Bulletin: SLS2011009

Date:
April 25, 2011
To:
All Direct Operations and Affiliate Agencies
RE:
Work Share/Support Service Agreements

Dear Associates: 

It has been brought to our attention that affiliate agencies and/or direct operations have been asked to enter into work share agreements (also known as support service agreements) with other Stewart agents who are not licensed to issue title insurance in the state where the property is located. Under these arrangements, the non-licensed agent may provide support services such as, providing customer service support, obtaining title searches, typing the title commitment on behalf of the issuing agent, and performing curative/title clearance functions. The non-licensed agent may also be responsible for recordation and closing. The licensed affiliate agency/direct operation located in the jurisdiction where the property is located ultimately issues the policies.

As an affiliate agency or direct operation, it is critical that all such undertakings are created and performed in compliance with the relevant state and federal laws and regulations. Therefore, please be advised that: (1) these agreements may only be entered into by two wholly owned affiliate agencies or a wholly owned affiliate agency and a direct operation. No other work share/support service agreements are permitted; (2) all such work share arrangements must be reduced to writing using a form approved by Stewart Legal Services; (3) all fees being paid to the non-licensed agent must be for services actually rendered, commercially reasonable and RESPA compliant in all respects, and (4) any such agreement must also be compliant with the local laws of the state in which the property is located. NOTE:  While RESPA is not applicable to commercial transactions and the provisions of this paragraph are intended to apply to residential transactions, similar agreements relating to commercial property must be in compliance with all relevant state law.  Agreements pertaining to commercial transactions must also be approved by state counsel.

If you have questions related to this bulletin, please contact Stewart Legal Services or your local underwriting personnel. 

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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:
SLS2009015 This bulletin has been replaced.
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None