to commit to Legal Files, but we sensed that there was a commitment to professionalism, to integrity, to getting things done right—and we were right about that,” Carraux said.
The biggest challenge to implementing Legal Files at Stewart was integrating the application with their current claims systems,” according to Legal Files CEO John Kanoski. “We worked with the end users and IT staff to develop an automated feed that electronically transfers information between Legal Files and the other existing systems used at Stewart. This automated feed helped to facilitate a smooth transition between their legacy system and Legal Files, and it eliminates the ongoing problem of duplicative data entry that so often plagues companies with multiple computer systems.”
“We now electronically track inquiry activities and the disposition of the contact is recorded,” Carraux said. “The tracking that Legal Files provides facilitates examinations by state insurance commissions. Information is available at our fingertips. What I like best about Legal Files is that one program can create, capture and track everything—e-mail, documents, notes, etc.”
Carraux also reports that Legal Files has helped the department save time and increase efficiency. “We have many repetitive tasks that we perform, many repetitive documents that need to be produced, yet we have saved so much time with the automation that Legal Files provides. Legal Files also gives us the flexibility to customize when necessary.
“Legal Files does an awesome job of capturing all the data we require,” Carraux said. “The statistics we can pull from our system are invaluable.”
“By implementing Legal Files,” according to Legal Files Senior Consultant Matt Ryan, “Stewart was able to build on the foundation of their previous in-house database with the added benefits of easier customization, simpler document template creation and the establishment of workflow rules that integrated with other enterprise-wide business applications.”
Carraux gives high marks to the Legal Files staff. “We undertook a mammoth project, more than I think we initially realized, and the people at Legal Files have been extremely professional. When we encountered problems, they were cooperative and fair and stood by their commitments. I would hate to be this far along with a complex project and not be able to rely on these people. They have made all the difference. They are readily available to us, and our working relationship has been very good.”
“I would recommend Legal Files,” Carraux said. “I’ve appreciated the staff’s professionalism and their upfront honesty. At Stewart, we value integrity and the relationships we have with our customers. Legal Files shares those same values.”