Bulletin: FL2007004

Date:
July 05, 2007
To:
All Florida Issuing Offices
RE:
Recent Statutory Change (CS/HB 111), Effective October 1, 2007

Dear Associates:

As a result of recent legislation passed into law by the Florida Legislature, there will be a change in the services that title insurance agencies may charge customers. The new law takes effect on October 1, 2007. Up until now, pursuant to Section 690-186.003(11) of the Florida Administrative Code which is enabled by Section 627.7711 Florida Statutes, title agencies have been required to charge a minimum of their actual cost for performing title searches, title examinations and closing services.
The new legislation provides for two changes:

  1. It is no longer permissible to charge separately for the title examination. Title examination is now considered a primary title service for which the title agency is compensated through the title insurance premium;

  2. Title agencies are no longer required to charge a minimum of their actual cost for the title search and closing. Under the new law, the charges for the search and closing are now unregulated except for the fact that under present interpretation by federal courts in this jurisdiction, the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA) still prohibits title agencies, for residential transactions, from charging more than what they paid themselves when those services are obtained from a third party.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the underwriting attorneys should you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter.  For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, log onto www.vuwriter.com.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None