All Right, All Right, All Right

October 10, 2017

By Michelle Korsmo

During disasters such as the recent hurricanes, what amazes me the most is not the size and strength of the storms, but rather the magnitude of the support that our society provides those impacted.

Ahead of the storm in Florida, 28 states and the District of Columbia provided aid. From ambulances and helicopters to rescue teams and medical personnel, the “selfless dedication” (as Governor Rick Scott put it) of these Americans is inspirational. The Florida and Texas land title associations quickly communicated to their members and coordinated disaster recovery resources. ALTA set up an email address for people to either ask for help or provide assistance to those in need. Several ALTA members stepped up and offered support. Acts such as these remind us that this country remains strong. We’ll be all right.

According to a preliminary estimate from Moody’s Analytics, Harvey and Irma caused between $150 billion and $200 billion in damage in Texas and Florida. Meanwhile, Moody's estimated that Hurricane Maria could cost Puerto Rico $45 billion to $95 billion in damage.

As the communities devastated by the hurricanes continue the process of rebuilding, I encourage you to find ways—big and small—to help. All five of the living former U.S. presidents joined together to form the One America Appeal. Through this joint initiative, Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter asked citizens to support recovery efforts. In Texas, donations will go to the Houston-focused Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and the Rebuild Texas Fund. In Florida, it will support the Florida Disaster Fund, the state’s official private assistance fund. In the Caribbean, donations will be distributed to Unidos Por Puerto Rico, launched by the office of First Lady Beatriz Rosselló together with private sector coalition; and the Fund for the Virgin Islands, which was established 25 years ago by the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands for relief efforts. I encourage you to check out One America Appeal’s website at

As we come together in Miami for ALTA ONE, our hearts are still with our fellow citizens who are struggling with the recent natural disasters and tragedies. As a demonstration that we are with them, ALTA is partnering with the Red Cross to provide aid where it is needed most: Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas.

We’ve also been thinking about our friends in states affected by the summer wildfires. Fast-moving fires in California have led to the deaths of 10 people. An estimated 1,500 structures have been destroyed and 57,000 acres burned in eight counties. A wildfire in Anaheim has spread to 4,000-5,000 acres. More than 20,000 have already been evacuated.

Two years ago, ALTA launched its Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) to provide the resources members need to explain the closing process and the benefits of title insurance. It’s why ALTA is committed to attending the National Association of Realtors’ Annual Convention. We’ll be there again in November explaining to Realtors why their clients need title insurance. Even in states where the seller pays for the owner’s policy, educating consumers is the right thing to do. Just like how the country has united to help those in need during the recent disasters, if everyone involved in the real estate transaction truly embraces educating the consumer—in the words of Matthew McConaughey from the movie “Dazed and Confused”—we’ll all be all right, all right, all right.

Michelle Korsmo is chief executive officer of ALTA.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or