Bulletin: NL000055

Date:
October 24, 1996
To:
All Issuing Offices, All National Claims Counsel and All Field Customer Service Representatives
RE:
Arbitration ALTA 1987, 1990 and 1992 Policies Under $1 Million

Dear Associates:

When arbitration is expressly provided for in a title insurance policy, it is the preference of Stewart Title Guaranty Company to use this method of claims resolution versus litigating the matter, except in instances expressly approved by our General Counsel, Chief Claims Counsel, or Marietta Maxfield, Special Counsel. Please so advise all outside legal counsel before they are employed to work on any new claims, so that they preserve all our rights of arbitration. The use of arbitration is a decision which should be reached quickly after receiving a claim on a title insurance policy so that rights to arbitrate are not waived or diminished. We believe that arbitration serves the consumer well in providing a quick resolution to coverage disputes.

Unless deleted by endorsement, binding arbitration is expressly provided for as a claims resolution method in Stewart policies issued in the ALTA format since June 1, 1987. The 1992 Florida policies have modified the clause to authorize binding arbitration only by agreement of the parties after the dispute has occurred. In Texas, rules are promulgated that regulate the deletion of arbitration provisions. By its terms, the policy arbitration clause applies only to those policies in amounts under $1 million dollars, and is enforceable only in those states with statutes that allow insurer-insured disputes over policy claims to be arbitrated.

Thank you for your attention to arbitration.

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:
Arbitration
Forms:
None