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Digital transformation has become increasingly important for title companies and attorneys in recent years, but keeping pace with rapidly evolving customer expectations also presents a challenge. Navigating change can be difficult, so we turned to Jim Czapiga, president and CEO of CATIC Family of Companies (CATIC), a leading title insurance company, for his thoughts.
With over 20 years of title insurance experience, Jim has worked in several management, sales, and operations positions. In addition to being a past president of the Connecticut Land Title Association, he is a member of the Real Property Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, the New England Land Title Association, the American Land Title Association, and the Real Estate Finance Association of Connecticut.
Jim shares that digital transformation has been slow-moving for many title companies and attorneys; however, it can help them speed up workflows, create stronger relationships, and keep pace with rapid market changes. He joins Kosta Ligris on Stavvy’s Finside Chats®podcast to discuss these insights and where the industry might be headed.
On this episode of Finside Chats®, you’ll learn about:
- How technology helps teams “work smarter, not harder and longer.”
- Why evolving technology holds the promise of making personal connections stronger and fostering trust.
- How remote online notarization (RON) plays a role in supporting digital transformation.
Listen now: How Technology Helps CATIC Build Stronger and More Trusting Partnerships
Simplifying workflows and supporting internal teams
Creating the “Amazon-like” experiences that law firms expect has been a critical priority for Jim’s team at CATIC. He explains how streamlining workflows and embracing digital transformation is helping drive that change.
“I spoke with one of our top agents recently, and he explained how busy his paralegal was, often staying until the late evening hours to complete files,” says Jim. “If we can improve productivity — cutting out steps and streamlining processes — it reduces the amount of time spent navigating files, and that’s a home run because folks can get more work done. It’s about working smarter, not harder and longer.”
For example, Jim recalls his early partnership with Stavvy and their collaboration to solve pain points around issuing payments and policy preparation. “We discussed how we could allow agents to simply click a button and remit a title policy and payment to us electronically,” he says. “In the past, you had to send a hard-copy check and a copy of the policy through traditional mail, and we wanted to simplify that process.”
It’s through these discussions that eSubmit, eRemit, and Stavvy Pay were created, which support digital transformation and improved customer experiences.
As organizations streamline workflows, a question often arises: Will technology replace humans? Jim believes that technology is poised to strengthen personal connections rather than replace humans.
“Whether it’s a Realtor, loan officer, settlement agent, insurance company, or others, we’re all collaborating and working together — and that requires trust,” says Jim. “As we use tools that support faster work completion and streamlined workflows, trust will only expand, and relationships will get stronger.”
However, he also points out that adopting new technologies in the title industry can be painfully slow, so it’s critical to understand the benefits and how they align with goals.
eClosing and the benefits of RON
When considering digital transformation in the title industry, RON is a powerful tool. Jim notes that he’s surprised RON use isn’t more widespread, though it’s making slow and steady progress. Massachusetts, for example, was the first attorney state to pass a permanent RON law.
“Massachusetts consumers now have more flexibility in completing their real estate transactions,” says Jim. “At the same time, the Massachusetts consumer also still has an attorney involved in their transaction, which is important when buying a home since it’s often the largest single transaction a person makes in their lifetime. So in Massachusetts, it’s a happy marriage between technology and remote online notarization, and the role of the independent agent and attorney.”
Jim explains that RON is an efficient, effective, and safe tool for title companies and consumers.
“As an industry, we’ve recently been hit with vacant land scams,” says Jim. “Part of that was the lack of seller identity verification, which cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few months. If that had been done online remotely, and there was verification — biometric or otherwise — those losses could have been prevented.”
Choosing the right technologies
When considering technology partners, Jim likes to put himself in the end user’s position and ask, What’s in it for me? How will this technology make it easier to do my job? He also points out that integrations and scalability are key.
“Workers often use many tools, but if those tools don’t ‘talk to’ one another, the result can be silos, disconnects, and frustrating user experiences,” says Jim. “And if a tool requires a worker to “step away” from their workflow, challenges can emerge, which is another reason why integration is so critical.”
Furthermore, Jim points out that the first step toward digital transformation and implementing new tools doesn’t need to be significant. You can start small.
“It doesn’t have to be the grand slam home run to win the game,” says Jim. “You can crawl, walk, and then run — rather than trying to change an entire workflow or process. It’s about embedding those technologies to enhance the user experience and protect the consumer.”