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The Year of the Tiger has begun, and we are off to an exciting start! Happy New Year! Your OCEA Board of Directors is hard at work filling the calendar with educational opportunities for you! We’ll be “virtual” for the foreseeable future, and will continue to monitor pandemic guidelines throughout the year, hoping to see the day when we can all meet again in person.

Our first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 16th featuring Michael Haas, CPA; Mike Belote, Esq.; and Nancy Tarr of First American. You do not want to miss this presentation of “What’s New in 2022” -- to include updates to FTB Form 593, IRS FIRPTA issues, legislation, AB1466 which calls for the removal of Restrictive Covenants from the public records, and more. To register please go to our Facebook page for the Event Flyer, or watch your email for the meeting notice and follow the link there.

Note! If your employer requires you to submit Continuing Education credits for attending our meeting(s), let us know on your registration and we’ll send you a “CE” credit form, along with the log-in and log-out time for your attendance.

CONGRATULATIONS to Mike Belote who was recently honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, California Capital Chapter (AFP), as its Outstanding Philanthropist! Mike’s philanthropic work includes generous donations, contributions of time, talent, and inspiration. As an association, we have been privileged to work alongside Mike as CEA’s advocate in Sacramento for many years. Here’s to you, Mike, and to many more years of collaboration!

CEA MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL: Have you renewed your CEA membership for 2022? If so, THANK you! If not, get the most benefit by joining now so you won’t miss a thing. The application is easy to find on the CEA website By being an active member, CEA will help keep you current on all of the changes affecting our industry from legislation to best practices and more. We encourage you to become an active part of our community of escrow professionals - we are confident in our belief that you need us...but equally important: we need YOU.

Robin Alvarez

Celebrating 70 Years of Unlocking Education

CEA Headquarters has sent out its Committee Request forms. Please consider staying involved in CEA by joining one or more of its committees. Anyone can join - you need not be on your local regional association’s Board of Directors. Maybe you have a special interest that would be a particularly good fit. There’s Bill Review, Public Relations, Conference, Membership, Escrow Practices, Education and others. Committee work is a great way to collaborate with like-minded industry professionals, share your creative talents, and be on the cutting edge of whatever new “thing” is coming toward us all. Check it out! As the saying goes “Many hands make for light work.” Either check the website or contact me if you’d like a copy of the form.

PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATIONS - Let’s get ready to take some PD exams! Make 2022 the year you take the plunge! It’s never too early to start studying, so set your mind to it now and watch the CEA calendar for the schedule of exam dates. While you’re there, check out the mentor program under the “Education” tab. A CSEO who has already walked the walk will hold your hand throughout the process. So, even if you’re test-phobic, CEA has your back and wants you to have all the tools and encouragement you need to succeed.

INSURANCE SCAM - BEWARE! There’s a fairly new scam in town!

CEA recently issued a Member Alert reporting that certain unlicensed individuals have been acting as insurance agents for years -- primarily targeting new purchase transactions - leaning on relationships they have established over the years with escrow agents, real estate agents and lenders. The individuals involved in the scheme issued completely fraudulent insurance certificates in the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Kern, raking in the premiums while providing the insured and the loss payee lender with exactly zero coverage - no backing by an actual insurance company! Unfortunately, they are not caught concerning the fake insurance policies until a claim is made by the insured, which does not happen all that often.

One tip that something may be amiss is if escrow is asked to accept an insurance policy from an agent who is different from the agent named by the buyer/borrower on escrow’s insurance information form. The “bad guy” may even have a prepared story as to why the certificate is from another insurance company, and the buyer/borrower may be completely in the dark about the switcheroo -- until it’s too late. So don’t ignore your gut - if something feels weird, check it out -- and follow the instructions of your principals.

Please be sure to take certain steps to confirm that insurance agents are legitimate. License information is available at the California Department of Insurance at

Here’s to your good health and continued success,
In 2022, Let Go and Grow!
Robin Alvarez, CEO, CSEO
Your 2022 OCEA President