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A Message From the Abstracter-Agent Chair

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May/June 1998 - Volume 77, Number 3

ALTA® is the best thing the title industry has going! Oh, great, you say, another promotional message from one of the Chairs in the Association. Well, yes it is. I have been really thinking about the role ALTA® plays in the title industry, as well as in my own business.

Why ponder this? Partly, the exercise is due to my new role in ALTA®. But, primarily, I have been thinking about it because of the competitive pressure that is forcing changes in the way my company does business from day to day. I struggle to get accurate indicators to help me develop my company, as well as just run it. And I think that title people- -agents, abstracters and underwriters alike- -are more than just a little shaken up, not only at the direction in which their industry is heading, but also in which it is being pushed.

I used to be able to go about facing the challenges of my daily business routine without giving much thought to the current issues before ALTA®. I could go home from a convention or a committee meeting and put ALTA® out of my mind, at least until the next time. Not any more. All of the issues with which ALTA® staff members are now dealing directly affect the way I can do business.

My dad, if he were still living, would be livid about the kind of present business relationships my company is forced into. He was of the old school, the "take it or leave it" business attitude. And that no longer fits. Now, when I return from an ALTA® convention or meeting, I am all too quickly affected by the same trends and issues discussed there. They are real and they are here- -now.

I am not just venting my frustrations with this message. I am trying to make the point that now, more than ever, you must keep up with the issues being addressed on the national and state levels. Not only must you remain current- -you must try to influence the approach taken with them.

None of us has the contacts, resources, time or energy to do this on our own. That leaves involvement in national or state trade associations, or other large groups with the clout to attack issues. It doesn’t matter what the issues are- -if it is banks seeking authority to sell title insurance, class action suits regarding closing practices, or alternative title products being accepted in a number of states- -they are challenges to our present business relationships. Not all of this is bad, and certainly not all is good. But those challenges affect us all, and require us to be more flexible and accommodating in our business than we may think is possible.

Throughout the years of my parents involvement with ALTA® and my own, I have heard nearly all possible praises and criticisms of the Association. It has been my experience that ALTA® has celebrated its praises and has thoughtfully addressed any criticisms on all levels. ALTA® is truly a unique organization in its representation of title insurance underwriters, agents and abstracters of title. ALTA® represents them all, as EQUAL MEMBERS, and does it well. What other title organization brings together the most knowledgeable individuals of its industry and related industries, and fosters the development of consensus? ALTA® is the only one.

So, how do you choose where your time and assets are best spent in regard to the title industry? That questions has to be evaluated individually. However, it does not make sense to me to support any group other than ALTA® to address our industry concerns.

ALTA® is a non-profit organization, existing solely for the benefit of its members. We members direct the message ALTA® takes to Capitol Hill in Washington. We members provide ALTA® with the voice to get our message across to Congress and every regulatory agency that affects our business.

We members tell ALTA® where we feel we are lacking in technology. We members dictate what educational events we need to help us compete in business.

We then combine our efforts to get what we need. WE ARE THE ALTA®.

Why, then, would you as an individual business person choose any other forum for a partner in the title industry? Why would you invest your company’s assets and your people’s talent in any other organization? You shouldn’t.

ALTA® is NOT the all knowing, all seeing entity of the title industry, any more than any one of us is. However, I believe you and I, and our companies, whether agent, abstracter or underwriter, and the talent of our staff, collectively are the best in the title industry. And that is what makes ALTA® the best and only real choice you have.

Get involved with ALTA®. Help solve the problems facing the industry, and help direct your future. Lend ALTA® the best of what you have. Challenge ALTA®. Question it. Direct it. ALTA® is yours.


Cara L. Detring

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