Thursday, April 01, 2010

ALTA asking for membership

As part of what I guess is a routine membership drive, I received a voice mail from the soon-to-be president of ALTA noting that I had previously been a member and would I consider rejoining?

Yes, I used to pay over $2000 per year for the privilege of ALTA membership.  I stopped paying $2000+ per year when I suddenly realized that ALTA was advocating against my interests and not for them.  DUH!

ALTA has in recent years been a strong advocate for closely held affiliated or joint venture relationships.  ALTA has also been an advocate for automated title search and examination, even though testimony at the state and federal level would have you think otherwise.

I have to give ALTA some credit for rethinking the role of expert human examination and perhaps they have backed off the joint venture bandwagon.  That's not enough for me.

I lose thousands of dollars every year paying for abstracts and lien letters on cancelled transactions.  In an average year make that around TEN thousands.  In a boom year, make it around TWENTY-FIVE thousands, so when I have repeatedly asked ALTA to advocate on behalf of the interests of title insurance agents like me and convince the real estate and lending community that our pre-closing work product has value and ALTA says NO, well, I don't see my $2000+ membership dues going into their pocket anytime soon.  Do you?


Diane Cipa said...

Hey, it just hit me. Maybe that call was an April Fool's Day joke! LOL

Anonymous said...

Isn't this because ALTA is now claiming a copyright in its policy forms, and if you aren't a member you'll have to pay a license fee? Heard of that one yet?

Diane Cipa said...

Yes. I'm paid up with the license fee until June. Everyone who uses the ALTA forms does have to pay $195 per year for the privilege. I think that is fair since ALTA does all the work creating and maintaining uniform title instruments.

The membership dues are based upon company volume and include the licensing fees. I would have to pay over $2000 annually for membership which is lots higher than the $195 license fee. ;)