Five Star Conference and Expo 2013
2013 Five Star Conference and Expo
September 8-10, 2013
The 2013 Five Star Conference and Expo was held once again at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX. Speakers at this year’s conference included, Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Former First Lady Laura Bush, Former US Representative Barney Frank and Vice Chairman James B. Lockhart III from WL Ross & Co. Throughout the conference there were discussions about compliance, foreclosure and loss mitigation, short sales, property preservation, preventing blight and much more. Safeguard was honored to participate on one panel and moderate another. Summaries of these sessions are below.
Save Time and Improve Efficiency with Today’s Field Service Technology
George Mehok, Safeguard Properties
Charles Newcomb, Best Assets
Lee Martens, AMS
Dave Dolan, ZVN
Paul Palmer, Proven
Technology’s Role in Business Today
Technology has proven effective for many businesses in recent years. Best Assets has been able to complete more work utilizing the same staff. Lee Martens added that technological advances have enabled AMS to direct more revenue to the vendors in the field.
Going Mobile in the Field
Mobile initiatives help to obtain real time quality control results and make real time adjustments. Safeguard received 85% of work results from the field so far this year, with half of the users sending the results within two hours. AMS receives half of their inspection results from the field and most of Best Assets agents complete their work from the field as well.
To keep phones durable in the field, Martens suggested utilizing an OtterBox case. Proven proposed that users can buy noncontract phones with Wi-Fi for $100. While Mehok recommended disposable Androids, which are an affordable alternative.
Mobiles GPS Functionality
Mehok discussed mobiles GPS functionality and how it helps determine who is performing work at a location during a specific date and time. This information is critical for staying compliant with new background check requirements. Paul Palmer added that in the near future, controls will enable locking of date, time, and GPS coordinates associated with photos.
Mobile transmissions from the field provide information quickly, allowing assessments of property status and damage conditions to be made earlier. Using GPS coordinates available through mobile devices, vendors nearby can be sent to a property immediately if necessary. Palmer also described GPS technology which notifies a vendor that they are at the correct property.
Palmer also provided information on Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) and the advantages they will afford in “store and forward” functionality. He noted that tablets will become increasingly popular and enable vendors to keep up with detailed requirements.
Improving Quality Control
Dolan described ZVNs multiple layers of quality control afforded by their system, including subcontractor self-QC and interoffice queues for quality checks and duplicate photo checking.
Martens described AMS’ duplicate photo checks that scan approximately 500,000 to 1 million images per day for duplicate records. He noted the importance of managing exceptions from such a large volume of intake and that AMC saw a $30,000 savings the first week after implementation.
At Safeguard quality revolves around data. Data warehouses supported with advanced analytics tell users where problems are occurring. Those findings, in conjunction with client scorecard data, lead management’s choices on sampling standards and targets. Mehok also emphasized the importance of workflow technology in efficiently routing and disposing of exceptions.
Assisting Work Order Management
Martens described AMS’ process for vendor assignment, including system analysis of over 40 variables to identify the top three vendors best suited to complete the requested work. This enhancement saves processes considerable time and ZVN echoed similar functionality that aids their operation.
Best Assets has automated vendor assignment to eliminate any favoritism in their operation. Their employees can now handle a larger case load since they are processing only work on its way back in following completion.
To help avoid challenges associated with integrating a client and GSE systems, ZVN recommended Web services as an integration method since it eliminates security issues. Absent that approach, screen scrapes were the second choice.
Turning Data into Actionable Information
Best Assets retains data to be used for future compliance checks and client audits. That data must be extractable or it becomes inefficient. ZVN utilizes data to generate scorecards for external subcontractors and internal associates.
Safeguard’s utilization of dashboards is to measure operational status against specific performance goals of each business line. He also noted Safeguard’s evolution to utilize maps to display complex data regarding field trends in a way that clients and third parties can easily understand.
Technology in the Future
Palmer expects further development on flexible forms allowing users to design data collection plans more expeditiously and react in real-time to business requirements. Dolan anticipates more technology around identification of employees physically performing work and integration of this information with background check procedures. Newcomb looks to see increased effort toward integrating client, field services provider and subcontractor systems to make business efficient and secure. Martens encouraged all present to be considerate of the cost passed on to business partners as technology and requirements evolve.
Preventing Community Blight and Supporting Neighborhood Stabilization
Lynn Effinger, Assurant Property Advantage
Robert Klein, Safeguard Properties
Jeannie Fantasia, SecureView
Marc Hinkle, Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS)
Reggie Stewart, Freddie Mac
During this session, the panelist discussion focused on innovative ways to prevent community blight and to support neighborhood stabilization.
Lynn Effinger began the conversation by elaborating on how vacant and abandon homes can negatively impact the communities in which they are located. Robert Klein elaborated on the subject by discussing the adverse effects of a lengthy foreclosure timeline for vacant and abandon homes. In states with a judicial foreclosure process, properties could remain unoccupied for up to four years. Klein explained that fast-tracking this process would be of great benefit to communities and servicers by decreasing the amount of time the home stands vacant.
A Three Prong Approach
To highlight another tactic the property preservation industry is using to mitigate the effects of blight, Reggie Stewart elaborated on steps that can be taken by servicers to avoid foreclosures and support community stabilization. Stewart described a three prong approach used by Freddie Mac to educate consumers, support local partnerships that aid revitalization efforts, and increase oversight and quality control. While the goal of the approach is to educate homebuyers in order to prevent foreclosure, it also takes steps to lessen the negative effects of vacant and abandon properties.
Vacant Property Registration
Marc Hinkle also elaborated on the growing use of vacant property registration (VPR) ordinances by communities to combat blight. VPR provides a connection between a property and the servicer responsible for maintaining the home. Hinkle explained that the point of the registration process is to ensure that property preservation standards are met and problems are addressed. Robert Klein also pointed out that these type of ordinances support improved communications between servicers and local code enforcement officials.
Jeannie Fantasia wrapped up the session by introducing SecureView, an innovative product that communities are now using to secure vacant and abandoned homes. SecureView is an alternative board up system that is designed to look like traditional windows. Fantasia also explained that SecureView is virtually unbreakable and prevents entry from unwanted visitors. This is a powerful tool for communities in stabilizing neighborhoods and battling blight, as it does not expose vacancy and provides unprecedented security for vacant properties.
The Five Star Conference and Expo 2013 took place at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX.