Bulletin: GA2013005

Date:
August 05, 2013
To:
All Georgia Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Georgia Title Search Requirements

Dear Associates:

We have experienced a significant number of claims in recent years arising from search and exam errors. Many of these losses occurred because the search of title was not long enough or because the issuing agent relied on an inadequate prior title insurance policy or starter. Georgia has a minimum period of time for a title examination required by state law and pursuant to a marketable record title act. The State Bar of Georgia has adopted Title Standards, which defines a complete title exam to determine marketable title to be fifty years or more provided the basis is a warranty deed. The marketable title act has a 40-year search requirement. It is local custom and practice to follow the Title Standards unless a Georgia licensed attorney in good standing certifies title as marketable in writing based upon a search of less than 50 years.   

Company Policy: Issuing Agents should require a minimum of a 50-year search unless you are provided with a prior title policy as a basis to begin the title examination. The prior policy or starter must meet the requirements of the Company’s title search standards or you must contact a local underwriter for approval to perform a reduced search on the property.  

As a reminder, a title search of any land located in Georgia must be conducted in the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the land lies. The use of the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority or other online records to search title is not approved by the Company and Issuing Agents use these records at their own risk.

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.