Benchmark Title Company, LLC


This weeks Tip discusses the much anticipated new 2006 ALTA Policies of Title Insurance.      

The New 2006 ALTA Policy
by Sarah Holdener, Esq.

You may have heard that the current version of the Owners and Loan Policies of Title Insurance will be decertified on June 17, 2007.  What does this mean?

One year ago, on June 17, 2006, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) Board of Governors released revisions to the policies, a project that had been in the works for about three years.  These forms are commonly referred to as the 2006 ALTA Policies.  Previously we were all using forms created by ALTA in 1992.  The 1992 versions are still available by request, however they have been "decertified" by ALTA, meaning they are no longer the recommended or preferred version.  It's taken most of the past year for the title underwriters and agencies to get their systems and procedures in order to handle the 2006 ALTA Policies and beginning Monday, June 18th, all new title insurance orders placed should be issued with the new policy forms.

What does this mean to you?

For starters, the new 2006 ALTA Policies have been somewhat reworded for clarity, have redefined a few terms, and have overall added greater coverage and protection for consumers i.e., purchasers and lenders.

One significant change you may notice is that some items that were formerly exceptions from the exclusions from coverage, have been retitled "Covered Risks."  Much to the consternation of ALTA, courts occasionally misinterpreted the double negative and denied coverage where it should have been given. 

Lenders should be pleased to see that the new 2006 ALTA Loan Policy now contains a checkbox section containing the most common and frequently requested endorsements, which can be incorporated by reference into the Loan Policy.  Actual copies of these endorsements will not be sent with the policy, but copies can be given upon request.

Should you wish to learn more about other changes in the new 2006 ALTA Policies and what this means for you and your clients, please call myself, John Howe, or Doreen Miller.  We will gladly come out to your office to give a presentation to your staff, or send you a document on the comparisons if you'd like a handy reference at your desk.  We will begin scheduling presentations soon.  You can also stay tuned for future Title Tips detailing the differences between the old 1992 version and new 2006 policy forms.

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email: 

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Sarah Holdener, Esq.
General Counsel,
VP Production

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

Upcoming Title Tips

Property Taxes
The Birth of Title Insurance
Certificates of Release
More 2006 ALTA Policy Changes

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Give me my policy!

Did you know that lenders and home buyers now receive their title policies at the closing table? Call Michelle Null, VP Escrow Operations, to learn more about this exciting new program.

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   Employee Spotlight

 Sarah Holdener

Sarah Holdener, joined Benchmark Title Company four years ago as General Counsel and Vice President of Production Operations.  A graduate of St. Louis University, and the St. Louis University School of Law, Sarah clerked for Judge Mary K. Hoff on the Missouri Court of Appeals for two years before joining Benchmark in 2003.  New to title insurance at that time, Sarah worked in each each department learning every position in the company before assuming management of the Production Department.  In 2005 she was named one of Southern Illinois' Rising Stars, by the Illinois Business Journal.  Sarah live in Shiloh, with her husband, Trey, and her 3 year old twins, Tony and Kate.  Sarah can be reached at 618-239-3750 or by email at

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