Bulletin: NY000439

Date:
April 16, 2010
To:
All New York State Office Counsel, Managers and Agents
RE:
Title Insurance Rate Service Association, Inc. Data Call
The Title Insurance Rate Service Association as advised Stewart Title Insurance Company that the New York State Insurance Department (NYSID) has required all title insurance underwriters operating in New York to collect income and expense data for 2009 from their independent agents and Examining Counsel.  The Information is due by May 1, 2010.  The NYSID had directed that the information contained in the Schedule U-4, a copy of which is attached, be collected from independent Agents and Examining Counsel for the period of January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. If you represent multiple underwriters you will receive a similar request for data from your other underwriters and will be required to complete the U-4 for each underwriter.   At Stewart, we wish to alert you to the data the NYSID is requesting from you to allow you to gather the data within the time frames set forth by the NYSID. Stewart has created https://nydatacall.com.  This web site will be operation shortly and you will receive follow up instructions for its use.  This web site will afford you a secure, confidential and efficient method to provide the requested data to TIRSA/NYSID.  The secure web site will mirror the NYSID request for data in U-4.  All individual office information will he kept strictly confidential and only the aggregate of all lines on the U-4 will be reported to TIRSA for their report to the NYSID.   The data covers only New York operations. We understand that offices may not keep track of all their expenses by individual state. If you have expenses that support operations in multiple states, allocate a portion of these expenses to New York by multiplying the total expense by the ratio of total New York revenue to total revenue in all states in which you operate. The data covers only title insurance operations. We understand that offices may not maintain separate accounting for their title insurance operation. If you have direct or allocated New York expenses that support both title insurance operations and other operations, allocate a portion of your New York expenses to New York title insurance operations by multiplying the expense by the ratio of retained New York title insurance premium to total New York revenues for your operations. The data needs to be complete and the information returned to Stewart by May 5, 2010  We understand that your offices may represent several underwriters and may not keep track of their expenses by individual underwriter, except for the amount of premium remitted. You are to distribute all expenses allocated to New York among your underwriters in proportion to the dollars of premium you retain. You are to report premium remitted as actually remitted to each underwriter. The data requested in the U-4 schedule is as follows: INCOME SECTION Line 1 - Policy Charges - Report premiums from policies priced under manual rates excluding endorsement premiums. Line 2 - Endorsements - Report all endorsement premiums Line 3 - Special Charges - Include charges for  Special Risks - Affirmative Coverage Affirmative Covenant Insurance - Existing Construction Construction Loan Continuation Searches beyond 5 Commercial Contract Vendee Continuation Searches beyond 5 Option Insurance Continuation Searches Mortgage Foreclosure Guarantees Recorded Document Certificates with Open Order Recorded Document Certificates with No Open Order Line 4 - Gross Title Insurance Charges - Sum of Lines 1, 2 and 3 Line 5 - Amount Remitted to Underwriter - Report the amount of premium remitted to the underwriter covered by this report. If you write for more than one underwriter, do not report the total remitted to all underwriters. The total must be broken down so that the amount remitted to each underwriter is reported only on the report for that underwriter. Line 6 - Retained Title Insurance Charges - Line 4 less Line 5 EXPENSE SECTION New York expenses must be distributed between two general categories: 1) title order processing; and 2) general administration. Title Order Processing includes order entry, searching, abstract production or updating (where applicable), title examination, commitment or certificate prepara­tion, continuations, policy typing, attendance at closin­gs, and related activities. General Administration includes sales and marketing, per­sonnel administration, accounting and data processing, and other overhead activities. We understand that some agents do not keep track of all their expenses according to these categories. If you do not maintain separate accounting for these categories, we ask that you allocate expenses between these categories using your best professional judgment. Line 9 - Salaries - Include: