Bulletin: FL000111

Date:
July 13, 2004
To:
All Florida Offices and Agents
RE:
Sham ABA

Dear Associates:

The Department of Financial Services issued an order onMarch 30th, 2004, incorporating a Settlement Agreement of March 23rd, 2004, which requires several specific items with regard to ABA 's.  In part it requires the maintenance of a completely separate office from any other title agency, staffed by employees that work only for that agency without sharing expenses for employees and services with other title agencies, maintaining sufficient operating capital and net worth to conduct business, and providing a return on ownership interest proportional to each owner's capital contribution.  There may be additional orders to come.

The office of Insurance Regulation of The Department of Financial Services indicates they will be vigorously pursuing violations of law and regulations in this regard which would appear to be an indication of a new activity level in enforcement.  A copy of the particular order in question, which is a public record, is attached for your information.

Currently, there have been no formal rules published by The Department of Financial Services.  However, at this time we want to alert you to this Order in case you currently have an ABA or are contemplating one.  We strongly encourage you to make sure you are in compliance or take corrective measures immediately to get in compliance with both The Department of Financial Services and RESPA.

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