Bulletin: WA2016003

Date:
July 25, 2016
To:
All Washington Issuing Offices
RE:
RATES AND/OR FORMS UPDATE - New Washington rates

Dear Associates:

As you are undoubtedly aware, all Washington title insurers were required to refile their rates this year. Those rates, which needed actuarial justification, are effective July 1, 2016. Stewart used the opportunity to synthesize the numerous rates in Washington into one rate manual. The following summarizes Stewart’s new rate manual:

1)  The new manual uses the most recent Washington filing (King County et al, September, 2015) for a template and adds exhibits with the applicable rates for each county.  All rates have been increased five percent, except Spokane County.  

2)  The Simultaneous Issue loan policy discounts have been eliminated. The old SI Extended Loan rate, (plus five percent), replaces the old Extended coverage rate. The Standard Coverage Loan rate is calculated as the extended Coverage rate divided by 1.1.

3)  The following rate reductions are eliminated:

a.  Assignment of Seller’s interest in contract

b.  Renewal insurance

c.  Electronically ordered policies

d.  Resale title and escrow orders 

4)  The state was split almost evenly with counties having a Prior Policy discount or a Short Term rate discount. The manual continues the applicable discount for each county.

5)  There were five different Builder Discounts in the old manuals. Several of those discounts have sub-differences between the counties. It was impossible to synthesize those five discounts into one, so they have been continued, each relating to the applicable counties. The sub differences are maintained in each discount. The result is that each current discount has been continued.

6)  The “Special Risk rate” for Special exceptions has been eliminated.

7)  The minimum charges in Rule 1.4 were eliminated.

8)  The charge for services not scheduled in former manual rule 1.5 was eliminated.

9)  The cancellation fee (former rule 1.6) was eliminated.

10)  The Master Residential Loan Policy (former rule 2.9) was eliminated.

11)  The following statement in former rule 3.1 was eliminated – “The potential insured shall also pay any additional investigative costs incurred by the Company or third parties to confirm all necessary and proper foreclosure procedures were followed”.

12)  The paragraph regarding community property and reducing the surcharge by perceived risk has been deleted from former rule 3.3, page 13. The following sentence was added to clarify that the surcharge does not apply to community property or joint tenancy transactions where one of the parties has died:

This section shall not apply in the event the property was held as community property or joint tenants and one of the persons in title died without a probate of their estate. 

13)  Previous Rule 3.4 of the residential manual has been deleted.

14)  Previous Rule 4.2.1 has been revised to include a flat $100 fee for additional continuation endorsements rather than a fee “commensurate with the work required”. The same has been added for 4.2.2, and 4.2.3. In addition, 4.4 Chain of Title Report has been modified to a flat $150 fee and 4.6 Ownership and Encumbrance and Judgment Report has been modified to a flat $250 fee.

15)  All minimum fees have been reduced to below $400 in the residential manual and the endorsement manual.  

16)  Previous Rules 5.1 Charitable or Non-Profit Entities, 5.2 Governmental Entities, of the residential manual have been deleted.

17)  Previous rule 5.3 (Bridge Loan) has been eliminated.

18)  The Endorsement Rate Manual has been revised to include specific rates for all endorsements.

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:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None