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Coming Soon: The Ohio Association of Independent Title Agents Convention
by Robert Franco | 2010/02/18 |

Ohio independent title agents and abstractors should give serious consideration to attending the Ohio Association of Independent Title Agents' (OAITA) convention on April 19, 2010.  There is finally an association dedicated to addressing the unique concerns of the independent agents and it is worthy of your support.  I'll be there this year and I hope to see a strong turn out from Ohioans!

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Why is the OAITA so important?  Well, I certainly do not speak for the association, but from my perspective many of the changes our industry has seen over the past decade have created an environment that threatens the existence of small, independent title agents.  Traditional land title associations are made up of broader members, which includes underwriters and large agents with many affiliated business arrangements.  This is not to say that the Ohio Land Title Association is bad - quite to the contrary, they do a fine job in most respects.  However, when it comes to issues like AfBAs, they have a conflict of interest; some of their largest members support AfBAs. There are other issues, too; such as the requirement for closing protection coverage and the annual CPA audit.

And... in the words of the OAITA:

OAITA promotes fair standards regarding title insurance in Ohio and advocates for the advancement of issues relevant to the independent settlement service provider. We are participating in private policy change by pursuing litigation to help reinforce existing Ohio law regarding title insurance and real estate settlement services. We also support favorable initiatives relative to the independent title insurance and independent real estate settlement service provider movements in Ohio.

Personally, I think it's great that independent agents have an association that will represent their concerns.

Here are the details for the convention:

OAITA Convention
Monday, April 19, 2010
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Columbus, Ohio

For more information or to register visit

8:30am - 9:00am
Opening Remarks
Robert  B. Holman, Esq.
OAITA Founder & Organizational Counsel
Cleveland, Ohio

"State of the OAITA: Making the Case for Independence in Ohio"

9:00am - 9:30am
Keynote Address
Charles Proctor, Esq.
President, National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9:30am - 9:45am

9:45am - 10:45am
Independent Title Agent Panel

Moderator: Kim Himmel - Netwide Title Agency, Inc.

Scott Goldberg, Esq. - Golden Title Agency, Inc.
Susan Happ - American Home & Commercial Title
Jim Lindsay, Esq. - Louisville Title
Amy DeGennaro - Diamond Title
Rachel Torchia - Gateway Title

10:45am - 11:00am

11:00am - 12:00am
Paula Knodel, Agency Auditor
General Title Insurance Company
1.0 Hour of CE (pending approval)

"Understanding Escrow"

12:00pm - 1:00pm
Sponsored by Ohio Title Corporation

1:00pm - 2:00pm
Christopher Flowers, Esq.
Ohio Title Corporation
1.0 Hour of CE and CLE (pending approval)

"2010 Industry Caselaw Update"

2:00pm - 2:15pm

2:15pm - 3:15pm
Independent Title Closer & Abstractor Panel

Moderator: Rob Holman, Esq.

Robert A. Franco, Esq. - Attorney at Law
Doug Gallant - Independent Examiner
Mary Lou McMahan, Senior Examiner for Ohio Title Corp.

3:15pm - 3:30pm

3:30pm - 4:00pm
Richard S. Gordon, Esq.
Quinn, Gordon & Wolf, Chtd.
Baltimore, MD

"Title Industry Class Actions from the Plaintiff's Perspective"

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Kim Himmel, President
Netwide Title Agency, Inc.
Massillon, Ohio

"Understanding the Short Sale Process"

Closing Remarks
Douglas A. King, Esq., President OAITA

Special Guests:
Robert H. Myers, Jr., Esq., OAITA At-Large Trustee
Scott Goldberg, Esq., OAITA Survey Coordinator

The 2010-2011 Board of Trustees

OAITA Honorary Life Membership Award Winner

As you can see, I'll be there and they have asked me to participate as a panelist on the Independent Title Closer & Abstractor Panel.  If you make it, hopefully you will get to hear my opinion on the issues facing the independent abstractors and why those issues are important for the industry. 

Much like issues that are unique to independent title agents, independent abstractors also have interests which diverge from those of the underwriters and large agents with AfBAs.  I don't know exactly what the panel will be asked to discuss, but there are several issues that I think deserve attention.

  • Abstractor Qualifications - why aren't there any?
  • Search Standards - why are the underwriters' requirements so different from the Ohio Bar Title Standards?
  • Vendor Management Companies - faster and cheaper doesn't mean better.
  • Compensation/Liability - why are abstractors always asked to reduce their fees when their liability and E&O premiums continue to rise?

I'm excited to hear what issues will be discussed at the convention.  Anytime agents gather, they ultimately end up discussing problems they face - usually on breaks in the back of the room.  Finally, there is a conference devoted to those issues and providing an opportunity for agents and abstractors to vent their concerns to an organization that is actually interested in what they have to say.

I hope to see many of you there!

Robert A. Franco


Categories: Abstractors, Land Title Associations, Opportunities, Small Agents, Title Industry

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Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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