- February 10, 1997
- All Maryland Policy Issuing Agents
- Licensing Requirements for Attorneys
This is a reminder that effective January 1, 1996, Article 48-A, Section 167 of the Annotated Code of Maryland required that attorneys, who are admitted to the Maryland Bar and act in the capacity of a policy issuing agent for a title insurer, must be registered with the Maryland Insurance Administration and hold an appointment with all title insurers for whom they act as an agent. This requirement did not extend to testing, the accumulation of continuing education credit hours or the posting of a surety bond (unless the attorney is doing business as a title company). However, the regulations do require attorneys to complete an application and provide evidence of good standing from the Court of Appeals to the Maryland Insurance Administration.
It has recently come to our attention that there may still exist some confusion regarding this requirement. The Maryland Insurance Administration is taking the position that any policy issuing agent who has not obtained a license from the Insurance Administration, as well as having the subsequent appointment form filed, and solicits, procures or negotiates title insurance policies for compensation will be considered in violation of Article 48-A, Section 167 and may be subject to the penalty provisions of that Article.
The penalties imposed by the aforesaid Section 167 allow for fines of $500 per violation and/or imprisonment for up to six (6) months. In connection with a recent ruling by the Maryland Insurance Administration against Barrister Title Services (see Maryland Insurance Administration Case 377-12/95), that agency was fined $25,000 for failure to renew its Certificate of Qualification from July 1, 1993 to July 28, 1995. This case has been appealed to the Circuit Court.
Note:Please copy this Bulletin and review it with your staff. Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please contact our office at 410/547-9100.
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.