Pilgrim Title Insurance Company (together with Montalbano, Belliveau & St. Sauveur, LLP and Pilgrim Title & Closing Services) recognizes the increasing disruptions and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 virus. We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our staff, customers, clients, their families, and the community in which we live and work. In response to the COVID-19 situation, we are following best practices recommended by local and federal authorities to minimize the risk of exposure.
We will serve you with the same responsiveness, expertise, and experience you expect and deserve for each and every real estate transaction. Our offices in East Providence, Barrington, Wakefield and in Celebration, Florida remain open. However, should the need arise to physically close or limit access to one or more of our offices, our attorneys and staff are fully equipped to work remotely and securely to provide seamless service to our clients.
Nevertheless, we recognize that the situation is highly fluid. We will continue to update you regularly regarding the practical challenges facing our industry.
Understandably, certain clients and customers, may not want to meet for closings in a conference room with a group of sellers, buyers, realtors, loan officers and attorneys. At all our offices, conference rooms are fully sanitized after each signing; sellers, buyers and borrowers are invited to sign documents separately and in isolation. All notarial acknowledgments will be taken after documents are signed. Florida, for example, requires a visual witness for execution of documents, and we have protocols in place for witnessed signings while maintaining physical separation. We are asking that realtors, loan officers and other parties to the transaction drop off any documents necessary for the transaction but not attend the closing.
Several of the government offices key to the closing process- Land Evidence Records Offices and Registries of Deeds- have closed or are prohibiting in-person visits from non-employee third parties. In Massachusetts, however, we can continue to search land records on-line and e-file for recordation. In Rhode Island, we know that Providence City Hall, for instance, will not accept recordings at the Land Evidence Desk. We have, however, worked with our title insurance underwriters to provide GAP title coverage, allowing us to conduct closings and disburse funds, insuring all parties against any intervening liens or encumbrances that may arise during the period from closing to recording.