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Recent Blog Posts

  • Meet Tim Tillman, Alliant National’s new Florida production manager

    Answering Alliant National’s call to use title and management skills in the broader role of statewide Florida production manager.

    Tim Tillman joined Alliant National six years ago as a vice president for Tallahassee and Northwest Florida agency manager where he was responsible for building Alliant National’s footprint.

    As a testament to Tim’s hard work and dedication, he’s been promoted to Florida production manager.

    Tim began his career as a courier and moved up the ladder to perform search, exam and mapping with an independent title agent in South Florida. Subsequently, he worked as senior examiner and assistant manager for American Pioneer. He was also a senior examiner for Attorneys Title Fund.

    Just prior to joining Alliant National, Tim was the operations manager and business center manager of Fidelity National Title Group’s Tallahassee operation, where he managed the production and trained and managed other personnel.

    Tim has done an excellent job of growing our footprint in his area, including managing examiners and our production system.

    Now he’s agreed to answer our call to use his exemplary title and management skills in the broader role of statewide Florida production manager.

    He will continue to reside in the Panhandle area while managing all our title production staff and processes.

    “Joining the Alliant National Team presents me with some new challenges and opportunities, and I’m really looking forward to helping Alliant National’s independent agents serve their customers more fully and stand out from the competition,” Tim said, adding that throughout his career, he’s “grateful to have had the opportunity to foster excellent business relationships along some of the best beaches in the world and around the state capital.”

    Tim’s mature, kind and experienced voice joins our statewide group of seasoned and compassionate searchers and examiners, all of whom pride themselves on delivering the best title products we can.

    Congratulations Tim!

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  • The best Google marketing tools for businesses

    Whether you’re a new business or one that’s been a part of the landscape for years, you want to take advantage of every tool that has the potential to increase your online visibility.

    To that end, Google offers a multitude of free (and paid) services that businesses can use to their benefit. From designing a more intuitive website that also tracks site traffic to improving your website’s SEO rank, these Google services should be part of your company’s marketing arsenal.

    Google Trends
    Google Trends isn’t your everyday SEO tool. The search feature is all about products and topics that are currently trending, and a large part of your marketing strategy should be focused on understanding how your target audience can find you.

    With Google Trends, businesses can monitor industry trends and test specific words, terms and phrases in their marketing vernacular to see how well they hold up.

    Updated in real time, this tool enables businesses to evaluate the popularity of their marketing language and compare them against other keyword variations, a feature that can be helpful in getting new keyword suggestions.

    Think with Google
    Full of industry insights, helpful articles, case studies, research documents, data reports, innovative ad campaigns, videos, digital trends, infographics and interviews with top industry leaders, Think with Google is a one-stop shop digital newsletter that takes a deep dive into consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research.

    The site is frequently updated with useful and inspirational content to help drive business growth and reach.

    Google My Business
    More than 100 billion searches are performed on Google every month, which means that if your business isn’t discoverable in a search, you’re losing out.

    Google My Business generates free business profiles that pop up when consumers search for related terms through Google Search and Maps.

    By default, Google includes what it knows about a local business, including customer reviews from across the Web. But you can tweak your listing – and attract more customers – by submitting your own information, including photos, offers, promotions, news and text edits to Google Places.

    As well, businesses can respond to reviews, message with their customers and see who follows you.

    Google Alerts
    To stay updated about industry news – and news about your own company – take advantage of this useful free service from Google that sends you email alerts whenever there’s news about a topic that you’re following.

    Signing up is free, and after adding a topic or search phrase, you’ll be notified whenever there’s a mention of your company, products, people or your competition.

    Google Keyword Planner
    If you want to tun paid ads on Google, Keyword Planner is a must-have tool for your search network campaigns.

    Aside from giving businesses estimates on search traffic, the free tool also shares the most relevant and successful keywords, URLs and phrases that people are searching for most often.

    The tool even allows you to input your own list of keywords to see how they might perform.

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  • Increased Risk Means We Need to Increase Training

    Threats are constantly evolving and your training and testing must also evolve to counter these threats and keep your defense robust.

    A cyberattack is a malicious and deliberate attempt by and individual or an organization to breach the information system of another individual or company, seeking benefit from the disruption, ransom, or theft of data.

    This electronic threat is increasing in frequency and complexity and has become very expensive to remediate or to recover from.

