Bulletin: PA2018001

Date:
January 18, 2018
To:
All Pennsylvania Issuing Offices
RE:
RATES AND/OR FORMS UPDATE - Use of New ALTA 2016 Commitment Form

Dear Associates:

The new ALTA Commitment for Title Insurance dated 08-01-16 is now available for use in Pennsylvania. The new ALTA Commitment updates and consolidates the ALTA Commitment Form (6-17-06) and the ALTA Plain Language Commitment Form (6-17-06). 

The ALTA Commitment contains the following notable changes and features:

- adds a Notice at the top of the Commitment reiterating that the Commitment is an offer to issue a title insurance policy or policies, and is not an abstract or opinion of title, and limits the Company's potential liability to the proposed insured;

- clarifies the Company's right to amend the Commitment at any time and the limitations on the Company's liability relating to an amendment (Commitment Conditions 4 and 5);

- improves readability by adding and revising headings and reordering certain Commitment Conditions;

- adds certain definitions consistent with the ALTA Owner's Policy 2006 and the ALTA Loan Policy 2006 (Commitment Conditions 1);

- clarifies that the deletion or modification of any Schedule B, Part II - Exception does not constitute an agreement or obligation to provide coverage for that item (Commitment Conditions 6(d));

- adds a new section reiterating that an issuing agent is the Company's agent only for the limited purpose of issuing title insurance commitments and policies. Also states that the issuing agent is not the Company's agent for the purpose of providing closing or settlement services (Commitment Conditions 7);

- adds a new section reiterating that, if a proforma policy is provided to a proposed insured, it does not reflect the current status of title and does not constitute a commitment to insure (Commitment Conditions 8);

- adds an optional section preceding Schedule A to insert Transaction Identification Data (Issuing Agent, Issuing Office, ALTA Universal ID, Loan ID Number, Commitment Number, Issuing Office File Number, Property Address, Revision Number), all for reference only. Liability for this data is also limited by Commitment Condition 5(e);

- adds a notice to Schedule B, Part II - Exceptions stating that the Commitment does not republish any covenant, condition, restriction, or limitation contained in any document to the extent that the covenant, condition, restriction, or limitation violates state or federal law based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial status, or national origin; and

- adds an introductory clause to Schedule B, Part II - Exceptions stating that the Policy will not insure against loss or damage resulting from the terms and provisions of any lease or easement identified in Schedule A.

The following guidelines should be utilized when using the 2016 ALTA Commitment form:

As to SCHEDULE A:

  1. The Commitment Date on Schedule A is the effective date of the commitment. The commitment should reflect all matters of record as of the effective commitment date; 
     
  2. “Policy to be issued” should list the policies to be issued, the Proposed Insureds and the Proposed Policy Amounts. Make your best effort to include the proposed policy amount by specified dollar amount. The Proposed Insured should be identified. If that information is not included on Schedule A, the Commitment is not effective. You should not state “to be determined” or similar language. If you cannot obtain an amount, insert “$1,000.00.”
     
  3. The estate or interest in the Land should be identified as fee, leasehold, etc.;
     
  4. Title to the ___ {identified} _______estate or interest in the Land at the Commitment Date vested in must be completed and must reflect the vesting as of the Commitment Date. You should not vest other than as the vesting of record at the Commitment Date; and
     
  5. The Land is described as follows: must reflect the description of the land to be insured. This must be a legal description. 

As to SCHEDULE B:  

  1. Several of the standard requirements in Schedule B Part I have been modified slightly as has the Gap exception in Schedule B Part II; and
     
  2. Otherwise, continue to add the proper requirements and exceptions to Schedule B Parts I and II as you have in the past. 

Please begin using the new form of commitment as soon as your software vendor has updated your system to include this form of commitment. 

As a reminder, other forms should not be used if a comparable ALTA version is available. If a comparable ALTA version is available, the most current version of the ALTA form available in each state should be used, unless approved by a Stewart underwriter. 

Agents please contact PropertyInfo Customer Care or your title production software vendor to get the new rates/forms changes implemented in your system. 

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