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ALTA® Launches Consumer & Industry Education Campaign

February 8, 2002

WASHINGTON----Feb. 8, 2002--The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is launching a public awareness campaign to inform home buyers and mortgage lenders about the importance and value of title insurance, and the advances being made in technology to make the title search process faster and more efficient.

"Title insurance can be a confusing product, however, it is really the biggest bargain in closing costs," said James R. Maher, executive vice president. "This campaign is designed to educate home buyers and lenders about the potential hazards that title insurance protects them against."

To protect their investment, most lenders require the home buyer to obtain "lender's title insurance" (or a loan policy) when they obtain a loan. However, it is "owner's title insurance" that fully protects the home buyer should a problem arise with the title.

Part of the confusion comes from the different ways title insurance is handled across the country. In some areas, the seller purchases the owner's title insurance for their buyer -- in effect telling them that the title is clear and marketable. The buyer purchases a loan policy to protect the lender. In other areas, it is the buyer who obtains both lender's and owner's title insurance separately. The practice of title insurance is based on local custom. So, this lack of uniformity can cause confusion, especially for people moving from one area to another.

ALTA will also educate lenders about the advances in technology made by the title industry.

"We want to let lenders know that the perception that the title insurance process takes too long is simply outdated," said Maher.

Many title companies across the United States have now automated local land records. This allows them to deliver a title policy faster than ever before. Out of the entire closing process, the title search actually takes the least amount of time. Title companies are already working with county land records offices to deliver same-day title insurance commitments.

ALTA is also working with many industry groups, such as the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) and the Property Records Industry Joint Task Force, to create electronic industry standards. These electronic standards will help move toward paperless closings, which will ultimately benefit the consumer.

For more details on the public awareness campaign, contact Lorri Lee Ragan, APR, ALTA's director of communication atlorri_ragan@alta.org or 1-800-787-2582.

Source: American Land Title Association®



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