ALTA® Convenes First-Ever Small Agents & Abstracters Forum

April 15, 2005

Washington, DC– This past weekend, the American Land Title Association kicked off a new member benefit–the Small Agents & Abstracters Forum. Designed as an information exchange meeting for title insurance agents and independent abstracters who have small operations, 34 ALTA members met at the St. Louis Airport Marriott on Sunday, April 10, to share experiences and learn from each other.

The Small Agents & Abstracters Forum came about as the result of a session during ALTA's 2004 Annual Convention in Boston. There, a "Town Meeting" was held to discuss the formation of a Small Agents Forum. Using the extremely successful Title Agents Executive Conference (a/k/a the Large Agents Group ) as a model, participants were enthusiastic to start a similar group of ALTA members with smaller operations. Participation in Forum activities is limited to ALTA members, although any member regardless of size, can take part as long as they believe they can contribute and learn from the group’s discussions.

The inaugural meeting was chaired by Michael Nichols, president of The Jones Abstract – & Title Company in Huntington, IN, (and current president of the Indiana Land Title Association) and Michael J. Gilbert, president of Clear Creek-Gilpin Abstract & Title Corp. in Georgetown, CO. Some of the topics the group covered included: How Is Your Company Dealing with the Current Business Downturn?; State Legislation Affecting the Title Industry; Issues Affecting Independent Abstracters; and Training and Retaining Key Employees.

Among the participants were ALTA president Mark A. Bilbrey, president of Warranty Title and Abstract in El Reno, OK; ALTA past president Cara L. Detring, president of Preferred Land Title Company in Farmington, MO; Ohio Land Title Association president Tim E. Evans, president of Evans Title Agency in Tipp City, OH; and president of the newly formed National Association of Land Title Examiners and Abstractors (NALTEA) Jay Duncan of Bi-State Title in St. Louis, MO.

Members of the Small Agents & Abstracters Forum will communicate frequently via a special Listserv that is being developed and their own page on the ALTA Web site. The group plans to meet again in early Fall and will give a report of its activities to the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Section at ALTA’s Annual Convention October 5-8 in New York City.

For more information about the Small Agents & Abstracters Forum, contact Alice Baldwin, CAE, 202-296-3671, ext. 230, or

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or