Bulletin: NJ2015002

Date:
March 31, 2015
To:
All New Jersey Issuing Offices
RE:
RATES AND/OR FORMS UPDATE - Changes for Settlement Charges

Dear Associates:

Changes have been made to the New Jersey Rate Manual effective April 1, 2015. There are no changes to the basic rates within this new filing; the only changes are for settlement charges as referenced below. Please take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the updated Rate Manual and the changes, which the Department of Banking and Insurance has approved for use in New Jersey effective April 1, 2015:

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 1.9

The definition of "Settlement Charge" was amended to include the underlined language: 

"Settlement Charge" is that charge imposed by an insurer or its agent for attending or conducting a real estate closing or settlement in connection with a real estate transaction in which a title insurance policy or policies are to be issued; i.e., a real estate closing in which the insurer or agent may or may not make disbursements of funds on behalf of the participants, whether or not the settlement takes place by mail or through electronic means, and regardless of the place the settlement occurs, and which may include closing - or settlement-related functions performed both before and  after the occurrence of the closing or settlement itself, but which excludes functions for which a  charge is imposed under Section 7.1.

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 3.1.5 (c) 

Section (c) of the Right to Impose Special Charges was amended to include the underlined language: 

The closing or settlement charges set forth in this manual contemplate the normal or usual settlement, one not involving an unusually long or complex closing or settlement, or one not involving the performance of extensive pre-or post-closing- or settlement-related functions, or in the case of a settlement with disbursements, an unusually large number of disbursement checksor wire transfers or documents to be recorded

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 6.1

Settlements With Disbursements was amended to include the underlined language and remove the language in parenthesis: 

Where the insurer or its agent conducts a settlement with disbursements, as the same is defined in Section 1.9(a), the charge shall be $300 for a settlement which does not exceed 60 minutes in length, plus additional charges, if any, as (provided for herein) set forth in this Manual. Settlements conducted by mail or electronically shall be deemed to be conducted in the insurer's or agent's office. Nothing contained (herein) in Sections 6.1 et seq

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 6.2.3

Settlements Of Greater Than Normal Length was amended to change the length of the settlement with disbursements to 60 minutes from 90 minutes and change the additional charge to $100.00 from $25.00

With the following example added to the Manual: 

An agent conducts a settlement, spending one hour at the settlement table, which is preceded by one hour spent performing settlement-related functions. The total settlement charge is $400.00, computed as follows: $300.00 for the time spent at the settlement table (in accordance with Section 6.1), and $100.00 for the settlement-related functions performed before the occurrence of the settlement (in accordance with Section 6.2.3).

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 6.3

Settlements Without Disbursements was amended to include the underlined language and remove the language in parenthesis:

When the insurer or its agent attends or conducts a settlement without disbursements, as the same is defined in Section 1.9(b), the charge shall be $150.00 for a settlement which does not exceed 60 minutes in length, plus additional charges, if any, (as provided for herein) set forth in this Manual

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 6.4.3

Settlements Of Greater Than Normal Length was amended to change the length of the settlement without disbursements to 60 minutes from 90 minutes and change the additional charge to $50.00 from $25.00.

Manual of Rates and Charges, Section 6.4.4

Settlements Of Greater Than Normal Length; Itemization of Charges - this new section has been added with the following language: 

If the insurer or agent conducts a settlement of greater than normal length, whether the same occurs with or without disbursements, the insurer or agent shall provide the applicant, upon request, with an itemization of the time expended by the insurer or agent in connection therewith, specifically setting forth the settlement-related functions performed before and after the occurrence of the closing or settlement itself.

If you are using AIM+, please contact PropertyInfo Customer Care to get the new rate manual changes implemented to your AIM+ system. 

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact the Alabama State Office for assistance.

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:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None