Bulletin: SLS2020007

Date:
April 17, 2020
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)

Dear Associates:

This Bulletin revises and replaces Bulletin SA2020002 and withdraws Bulletin SA2020005.

Numerous county and other recording offices have closed or will close because of the impact of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). In some cases, electronic recording may remain available.

Stewart will issue policies if you are able to do customary searches of the title (including real estate taxes) and you are able to record the recordable documents. If electronic filings are the only means of recording in the county or other recording office, you must record electronically.

If you are unable to secure current searches of the title and if you do not have satisfactory title information, Stewart will not insure the title. If you have questions concerning the adequacy of the search, please review your state bulletins or call a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

If you have satisfactory title information, but you are unable to record the recordable documents (including any mortgage and deed) because the county or other recording office is closed and is not accepting electronic filings, Stewart will insure the title if these conditions are met:

  • The policy will not exceed $3 million;
  • You secure Stewart’s customary title affidavit or a similar affidavit from the current owner; 
  • The title examination does not show that the seller, purchaser or borrower is subject to any outstanding involuntary or statutory liens (such as judgment liens, tax liens, or mechanic's liens) or lawsuits;
  • The insured mortgage is not a construction mortgage and there has been no recent construction; and
  • You determine that the closing instructions of the proposed insured lender and purchaser provide, or as clarified, acknowledge that recording and the return of the original deed and mortgage will be delayed until the county or other recording office is open.

These conditions should not be shown as requirements on the Commitment or as exceptions in a policy.

If your transaction will not comply with these guidelines or if you have any questions, please call a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

Click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions that may provide additional guidance.

Supplemental national and state bulletins have been and will be issued as necessary to further assist you.

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:
SLS2020002 UNDERWRITING - Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) Update
 
SLS2020005 UNDERWRITING - COVID-19 Update re: Commitments and Preliminary Reports
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
STG Title Affidavit