The American Land Title Association (ALTA) One 2019 Conference was held in Austin, Texas, the “live music capital of the world.” This year’s theme was “Unbound,” and with live music everywhere, Austin provided a perfect place to encourage everyone to break free of limitations and think outside the box. Outgoing ALTA President Cynthia Durham, NTP, enhanced the theme by singing her creative farewell speech to Taylor Swift’s hit “You need to calm down.” Overall, the ALTA One conference was an exceptional experience that brought the industry together to examine the evolution of the title insurance, closing, and settlement industry and to plan for the future. Here are the top 5 takeaways:
1. Industry Workforce Issues
There is a focus on and awareness of the continually changing state of recruiting for our industry and how to build a flexible workplace that will attract and retain employees. Concentration is on the millennial workforce, remote and virtual office space, job sharing, job advancement, and job satisfaction.
2. Commercial Considerations
Alternative energy projects are hot right now, specifically wind farm and solar transactions. These and other alternative energy projects offer developers owning or seeking large tracts of land numerous commercial opportunities. In other commercial markets, retail seems to be on a decline, while industrial and apartment housing is looking up. In all cases, every party involved in these complex transactions want experienced, competent title professionals to handle every aspect of their transaction from search to policy.
3. Title Policy Revisions
Revised ALTA Title policies are coming. The ALTA 2006 policies are being updated and revised to include references to electronic recording and signing thereby modernizing the product to keep up with legal changes, to provide more clarity on ambiguous terms and coverages, and to provide a more favorable definition of “Insured” under a loan policy to include the party that is the holder of the indebtedness. They will also specifically state that the policy is a contract of indemnity (and not a guarantee).
4. Bad Guys Are Still Out There
Cyber Security continues to remain a top concern for everyone in both personal and professional lives. Rachel Wilson, who spent 15 years of her career running counter-terrorism operations at the NSA detecting and disrupting terrorist plots, left us shaking in our cowboy boots by planting seeds of new concerns. We need to continue to be vigilant each and every day, protecting our client’s confidentiality of personal data, downloading information from unsecured apps and portals, and of course, verbally confirming all wire information with a human being at a trusted number.
What is your purpose—in life, in business? Motivational speaker, Roy Spence, Co-founder of GSD&M advertising and marketing agency in Austin, and CEO of The Purpose Institute, spoke about the central purpose that captures the difference an organization can make in the world. Roy said that our purpose in our industry is to ensure that we help preserve the American Dream of homeownership and that this dream does not turn into a nightmare. This entails making sure the title is clean and clear, which in this world of mass chaos, means that we provide the homeowner with one less thing to worry about. As title and real estate professionals, we have a definite purpose!