Bulletin: SLS2017001

Date:
January 31, 2017
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
GENERAL - 2017 Reminder Bulletin

Dear Associates:

This Bulletin reminds you of your obligations as a policy-issuing representative of Stewart Title Guaranty Company ("Stewart"). In addition to possessing the customary knowledge associated with real estate closings in your jurisdiction, you are required to have specific knowledge of, and comply with, Stewart's underwriting practices, requirements, and guidelines. These include, but are not limited to, our Underwriting Manual, Bulletins, and Special Alerts. These resources, together with other important information, instructional materials, and commonly used forms are contained in Virtual Underwriter, available online at www.vuwriter.com.   

Please note the following Bulletins relating to topics of current concern:

Underwriting

 

SLS2016004

UNDERWRITING - Condominium/Homeowner Association Lien Foreclosures
Issuing offices may not insure a property where the search reveals a foreclosure of a condominium association’s lien or homeowners association’s lien without approval of a Senior Underwriter.

SLS2016002

UNDERWRITING - Foreclosures Extinguishing Subordinate Mortgages or Title Held By Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FDIC, or HUD
Requirements to insure a foreclosure of a prior lien where there is a lien held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), or HUD.

 

SLS2016001

UNDERWRITING - Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA)
FIRPTA requirements and new, increased 15% withholding as of 02/16/16.

 

MU2016001

UNDERWRITING - Updated Guidelines for ALTA Endorsement 4-06 and 4.1-06 (Condominium) and ALTA Endorsement 5-06 and 5.1-06 (Planned Unit Development)
An Insured Mortgage may or may not have priority over a condominium association's or homeowners association's lien for future unpaid charges and assessments.  Describes the differences in coverages of the referenced ALTA Endorsements with regard to lien priority.

 

SLS2014006

UNDERWRITING - Insuring Title Based Upon a Judgment, Order, or Decree: Appeal Period and Proper Notice 
When insuring title based upon a judgment, order, or decree, the order must be a final, non-appealable order.

 

SLS2014002

UNDERWRITING - Extrahazardous Risks
Underwriting approval is required to insure extrahazardous risks. Contains examples of Extrahazardous risks.

 

SLS2014001

UNDERWRITING - The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) and The Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA)
Issues relating to PACA and PSA and related requirements.

 

SLS2009007

Mechanic’s Liens Recap 
Required procedures and recurring issues relating to mechanic’s liens (non-construction loans).

 

SLS2009004

Use of Starters for Title Search [Revised 3-23-09]
Requirements for relying on starters to begin a title search.

 

SLS2008015

Paying Off Line of Credit Mortgages
Risks and requirements when paying off credit line mortgages.

 

SLS2007007

Insuring Around, Over, or Against Outstanding Enforceable Recorded Defects, Liens, and Encumbrances
Requirements for insuring over, omitting or insuring the subordinate nature of an enforceable recorded defect, lien, or encumbrance.

 

CA2007001

Underwriting Bulletin Clarification
Clarifies requirements for omitting a recorded deed of trust that has been paid.

 

General

 

SLS2013003

Search Services and Limitation of Title Insurance Underwriting Agreement
Independent agents are prohibited from using the Stewart name on any non-policy product, including any search product. 

 

SLS2012001

Privacy Policy Opt Out Option
Stewart Title Company customers may opt out of information sharing. 

 

SLS2011017

Stewart Title’s Forgery Watch Award Program
Contains links to Fraud and Forgery Watch Program procedures.

 

SLS2011010

Avoidance of Potential Conflicts of Interest
Issuing offices are prohibited from issuing title policies or closing transactions on any property in which a principal or agent has an interest, unless approved in advance.

 

SLS2011005

Disbursement Practices: Good Fund vs. Collected Funds [Revised 04-27-12]
Recommended practices relating to the receipt and disbursement of funds.

 

SLS2010026

Issuing Authority and Escrow Instructions
Issuing agent's authority is limited to the issuance of title commitments and policies.  Issuing agents do not have the authority to bind the Company in any other way, including escrow agreements.

 

SLS2008001

Patriot Act Requirements and the Special Alerts Database [Revised 01/18/12]
Issuing office are required to comply with the USA Patriot Act and must check the Stewart Special Alerts Database. In addition to the required search of the Special Alerts Database, if you are aware of any alert or cautionary memorandum issued by Stewart or any other underwriter, you may not close a transaction or issue a Stewart policy without disclosure to, and prior written approval from, a Stewart Legal Services representative.

 

SLS00171

Importance of the Positive Pay System
Banking procedures that can help reduce the likelihood of escrow fraud. Each day, issuing office transmits to its bank a list of checks that it has issued. Also describes reverse positive pay. 

 

Rates and/or Forms Update

 

MU2016006

RATES AND/OR FORMS UPDATE - ALTA Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policies - Assessments Priority (04-02-15) or Current Assessments (04-02-15); and ALTA Short Form Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policies - Assessments Priority (04-02-15) or Current Assessments (04-02-15)
Describes the differences in coverages of the referenced ALTA policies with regard to insuring the lien priority of the Insured Mortgage in relation to the lien of a condominium association's or homeowners association's lien for future unpaid charges and assessments.

