Last month, over seventy title insurance agents, title abstractors, title insurance underwriters, attorneys and real estate professionals gathered in Columbus, Ohio at the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel for the third annual Ohio Association of Independent Title Agents (OAITA) convention. By all accounts, the convention was a huge success.
For those who could not make it, here’s a brief summary of what was covered and encouragement for you to get more involved in OAITA for the coming year.
The gathering on April 19th included a keynote address from Charles Proctor, Esq., the President of the National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA) who traveled from Philadelphia, PA, to speak to the attendees about the importance of staying connected to the framework of independent title insurance agents from across the United States. Chuck described title insurance with a historical retrospective tracing its roots back to pre-Christian times and gave every indication that as long as NAILTA and organizations such as OAITA were battling to keep independent title agents’ place at the bargaining table, our future remained bright.
During the morning session, OAITA held an independent title agent panel that included: Kim Himmel, Netwide Title Agency – Massillon, Ohio; Rachel Torchia, Gateway Title Agency – Brecksville, Ohio; Jim Lindsey, Esq., Louisville Title Agency – Toledo, Ohio; Amy DeGennaro, Diamond Title Agency of NE Ohio – Kent, Ohio; and Scott Goldberg, Esq., Golden Title Agency – Columbus, Ohio.
Participants in the panel answered questions concerning the state of the independent title insurance industry in Ohio, trends for improving business, mutual assistance options among agents across Ohio, development of niche markets, and policy issues affecting independent title agents. The attendees overwhelming felt this — and the title abstractor panel conducted later in the day — were the best features of the convention.
There was the aforementioned title abstractor panel which included Robert Franco, Doug Gallant and Mary Lou McMahan discussing the problems faced by independent title abstractors in the face of offshore searches, the shutdown of title plants and the advent of short search (or no search) products in the title insurance industry.
OAITA raised over $5,000.00 for OAITAPAC at the convention. Monies given to OAITAPAC will go to those candidates and incumbents who seek or hold public office in Ohio and who understand and support the issues important to independent title insurance agents in Ohio. If you are interested in donating money to the only independent title agent political action committee in Ohio and want to make a difference in bringing the independent title agent issues to the foreground of Ohio, please visit the link (http://www.oaita.org/) and follow the internal links to the OAITAPAC website. Online donations are accepted.
Nine vendors/sponsors participated in the Convention. These include: Real Lynx for Lynx Services, Inc., Title Marketing That Works, Source of Title, McClish & Associates, R.H. Cooper & Company, Jacqui Hornberger, MAS Promotional Consulting/Geiger Mail, General Title Insurance Company, Ohio Title Corporation, and the National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA). Our thanks to each of our sponsors!
Title insurance agents representing each of the national title insurance underwriters were in attendance. While OAITA is oft-criticized for being beholden to the interests of regional title insurance underwriters and their independent positions on the title insurance industry, each of the national title insurance underwriters were represented at the convention through their agents. In fact, each of the national title insurance underwriters (First American, Fidelity, Stewart and Old Republic Title) along with the Presidents of OLTA and ALTA were personally invited to attend the convention. Out of that group, only representatives from Old Republic Title Insurance Company attended. It was clear from the attendees that ORT’s presence was noted for its importance.
OAITA is more than just opposition to sham CBAs. OAITA has helped draft and will continue to pursue changes to Ohio’s title insurance code that will not only address the issues affecting prohibited person-owned title agencies in Ohio, but will also create licensing standards for title abstractors, minimum search standards for title insurance transactions, and provide for the creation of a dedicated title insurance division within the Ohio Department of Insurance.
What does OAITA stand for? Come join us and find out. The fourth annual OAITA convention will be held on Monday, August 8, 2011. In the meantime, keep checking in to our website and our blog to stay abreast of the efforts to improve Ohio’s title insurance industry.