Manual Steering

Posted by Amrock

Mytych participates in a task force that’s transforming the TDI Texas Basic Manual

Amrock Sr. Regulatory Analyst C.J. Mytych has been glued to a book for the past two years. It’s not a best-selling novel, but for those who work with Texas title regulations, it can be a must-read.

The book, formally titled The Basic Manual of Rules, Rates and Forms for the Writing of Title Insurance in the State of Texas, is generally referred to as the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Basic Manual, and C.J. has had a hand in rewriting it. All 800 pages.

“The manual (which is available online) provides all the details and regulations about insuring Texas titles, both residential and commercial,” C.J. said. “It’s predominantly used by agents and underwriters, but consumers do consult with the manual when doing transactions themselves.

“The problem is, the manual contained a great deal of legal language, and users often had to call TDI to get clarification,” he added. “So the Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) took on the challenge of reworking the copy by creating a task force to make it more organized, readable and user friendly.” The overhaul, which began in 2014, was so expansive that it was broken down into three phases. Phase One of the project reorganized the existing manual, cutting and pasting each component (rate, rule, form, etc.) into 19 more logically ordered sections.

Phase Two focuses on the language in the manual, rewriting the existing rules to make them easier to understand and to eliminate duplications. C.J., who is also a member of the TLTA Regulatory Committee (along with fellow Amrock team members Tom Horton and Jason Silva) joined the task force for this phase when it began in 2016, and it continues to be a work in progress. “The committee meets once a month, and at each meeting, we put one page at a time up on a screen,” he said. “We’re going through it line by line to see if we can write it better, starting with the definitions and then working on the rest of the manual.”

He added that there is a third phase planned which would go beyond clarifying the language to make “substantive changes” – changes which would require legislative approval. So far, no start date has been set for that phase of the project.

In the meantime, C.J. has been helping TLTA spread the word about the new and improved TDI manual through a promotional video. The video, produced by the organization, highlights the functionality of the online manual – including automatic updates, the ability to search with a single keyword and desktop and mobile-responsive format.

Will these changes transform the TDI Basic Manual into a page-turner? Probably not. But thanks to the hard work of the task force, it will be a time and energy saver for anyone who needs to access and understand Texas title regulations.

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