Salaries of both full-time and part-time personnel. Compensation paid on an hourly basis Bonuses Sales Commissions Partnership draws (if organized as a partnership) Line 10 - Employee Benefits include group insurance (life, health, dental, disability, etc.), company contributions to profit-sharing plans, company contributions to 401(k) plans, etc. Line 11 - Payroll Taxes include city, state and Federal levies on payroll (including company portion of Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, etc.) Line 12 - Rent and Rent Items include rental of main office, branch offices, and other offices; non-rental payments under net leases (utilities, taxes, etc.);           maintenance expenses (janitorial supplies and services, repairs, etc.), etc. Line 13 - Real Estate Expenses include expenses for real estate your agency owns, such as janitorial services, real property insurance, interest on mortgage loans, etc. Line 14 - Real Estate Taxes includes real estate taxes for real estate your agency owns Line 15 - Taxes, Licenses, and Fees includes non-real-estate-related and non-payroll taxes EXCLUDING state and Federal income taxes Line 16 - Advertising includes advertising space purchased in Yellow Pages, advertising spots purchased on radio and television, billboards, advertising space purchased in trade or popular newspapers and magazines, etc. Line 17 - Marketing and Promotional Expenses include the cost of pens, pads, calendars, and similar materials distributed to customers; costs for providing training seminars; event sponsorships; costs of maintaining a website; costs of telemarketers; cost of newsletters and other marketing materials distributed to customers; etc. Line 18 - Title Plant Maintenance and Rental includes the costs of maintenance of any daily takeoff title or abstract plant and/or back title plant; cost of purchasing copies of the public record; cost of access lines to public offices including registry of deeds, tax assessor, courts, etc.; and payments for the right to access another company’s title or abstract plant, back title files, and copies of the public record. Line 19 - Travel includes cost of tickets for public transportation, including trains and airlines; cost of automobile lease or rental; depreciation of owned automobiles;cost of hotels and meals; etc. Line 20 - Printing and Office Supplies excludes item reported on Line 19. Line 21 - Postage, Telephone and Freight includes cost of stamps, local and long-distance telephone service, leased dedicated telephone lines (such as T1 or T3 lines), internet services, Federal Express, UPS, etc. Line 22 - Equipment Depreciation and Rental (Non-EDP) includes rental or depreciation charges for furniture, copiers, fax machines, telecommunications equipment, and other non-computer office equipment; Line 23 - Cost or Depreciation of EDP Equipment and Software includes cost of leasing or depreciation charges on computer equipment including laptops, desktops, servers, network attached storage, etc.; cost of purchased software; cost of software licensing and upgrade agreements; etc. Line 24 - Errors and Omissions Insurance Line 25 - Other Insurance includes property insurance (excluding amounts reported on Line 14), liability insurance, fidelity and surety bonds, etc. Line 26 - Director’s Fees, including expense allowances for travel to Board meetings. Line 27 - Boards and Associations includes dues paid by your agency for itself or for its employees to trade and professional associations (e.g., American Land Title Association, New York State Land Title Association, Chamber of Commerce, bar associations, etc.); fees to attend professional and trade association meetings; etc. Line 28 - Legal and Auditing includes fees paid to outside accounting firms and law firms Line 29 - Bad Debts includes amounts originally booked as income that were written off as uncollectable Line 30 - Interest includes interest paid to banks and/or suppliers. It excludes mortgage interest reported on Line 15 Line 31 - Other includes all expenses not reported on Lines 11 to 32 Line 32 - Total Expenses is the sum of Lines 7 to 31 Line 33 - Net is Line 6 less Line 32 Line 34 - Number of Employees is the number of full-time equivalent personnel (i.e., report two half-time employees as one full-time equivalent employee) The NYSID as also required that Stewart report to the NYSID names of offices that have provided the data.  We know that this data call may be difficult for each office to accomplish and we stand ready to assist you.  We appreciate your best efforts to assist in the full compliance with the NYSID directive.   Attached is a sample of the U-4 schedule.  More information and the web site will be forthcoming.  Please do not hesitate to contact company counsel with any questions you might have. 

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