    Here’s the surprise – almost 90 percent of cyberattacks are caused or allowed by human error from the internal staff of the entity attacked.

    This includes failure to follow security rules and protocols, sharing passwords, using weak or default settings, and falling victim to social engineering.

    Even the large events such as the hacking at Equifax and Target, were caused by failure to follow the rules regarding administrative password settings, human error.

    So whether your business is large or small, you need ongoing, strong training and testing to counter the threats.

    Recent survey results of a survey of title insurance professionals by the American Land Title Association show a surprisingly small amount of agents are conducting ongoing staff training, and most do it once when they hire an employee.

    This is a recipe for eventually becoming a victim of electronic fraud.

    There are simple yet effective steps to take to counter the increasing threats by taking a strong defense, and it starts with regular training and testing to remove or reduce the human error element.

    Here is what to do to put a training and test plan into action:

    • Ensure new hires are introduced to and educated on information and data security policies and procedures as well as how to protect nonpublic personal information (NPI) and sensitive information. Emphasize to them the “why” so they fully understand the shared responsibility nature. This should be a core part of their orientation and on-boarding.
    • Set and schedule ongoing training for all employees at every level commensurate with the size of the staff and complexity of your business. This should be monthly, quarterly or semiannually.
    • At a minimum, cover controls over access (passwords; pass phrases; multi-factor authentication), network and data distribution (including never using non-secured networks for conducting business such as those in cafes/hotels/airports), phishing and spear-phishing, and never use a general email service like Yahoo or Gmail when sending NPI or sensitive information; social media and social engineering.
    • Require security measures for smart devices (smart phones, and in particular Androids, account for a large percentage of data breaches).
    • Explain the implications of data loss, which includes reputational hits and potential fines and penalties and law suits.
    • Focus on all media forms – hardcopy as well as electronic – and include proper handling and protection from receipt through handling to secured destruction.  
    • Training may be done with internal documents or you may use a third party to conduct the training (i.e. Data Shield; KnowBe4).

    • After the training, use a quiz to gauge how well your employees understood the material.
    • Develop or use a third party to conduct ongoing, regular internal testing such as phishing or spear phishing testing (i.e. KnowBe4 is one vendor who can provide you this tool). Depending on the results, you may then make appropriate changes and re-focus your training to deal with any weak or weaker topics or areas.
    • Provide a single point of contact the employee may turn to with questions or to report any suspected suspicious attempts to obtain information or data (electronic or by phone).
    • Keep records of the training and attendees and testing results. This will be needed to demonstrate good faith, to meet many state requirements – and it’s a best practice.

    Last, keep up-to-date on emerging threats and vulnerabilities and provide updated training to employees to be sure they understand new risks or new controls and why they are important; employees must know how to recognize and report threats to stay vigilant.

    This will keep your training and testing current and fresh and serve as a continual reminder to your staff. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Threats are constantly evolving and your training and testing must also evolve to counter these threats and keep your defense robust.

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  • Improve your marketing email campaigns by integrating these successful tips

    Marketing pros live and die by email, and with good reason: Email marketing provides the highest ROI of any marketing channel, especially when it’s done correctly.

    But while your ROI has the potential to be monumental, the strategies behind successful email marketing campaigns aren’t always quick or easy.

    To maximize your reach and covert your copy into a convincing narrative, you’ve got to be thoughtful, captivating and customer-centric.

    Follow these effective tips for crafting compelling email marketing messages that will help grow your business.

    Research Your Target Audience

    Your audience is the most valuable asset to your business, and it’s your job to ensure that you develop customer profiles that align with your business and its values and mission.

    That starts with compiling organic email lists based on everything from demographic data to hobbies and interests.

    Verify that every name on the list wants to be included in your email marketing campaigns. The fastest way to get blacklisted by the major ISPs is to purchase or rent email lists.

    Building the lists from scratch is time-consuming, but the reward is much higher engagement.

    Test Your Email Content

    Before you send out a campaign to hundreds, if not thousands of readers, be sure to test your content first for broken links, image resolution issues, spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and design layout.

    It’s always best to send a few test mails to yourself to ensure that everything looks correct.

    Beware of Spam-Like Content

    Always, always keep your content relevant to your audience and consistent with your brand.

