Bulletin: FL000028

Date:
June 01, 1993
To:
All Florida Stewart Offices
RE:
Cost of Title Evidence

Dear Associates:

In the past, it has been a too common practice for some Title Agents to discount the cost of title evidence and routinely offer title evidence for a price far below its cost, as well as selling title insurance at the promulgated rate. There are two new developments with regard to this.

First, there is indication that the Fraud Division of the Department of Insurance may more effectively enforce the present regulation. It is expected that the regulation may well be modified to delete the reference to fair market value. With this the case, it would no longer be permitted to sell for less than cost. The department has asked for input from the Florida Land Title Association concerning the various elements that go into costs, so that there can be a determination made to determine whether the charge made actually reflects and meets the costs incurred.

Second, the new RESPA regulations attempt to correlate the cost of all title services with the amount being paid. It would appear to be a violation of RESPA to charge less than the actual cost to produce title evidence. To do so, would possibly be an illegal rebate to the party receiving that title evidence.

If you are aware of any violations in your market area, you are encouraged to document the violation and provide documentation to either the undersigned or to Chuck Birmingham. If it seems that we can substantiate a violation, we will take it up directly with the Department of Insurance and/or RESPA on your behalf.

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:
17.04 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None