 

Claims Avoidance

 

SLS2016005

CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Email Impersonation Wire Fraud Scheme Targeting Customers; FinCEN Advisory

Email impersonation wire fraud scheme designed to cause the customer to wire funds to a bogus account.

 

Mechanic’s Liens During Construction

A significant source of risk for the Company is the insurance of construction loans. Please note the following Bulletins which describe issues and requirements relating to mechanic’s liens during construction:

 

MU2010009

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - No Priority (2)
Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon

 

MU2010008

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement (3)
Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming

 

MU2010007

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Priority if No Lien or Suit Filed when Disbursing (1)
District of Columbia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Vermont

 

DE2010002

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction

 

FL2010002

Mechanic's Liens Coverage on Lender's Policies During Construction

 

IL2010005

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - No Priority

 

LA2010010

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement

 

MA2010002

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction

 

MI2010007

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction

 

NC2010003

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement

 

ND2010001

Mechanic's Liens/Construction Liens Coverage During Construction - Priority if No Lien or Suit Filed when Disburse

 

NJ2010005

Construction Lien Claims in New Jersey

 

NM2015002

UNDERWRITING - Insuring Construction Loans in New Mexico; New Rules Effective August 1 and August 15, 2014

 

PA2010009

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement

 

TX2010008

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction

 

VA2010001

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction

 

WI2010005

Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction

As an accommodation, Stewart also distributes Bulletins and Special Alerts electronically. You are encouraged to sign up for electronic distribution of Bulletins and Special Alerts by contacting the Bulletin Coordinator at sylvia.lopez@stewart.com. Please also promptly forward any changes regarding your email address. Please ensure that emails from Stewart are not blocked or misdirected to your spam folder. Please add (sylvia.lopez@stewart.com) to your Address Book and Safe Senders List. 

As a reminder, you are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with the information contained in all Bulletins and Special Alerts as posted on Virtual Underwriter (www.vuwriter.com), whether you receive them by electronic distribution or not. 

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:
CA2007001 Underwriting Bulletin Clarification
 
DE2010002 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction
 
FL2010002 Mechanic's Liens Coverage on Lender's Policies During Construction
 
IL2010005 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - No Priority
 
LA2010010 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement
 
MA2010002 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction
 
MI2010007 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction
 
MU2010007 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Priority if No Lien or Suit Filed when Disbursing (1)
 
MU2010008 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement (3)
 
MU2010009 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - No Priority (2)
 
MU2016001 UNDERWRITING - Updated Guidelines for ALTA Endorsement 4-06 and 4.1-06 (Condominium) and ALTA Endorsement 5-06 and 5.1-06 (Planned Unit Development)
 
MU2016006 RATES AND/OR FORMS UPDATE - ALTA Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policies - Assessments Priority (04-02-15) or Current Assessments (04-02-15); and ALTA Short Form Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policies - Assessments Priority (04-02-15) or Current Assessments (04-02-15)
 
NC2010003 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement
 
ND2010001 Mechanic's Liens/Construction Liens Coverage During Construction - Priority if No Lien or Suit Filed when Disburse
 
NJ2010005 Construction Lien Claims in New Jersey
 
NM2015002 UNDERWRITING - Insuring Construction Loans in New Mexico; New Rules Effective August 1 and August 15, 2014
 
PA2010009 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement
 
SLS00171 Importance of the Positive Pay System
 
SLS2007007 Insuring Around, Over, or Against Outstanding Enforceable Recorded Defects, Liens, and Encumbrances
 
SLS2008001 Patriot Act Requirements and the Special Alerts Database [Revised 01/18/12]
 
SLS2008015 Paying Off Line of Credit Mortgages
 
SLS2009004 Use of Starters for Title Search [Revised 3-23-09]
 
SLS2009007 Mechanic's Liens Recap
 
SLS2010026 Issuing Authority and Escrow Instructions
 
SLS2011005 Disbursement Practices: Good Funds vs. Collected Funds [Revised 04-27-12]
 
SLS2011010 Avoidance of Potential Conflicts of Interest
 
SLS2011017 Stewart Title's Forgery Watch Award Program [Revised 3-25-13, 2-12-14, 2-17-14 and 3-11-15; 3-30-16; 9-1-16; 3-21-17]
 
SLS2012001 Privacy Policy Opt Out Option
 
SLS2013003 Search Services and Limitation of Title Insurance Underwriting Agreement
 
SLS2014001 UNDERWRITING - The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) and The Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA)
 
SLS2014002 UNDERWRITING - Extrahazardous Risks
 
SLS2014006 UNDERWRITING - Insuring Title Based Upon a Judgment, Order or Decree: Appeal Period and Proper Notice
 
SLS2016001 UNDERWRITING - Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA)
 
SLS2016002 UNDERWRITING - Foreclosures Extinguishing Subordinate Mortgages or Title Held By Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FDIC, or HUD
 
SLS2016004 UNDERWRITING - Condominium/Homeowner Association Lien Foreclosures
 
TX2010008 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction
 
VA2010001 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction
 
WI2010005 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None