Bulletin: SLS2016003

Date:
June 16, 2016
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
GENERAL - 2016 Reminder Bulletin

Dear Associates:

In addition to possessing the customary knowledge associated with real estate transactions in your jurisdiction, all policy-issuing representatives of Stewart Title Guaranty Company ("Stewart") are obligated 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. Topics of current interest and concern are linked/reviewed below.

Stewart’s bulletin process SLS2015016 seeks to provide important, relevant and topical information in a timely manner. We have addressed the agent/underwriter relationship including agent authority SLS2010026 & SLS2013003 as well as avoiding potential conflicts SLS2011010. If the amount of insurance is over an agent’s limit, guidance and forms for overlimits approvals SLS2015011 have been provided. Information and resources for compliance with Patriot Act requirements SLS2008001 and searching the Foreign Sanctions Evaders List SLS2014014 is also readily available as is the privacy Opt Out policy under Federal law SLS2012001.

In addition to search guidelines SLS2009004 and requirements for insuring over known defects or liens SLS2007007, disbursement practices have been addressed SLS2011005 as have use of a Positive Pay system SLS00171. Thinking about disbursements brings to mind the required procedures for paying off and closing equity lines SLS2008015

Underwriting issues worth another look include recognizing extrahazardous risksSLS2014002; dealing with foreclosed mortgagors remaining in possession SLS2014010; the possibility of a gas service station right of first refusal MU2015002; agricultural commodity costs trumping a mortgage interest under PACA and PSA SLS2014001; and insuring when title is derived through a judgment, order or decree SLS2014006.   

Insurance against mechanic's liens has been a significant source of claims.  A good overview of the title implications SLS2009007 as well as multi-state bulletins addressing the state specific priority issues MU2010007 [DC, KY, MS, SC & VT]; MU2010008 [AL, AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, IO, KS, MN, NE, NV, OH, OK, RI, SD, TN, UT, WA, WV & WY]; and MU2010009 [AK, CO, HA, IN, MA, MO, MT, NH & OR] should be familiar to all.  Since local state law controls mechanics lien rights, several Stewart state counsels have prepared state specific bulletins including Delaware DE2010002; Florida FL2010002; IllinoisIL2010005; Louisiana LA2010010;  Massachusetts MA2010002; Michigan MI2010007; North Carolina NC2010003; North Dakota ND2010001; New Jersey NJ2010005; New Mexico NM2010001; Pennsylvania PA2010009; Texas TX2010008; Virginia VA2010001; and Wisconsin WI2010005.

Policy issuing representatives of Stewart are our eyes and ears when it comes to preventing fraud and we pay under our forgery and fraud prevention program SLS2011017. Some of the recent fraud schemes we have seen include identity theft involving closing documents SLS2015003; wire fraud through e-mail impersonation SLS2015005; and fraudulent releases of deeds of trust SLS2015006.  

Lastly, new accuracy standards for land surveys effective February 23, 2016, have been adopted by the American Land Title Association [ALTA] SLS2015014.

See below for a complete list of the titles of the linked Bulletins referred to above. State specific Bulletins that may address some of the national topics in the linked Bulletins should also be reviewed.

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:
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)
 
MU2015002 UNDERWRITING - Service Station Right of First Refusal
 
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
 
NM2010001 Mechanic's Liens Coverage During Construction - Initial Priority if No Commencement
 
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
 
SLS2014010 UNDERWRITING - Insuring Post-Foreclosure Transactions Where Property Is Occupied By Foreclosed Mortgagor/Related Parties
 
SLS2014014 GENERAL - Foreign Sanctions Evaders List [Revised 02-27-15]
 
SLS2015003 CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Identity Theft Scheme Involving Closing Documents
 
SLS2015005 CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Email Impersonation Wire Fraud Scheme
 
SLS2015006 CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Fraudulent Releases of Deeds of Trust
 
SLS2015011 UNDERWRITING - Overlimits Request Form and Related Documentation
 
SLS2015014 GENERAL- ALTA Accuracy Standards for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys [Revised 01-08-16]
 
SLS2015016 GENERAL - The Bulletin Process
 
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