Bulletin: WV2013001

Date:
March 07, 2013
To:
All West Virginia Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Mineral Exception

Dear Associates:

Stewart Title Guaranty Company has experienced significant claims because of outstanding rights to mineral and other substances that were not excepted in the title insurance policy.

These losses often have occurred because the search of title was not long enough to discover the severance of rights in mineral and other substances, or because the title insurance agent relied on a starter, such as a prior title insurance policy.

Company Policy:

Add the following exception in Schedule B of each Commitment, Binder, or Policy, other than a Short Form Loan Policy, unless you secure Underwriter approval to remove or modify the exception. Deletion or modification of the exception generally will be based upon an extended search and examination required by the Underwriter and/or consideration of any state law reserving mineral or similar rights apart from patent reservations.

“This policy does not insure the title of the insured against any and all rights of others, including but not limited to rights of access, exploration, removal, development, production, treatment, transportation, extraction, storage or marketing, in and to any minerals, including but not limited to oil, gas, water, coal, lignite, clay, shale, sand, gravel and soil, located on, in, under, through or emanating from the insured premises. Further this policy does not insure against any failure of title of the insured in and to said minerals and rights, and/or encumbrances upon said minerals and rights. Further this policy does not insure against loss or damage to the insured premises, or to any buildings, structures, fixtures and/or improvements, or to any crops or timber situated thereon, caused by the exercise of any mining rights, easements, and/or other rights appurtenant to the ownership of a fee interest or a leasehold estate in any coal, oil, gas, water, lignite, clay, shale, gravel and soil or other minerals within, located on, under, through, or emanating from the insured premises.”

Always include in Schedule B any specific grant, reservation, or lease of minerals or other substances (such as caliche, gravel, rock, coal, lignite) that your search reflects. You should also add the following at the end of the specific exception (although the policy does not insure the title to any interest that is excepted): "The Company makes no representation as to the present ownership of any such interests. There may be leases, grants, exceptions or reservations of interests that are not listed."

If you have customarily included a patent and waters exception, you should continue to do so. A common patent exception is:  "(a) Unpatented mining claims; (b) reservations or exceptions in patents or in Acts authorizing the issuance thereof; (c) water rights, claims or title to water, whether or not the matters excepted under (a), (b) or (c) are shown by the Public Records." If you remove any patent exception, you should review the patent and be satisfied that applicable state or federal law enabling the patents does not reserve any minerals or similar rights.

The foregoing policy does not affect the potential availability of endorsements that provide coverage for damage to buildings or improvements on the land resulting from the future exercise of any right to use the surface of the land for the extraction or development of minerals or any other subsurface substances, such as the ALTA 9-06 series and the ALTA 35-06 series, pursuant to applicable Guidelines. 

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter. 

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please 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:
12.16 Mineral Rights
Exceptions Manual:
Minerals
 
Patents
Forms:
None