    Everyone has spam filters and “junk” email inboxes, and if your subject headers, for example, are too gimmicky, have too many exclamation points or contain misspellings, it’s likely that your email campaigns will be promptly dumped into the trash bin.

    Always Include a Call-to-Action

    There’s nothing worse than leaving your audienceat a dead end.

    One of the most crucial email marketing best practices is to be abundantly clear and direct with your audience – and that means telling them exactly what you’d like them to do next.

    The point to any marketing message is to get a response.

    Provide sign-up links, for example, if you’re promoting a class, workshop or webinar. If you’re hosting an event, be sure to include an RSVP link. And if you’re offering promotional offers, use action verbs – “reserve,” “act,” “subscribe,” “save,” “start” and “get,” for instance – to persuade your audience to respond.

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  • Are online reviews important, and should you respond to them?

    It used to be that personal recommendations solidified decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a primary source of feedback.

    In fact, a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center concluded that 78 percent of Internet users conduct research online and believe reviews are the most credible form of advertising.

    A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.

    Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably influential.

    Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers, you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building relationships.

    The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.

    Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults: When a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and provide solutions when feasible.

    A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse, suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes. 

    Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.

    Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five if your typing skills need work.

    You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your appreciation.

    Don’t be a salesperson: When a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.

    If you have something new to share about your business, it’s fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.

    Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d welcome the opportunity to do so again.

    If you want people to continue to work with your business, you need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.


    Real Estate Corner:
    Mortgage rates are the lowest in a year and a half, but homebuyers aren’t taking the bait

    graphic - real estate, gray

    Mortgage rates continue to fall, but homebuyers aren’t impressed, writes Diane Olick, real estate reporter for CNBC.com.

    Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2 percent in the last week in May and were barely 0.5 percent higher than a year ago, she notes.

    And despite rates that are the lowest they’ve been in a year and a half, “High prices continue to sideline buyers, especially first-time buyers, who are a growing segment of the market.

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Company News

  • Alliant National Title Insurance Company Appoints Vice President – Southwest Underwriting Counsel
    Jean E. Bailey, Esq. is a state-wide, industry recognized speaker and instructor. LONGMONT, Colo. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position in the marketplace, announces the hiring of Jean E. Bailey, Esq. as Vice President, Southwest Underwriting Counsel. Bailey is a […]
  • Alliant National Achieves ISO 27001 Certification
    Alliant National is the sole title insurance underwriter to achieve this information assets security certification LONGMONT, Colo. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position in the marketplace, has completed its 2019 annual surveillance audit and maintained the prestigious and coveted ISO […]
  • Alliant National Successfully Completes SSAE 18 Type II Exam for Fifth Consecutive Year

    Successful SSAE 18 Type II examination validates Alliant National’s processes for approving, monitoring and reviewing its agents

    LONGMONT, Colo. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with Independent Agents to improve their competitive position in the marketplace, announces the successful completion of the Service Organization Control (SOC 1) SSAE 18 Type II examination for the fifth consecutive year.

    The examination results in an AICPA endorsed report stating that Alliant National Title Insurance Company has maintained effective controls over its Agent Quality Management System. A-Lign Certified Public Accountants of Tampa, Fla., performed the engagement and certification.

    The successful SSAE 18 Type II examination validates Alliant National’s processes for approving, monitoring, and reviewing its agents, which results in its agents being designated as Authorized Service Providers or Certified Service Providers of Alliant National. Under this framework, Alliant National’s Independent Agents are reviewed annually against rigorous quality standards.

    Lenders relying upon Alliant National’s oversight of its agents and Authorized and Certified Service Provider programs receive additional assurance that processes and controls are designed and function properly and accurately.

    Alliant National was certified to the SSAE 16 Type I standard on Dec. 1, 2013 and received compliant status to the more rigorous SSAE 16 Type II standard effective Aug. 31, 2014 and each year through December 31, 2018. That makes 2018 the fifth consecutive year of continued compliance to SSAE Type II standards. The unqualified report was issued without exceptions.

    “Alliant National was the first title insurance underwriter in the nation to obtain an SSAE16 Type II compliant status and is the only title insurance underwriter to achieve compliant status for five consecutive years. This certification provides strong independent assurance of our agent oversight systems to lenders and all stakeholders,” Alliant National President and CEO, Bob Grubb said. “Our goal is to provide unequivocal evidence of the quality of our agents through an independently audited system.”

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