Bulletin: RI2020003

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Bulletin: RI2020003

Bulletin Document
V 1
Date: April 08, 2020
To: All Rhode Island Issuing Offices
RE: UNDERWRITING - Remote Notarizations for the State of Rhode Island

Dear Associates:

On April 3, 2020, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo, in collaboration with Rhode Island’s Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, amended and restated Executive Order 09-25 temporarily authorizing the performance of notarial services using certain audio/visual means to facilitate the social distancing necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The amended Standards of Conduct for Notaries Public in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations can be viewed here

The Secretary of State has notified notaries of the change by letter dated, April 3, 2020, which can be viewed here. Guidance for the temporary authorization has also been issued and provides the necessary information for a notary to comply with the amended Standards of Conduct. The guidance document called Rhode Island Remote Online Notarization Temporary Performance Guide can be viewed here

Stewart is committed to our partners and providing solutions to allow agents to continue closing and insuring transactions. Given the uncertainty of how COVID-19 may impact real estate transactions, and in the interest of providing our Issuing Offices the tools necessary to provide service to their customers, we are implementing the following procedures, outlined below, which are effective April 3, 2020, for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to Executive Order 20-20 (unless extended or otherwise modified).

I. TECHNOLOGY

In order to perform a remote notarial act authorized by the amended Standards of Conduct, the notary must use an approved solution provider. The following two vendors are currently approved by the Secretary of State:

The Secretary of State continues to review vendors for inclusion on their approved list. As vendors are approved as a solution providers they will be added to the Secretary of State’s website: https://www.sos.ri.gov/divisions/notary-public/remote-online-notarization


The notary must record the notarization process using the approved solution and the recording must be kept by the notary for ten (10) years.

II. CONDITIONS FOR NOTARIES PRIOR TO PERFORMING A REMOTE NOTARIZATION

Before performing a Remote Notarization, the notary must:

  1. Be or become a commissioned notary public registered with the RI Department of State;
  2. Read the updated amended Standards of Conduct;
  3. Contact one of the approved solution providers listed on the Secretary of State’s website and obtain their services for remote online notarizations;
  4. Complete the training provided by the selected solution provider;
  5. Register with the RI Department of State/Business Services/Notary Division to perform Remote Online Notarizations by completing and submitting the pertinent new notary application/renewal or information update form with all required information; and,
  6. Await email confirmation from the RI Department of State that the notary is registered as a remote notary.

III. CONDITIONS FOR THE REMOTE NOTARIAL PROCESS

This process can be used when the signer and the notary are not in each other’s physical presence. The signer and notary public must be able to communicate simultaneously through video and audio using the approved solution provider at the time the document is notarized. This will require both the signer and notary have internet connectivity. The notary must follow the procedure as set forth in the Temporary Performance Guide issued by the Secretary of State and comply with the amended Standard of Conduct.

IV. ADDITIONAL UNDERWRITING REQUIREMENTS:

  1. The policy amount does not exceed $1,000,000.00. For liabilities above this amount, underwriting approval must be obtained;
  2. Parties, including lender, must authorize in writing the remote notary process. Click here for a sample STG Consent form;
  3. The issuing agent and/or approved attorney must confirm that the municipal office will record documents notarized using the remote notarization process; and
  4. The issuing agent and/or approved attorney must receive from the notary evidence that he/she is registered and authorized by the RI Secretary of State to perform a remote notarization

If you have any questions relating to whether the circumstances of your particular transaction would be insurable in compliance with this guideline, please contact Shannon Coleman at scoleman@stewart.com or Paula Cuculo at paula.cuculo@stewart.com.

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.

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:
Underwriting Manual:
  • None
Exceptions Manual:
  • None
Forms:
  • None