In addition to possessing the customary knowledge associated with real estate transactions in your jurisdiction, all policy-issuing representatives of Stewart Title Guaranty Company ("Stewart") are obligated to have specific knowledge of, and comply with, Stewart's underwriting practices, requirements and guidelines. These include, but are not limited to, our Underwriting Manual, Bulletins and Special Alerts. These resources, together with other important information, instructional materials and commonly used forms are contained in Virtual Underwriter, available online at www.vuwriter.com. Topics of current interest and concern are linked/reviewed below.
Stewart’s bulletin process SLS2015016 seeks to provide important, relevant and topical information in a timely manner. We have addressed the agent/underwriter relationship including agent authority SLS2010026 & SLS2013003 as well as avoiding potential conflicts SLS2011010. If the amount of insurance is over an agent’s limit, guidance and forms for overlimits approvals SLS2015011 have been provided. Information and resources for compliance with Patriot Act requirements SLS2008001 and searching the Foreign Sanctions Evaders List SLS2014014 is also readily available as is the privacy Opt Out policy under Federal law SLS2012001.
In addition to search guidelines SLS2009004 and requirements for insuring over known defects or liens SLS2007007, disbursement practices have been addressed SLS2011005 as have use of a Positive Pay system SLS00171. Thinking about disbursements brings to mind the required procedures for paying off and closing equity lines SLS2008015.
Underwriting issues worth another look include recognizing extrahazardous risksSLS2014002; dealing with foreclosed mortgagors remaining in possession SLS2014010; the possibility of a gas service station right of first refusal MU2015002; agricultural commodity costs trumping a mortgage interest under PACA and PSA SLS2014001; and insuring when title is derived through a judgment, order or decree SLS2014006.
Insurance against mechanic's liens has been a significant source of claims. A good overview of the title implications SLS2009007 as well as multi-state bulletins addressing the state specific priority issues MU2010007 [DC, KY, MS, SC & VT]; MU2010008 [AL, AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, IO, KS, MN, NE, NV, OH, OK, RI, SD, TN, UT, WA, WV & WY]; and MU2010009 [AK, CO, HA, IN, MA, MO, MT, NH & OR] should be familiar to all. Since local state law controls mechanics lien rights, several Stewart state counsels have prepared state specific bulletins including Delaware DE2010002; Florida FL2010002; IllinoisIL2010005; Louisiana LA2010010; Massachusetts MA2010002; Michigan MI2010007; North Carolina NC2010003; North Dakota ND2010001; New Jersey NJ2010005; New Mexico NM2010001; Pennsylvania PA2010009; Texas TX2010008; Virginia VA2010001; and Wisconsin WI2010005.
Policy issuing representatives of Stewart are our eyes and ears when it comes to preventing fraud and we pay under our forgery and fraud prevention program SLS2011017. Some of the recent fraud schemes we have seen include identity theft involving closing documents SLS2015003; wire fraud through e-mail impersonation SLS2015005; and fraudulent releases of deeds of trust SLS2015006.
Lastly, new accuracy standards for land surveys effective February 23, 2016, have been adopted by the American Land Title Association [ALTA] SLS2015014.
See below for a complete list of the titles of the linked Bulletins referred to above. State specific Bulletins that may address some of the national topics in the linked Bulletins should also be reviewed.
As an accommodation, Stewart also distributes Bulletins and Special Alerts electronically. You are encouraged to sign up for electronic distribution of Bulletins and Special Alerts by contacting the Bulletin Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also promptly forward any changes regarding your email address. Please ensure that emails from Stewart are not blocked or misdirected to your spam folder. Please add (email@example.com) to your Address Book and Safe Senders List.
As a reminder, you are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with the information contained in all Bulletins and Special Alerts as posted on Virtual Underwriter (www.vuwriter.com), whether you receive them by electronic distribution or not.
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.