Glossary of Terms



American Land Title Association

ALTA Business Structure

An ALTA Business Structure includes a single parent Company and all related Companies under it for the purpose of conducting business with ALTA.

ALTA Database (DB)

The system that stores ALTA data and processes changes to that data. The tables store information for Company and Individual records.


A 7-digit identification number automatically assigned by the system to each Company and Individual record upon creation in the ALTA Database. The ALTA ID is unique and, once assigned, the number is never re-used or re-assigned.

ALTA Registry Customer

An organization with a subscription to the ALTA Registry that includes access to data and features not available to public users without a subscription.  ALTA Registry customers must execute the Customer License Agreement, agreeing to terms and conditions such as the permitted uses of the ALTA Registry Data.  Typical customers would include mortgage lenders and organizations involved in real estate transactions on behalf of lenders.

ALTA Registry Listing Contact Person

The ALTA Registry Listing Contact person is an Individual person at the Company who is either able to respond to inquiries from ALTA Registry users, or direct them to the appropriate place for a response. The ALTA Registry Listing Contact is not assigned any additional rights or responsibilities; however, it is possible for an Individual to be both a Primary Contact and an ALTA Registry Listing Contact Person.

ALTA Registry Management System (RMS)

ALTA Registry Management System (RMS) is used by Title Agents, Real Estate Attorneys and Underwriter Direct Offices to request and maintain listing information that appears in the ALTA Registry.

ALTA Registry Resources

A section of the ALTA website where a user can locate information and instruction regarding the ALTA Registry and ALTA Registry Management System (RMS).

ALTA Registry Structure

An ALTA Registry Structure consists of at least one Principal Business Location and any associated Branch Location(s), if applicable. A Principal Business Location is required; Branch Locations are optional. A user will select Company records from their ALTA Business Structure to be included in their ALTA Registry Structure.

ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry (ALTA Registry)

A web based utility created by the American Land Title Association to utilize the ALTA Universal ID to help everyone in the industry more confidently identify Title Agents, Underwriter Direct Offices and Real Estate Attorneys performing settlements.

Branch Location

A Company location that performs work on behalf of or in partnership with a Principal Business Location.


An organization record in the ALTA Database and ALTA Business Structure. Companies in the ALTA Business Structure are available to select for an ALTA Registry listing. Companies include Underwriters, Title Agents, and Law Firms.

Confirmed Underwriter Relationship

A Confirmed Underwriter Relationship means that the Underwriter has reviewed the record submitted for listing in the Registry and Confirmed that the record is either a Principal Business Location or a Branch Location for one of their Title Agents.

Confirming Underwriter

The Underwriter providing confirmation of identity for the Title Agent as an agent with whom the Underwriter has a relationship, usually supported by an underwriting or policy-issuing agreement.

Contacting Registry Staff

Call (855) 618-2582 or email at

Data Confirmation Services Agreement

A legal agreement between ALTA and a participating Confirming Underwriter. It is required before the Underwriter is permitted to perform confirmation services in the ALTA Registry Management System (RMS).

Delivery Point Validation (DPV)

A validating process used by the USPS to identify a location down to the unit number in a building; comprised of 5-digit zip code plus a 4-digit extension plus a 2-digit unit number plus a check digit; resolves issues with formatting or abbreviations in address data.

Doing Business As (DBA) Name

An alternate or alias name used by a Company to conduct business. The DBA is the Company name generally displayed for ALTA business (e.g., ALTA Membership Directory, name badges for ALTA meetings).


An Individual record in the ALTA Database and ALTA Business Structure. Individuals are attached to Companies and may be employees and serve as Primary or Secondary Contacts for a Company. Individuals are also available to select for the ALTA Registry as an ALTA Registry Listing Contact Person or a Real Estate Attorney.

Law Firm

A group or association of individual Real Estate Attorneys engaged in the practice of law.  In the ALTA Database, individual Real Estate Attorneys will often be linked to a Company which is a Law Firm.  Some Law Firms may also be Title Agents and will have Underwriter relationships.

Legal Entity Name

The legal name used by a Company to enter into contracts and file taxes.

Primary Contact

The person selected to represent a Company for all ALTA business purposes, including, but not limited to, billing, membership, receipt of mail, and authorization to make changes to the Company's record within the ALTA Database. Changes to the Company record include such things as address changes, requests to be included in the ALTA Registry and identification of an ALTA Registry Listing Contact Person.

Principal Business Location (PBL)

The Company location identified by the Company as the primary or main location for purposes of Confirmation by the Underwriter.

Real Estate Attorney

An individual attorney who performs settlement services, but may not issue the title insurance policy. Attorneys who are also Title Agents and issue policies should submit their Company records for Confirmation by their Underwriters.

Secondary Contact

An additional person selected to represent and perform all duties and responsibilities of the Primary Contact. A Company may have multiple Secondary Contacts.

Title Agent

For purposes of the ALTA Registry, a Title Agent is a Company that has an agency or underwriting agreement with a title insurance Underwriter to issue title insurance policies. Some Law Firms may also be Title Agents.


A title insurance company which appoints agents to issue title insurance policies, commitments, endorsements, and other title assurances approved by the insurer for real estate transactions through an underwriting or policy-issuing agreement.

Underwriter Direct Offices

For purposes of the ALTA Registry, an Underwriter Direct Office is any Company location within the Underwriter’s ALTA Business Structure. Some of these locations may be offices listed in the ALTA Registry.