We are pleased to announce that in an effort to improve efficiency for our agents, Stewart has developed and is now instituting the Streamlined Search and Examination Procedure (SSE) described in this Bulletin which may be used when issuing Stewart's insurance products on Michigan land. The new SSE procedures will be instituted in Stewart's title plants unless you request otherwise when placing an order. You are not required to adopt the SSE procedures and may continue your own internal practice.
SSE may be used when searching and examining residential or commercial property that are lots or acreage of less then 5 acres and the policy to be issued will not exceed $5,000,000.00. If your transaction does not fall within theses parameters please contact a Stewart Underwriting Counsel to discuss approval to use SSE.
GUIDELINES APPLICABLE TO THE SSE PROCEDURE
SSE procedure may be used when the property in question is:
- improved residential lot or acreage parcel under 5 acres;
- improved commercial lot or acreage parcel under 5 acres;
- subject to a policy Amount not to exceed $5,000,000;
- or, you have obtained Stewart underwriting approval.
You have a Prior Policy:
If you have a prior policy of Stewart Title or other title insurance company you may rely on that policy as a starter unless you have reason to believe that the quality of such policy is suspect. You will not need to search behind the starter and may rely upon it to have identified all of the exceptions you will need to include in your commitment and policy for exception to title interests established before the starter's policy date. In the event your starter policy is a loan policy insuring a refinance mortgage your search and examination must include a search to determine if there are any prior mortgages made by the vested owner disclosed in the starter policy that were not discharged of record.
If your starter policy was a short form or "no-type "policy, it will most likely include generic exceptions to easements and restrictions of record. In the event your transaction requires you to disclose specific exceptions to all recorded easements and restrictions, a limited title search for these items will be necessary.
You will need to search and examine the vesting deed and the insured mortgage disclosed by the starter policy and all documents relating to the title that were recorded after the date of the starter policy. A general index search and examination is required with respect to all parties who were in title since the date of the above discussed vesting deed.
You do not have a prior policy:
In the event you do not have a starter policy, your title search and examination for current ownership and encumbrances may start with the last recorded deed that is accompanied by an institutional purchase money mortgage which have been of record not less than five years. Institutional purchase money mortgage means a mortgage to a bank, savings bank, savings & loan or a mortgage banker or broker that sells to or originates loans for secondary market investors that invest in loans secured by first mortgages.
In addition, it will be necessary to search back beyond the date you start your search for ownership to determine if there are any recorded easements or restrictions that affect the property. Remember, easements which are in use and restrictions are not affected by affected by the forty year marketable title act. Therefore, if the land to be insured is not a lot in a recorded subdivision or a condominium units, a search of the complete title history will be need to insure that all easements and restriction are disclosed as exception. In some cases Stewart may be in a position to wave the requirement to search beyond 40 years for easements and restriction. You may contact Stewart Underwriting Counsel to obtain a waiver. If the land to be insured is a platted subdivision lot or a condominium unit a search back to the recording of the plat or condominium master deed is sufficient. You will not need to do a special search for easements and restrictions if the party to be insured will accept a commitment and policy which include an exception to easements and restrictions of record, a search for old easements and restrictions will not be necessary.
A general index search must be done against all parties that have owned the land as disclosed by the chain of title.
Exhibit A: _______________
Exhibit B: _______________