The American Land Title Association, founded in 1907, is the national trade association and voice of the abstract* and title insurance industry. ALTA members search, review and insure land titles to protect home buyers and mortgage lenders who invest in real estate. ALTA is headquartered in Washington, DC.
Members of the association are in business in most counties across the nation. Nearly all title insurance companies hold ALTA membership, in addition to abstracters* and title agents. More than 4,600 title agents, abstracters, and title insurance companies are Active members, ranging from small, one-county operations, to large national title insurers. Title insurers or underwriters also conduct business internationally in nearly 100 countries worldwide. Associate members of ALTA may include attorneys, builders, developers, lenders, real estate brokers, surveyors, consultants, educational institutions, computer services firms, and related national trade associations.
The eleven-member ALTA Board of Governors is responsible for creating association policy, managing the financial health of the association, overseeing the work of 33 committees, and ensuring the overall welfare of the association.
ALTA members advocate safe and efficient transfer of real estate and insist on high standards when searching land title records and preparing insurance documents. The industry seeks to eliminate risk before insuring, which provides the insured with the best possible chance of avoiding land title problems. But, title difficulties can and do occur, and members offer both owner's and lender's title insurance as effective safeguards.
Professionals in the real estate market, as well as the home buying public, benefit considerably from the commitment to excellence that is routine in the work of ALTA members. Involvement by a title company is often thought of as the catalyst that allows a real estate closing to proceed smoothly until completed.
ALTA also provides online information for consumers about the home buying and closing process.
The ALTA Communications Department is available to assist with your inquiries. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call ALTA toll-free at 1-800-787-2582.
To help you understand the title industry, ALTA has prepared a Title Insurance Overview (PDF) with information on things such as the history of the industry, types and costs of title insurance, what is involved in the search process, who benefits from title insurance, and how the industry is regulated. Click the link below for the full overview. Still have questions? E-mail email@example.com.
Among its many activities, ALTA is regularly in touch with Congress, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other agencies, on legislative and regulatory issues, and may join with one or more affiliated state title associations in a position on state legislation. ALTA is in regular contact with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and works with its state title affiliates on regulatory matters as appropriate.
In addition, from time to time, ALTA files amicus curiae briefs with federal and state appeals courts in cases of major importance to the land title industry.
The Association develops the familiar ALTA title insurance forms used voluntarily by title insurers across the nation, and works to develop a better understanding of its industry among those who use and otherwise interface with land title services.
Other primary functions of the Association include title-industry specific education; liaison with appropriate national organizations; working to improve land title records; monitoring legislative and judicial developments; automation information; research; improving accounting practices; and offering group insurance to members.
ALTA publishes a bi-monthly magazine; a newsletter; co-produces a "fact book" of title industry financial information; and numerous other types of literature.
*an abstracter is the person who prepares a summary (or abstract) of public records relating to title to a specific parcel of land.