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ALTA Set to Open 102nd Annual Convention

October 20, 2009

The Breakers Palm Beach, which offers 140 acres of oceanfront property, takes pride in its celebrated history as it looks to the future.

It's only fitting the 2009 ALTA Annual Convention is being held at the hotel, which recently ushered in a new era of casual sophistication by investing $250 million in an ongoing revitalization and expansion of the resort since 1990. The title insurance industry also is ushering in a new era. It may not be voluntary, but the industry is under immense change brought about by economic conditions and regulators determined to create new rules.

As title professionals adapt to continuing change, whether it's preparing for the Jan. 1 implementation date of the new GFE/HUD-1 forms or trying to figure out how the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency will hamper business, it's vital to remember the value the title insurance industry has and will provide to the economic growth of the U.S. economy.

ALTA's 102nd convention, which officially opens Wednesday evening with an ice breaker reception, aims to urge attendees to take pride in the services the industry offers and share the value with others, while providing needed educational opportunities to broaden your operation's capabilities.

"The current challenge to our success is less about past industry actions and more about the shaping of the economic future of America," ALTA President Mike Pryor. "Conventions such as this are critical to the mission of any industry, especially ours. We need convention participants to return home with an enthusiasm and energy to spread the message and for those unable to attend to be eager to hear the message delivered."

Here's a quick glimpse of sessions that will take place Thursday:

Pryor will kick off the event during the opening general session. He will be followed by author and sports journalist Don Yaeger, who will share 16 characteristics of greatness exhibited by winners.

Four professional development tracks will be held Thursday.

Mark Lynch, of the law firm The Lynch Law Group, will teach those in attendance how to identify potential sources of fraudulent activity, train staff to avoid liability in the processing of fraudulent transactions and implement procedures to "liability proof" an agency, during the session titled "Fraud: Fact & Fiction, Will the IRS Knock on Your Door."

In a session titled "Getting Back to Basics: The Title Industry's Value Proposition," Kurt Szymanski, of Windward Consulting Group, and Kevin Barthel, of Millennium Challenge Corp., will share how the title industry has evolved in the U.S. and other developed countries by putting in place practices that improve the quality of services provided by both government agencies and private sector title professionals.

Mary Schuster, of RamQuest, and Chris Christensen, of Peirson Patterson Law Firm, both members of ALTA's RESPA Implementation Taskforce, will help attendees develop an understanding of the HUD-1 form changes. The two will offer insight into how to innovate sales methods, enhance customer relationships and ensure profitability come the Jan. 1 implementation date.

Rounding out Thursday's professional development sessions are Robert Rohan and Philip Holtsberg, both with Attorneys' Title Insurance Services, who will discuss reverse mortgages, including the pros and cons of these deals, unique practical client situations, the impacts on entitlement and needs-based programs, emerging trends in reverse mortgage fraud and ethical dilemmas.

There are also several vendor sessions planned for Thursday.

Simplifile's Vicki DePasquale, national sales manager, will discuss "E-recording … Your Competitive Advantage."

Fiserv's Monte Jiran, product manager, vendor management software solutions, will discuss "Successfully Managing Costs to Succeed in Today's and Future Real Estate Markets."

Doug Berham, senior sales manager for NoteWorld Servicing center, will lead the discussion "Online Seller Finance Solutions." Marty Stanton, president and CEO of Stanton Enterprises, will share the topic "No Surprises. We put settlement first."

We will continue to update you with happenings at ALTA's convention throughout the week. You can also check out ALTA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ALTAonline for conference updates.

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