Bulletin: VT2019001

Date:
March 13, 2019
To:
All Vermont Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarization

Dear Associates:

In 2018, Vermont passed legislation (Act 160, H.526) that provides the statutory framework required to permit remote online notarizations (hereafter, RONs) in Vermont. The effective date of the legislation is July 1, 2019, however, the law specifically prohibits the use of RONs until the Vermont Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards for practice in this area.

The Vermont Secretary of State is engaged in the rule-making process, but there is no information available as to when that process will be completed. Accordingly, at this time, RONs are not permitted for use in Vermont transactions. This Bulletin will be updated once the rules have been adopted and further guidance is provided.

The relevant portions of the enabling legislation are as follows:

26 V.S.A. §5323. RULES.

(a) The Office, with the advice of the advisor appointees, may adopt rules to implement this chapter. The rules may:  …(6) prescribe standards for remote online notarization, including standards for credential analysis, the process through which a third person affirms the identity of an individual, the methods for communicating through a secure communication link, the means by which the remote notarization is certified, and the form of notice to be appended disclosing the fact that the notarization was completed remotely on any document acknowledged through remote online notarization.

(b) Rules adopted regarding the performance of notarial acts with respect to electronic records and remote online notarization may not require, or accord greater legal status or effect to, the implementation or application of a specific technology or technical specification.  In adopting, amending, or repealing rules regarding notarial acts with respect to electronic records and remote online notarization, the Office shall consider, as far as is consistent with this chapter: (1) the most recent standards regarding electronic record and remote online notarization promulgated by national bodies, such as the National Association for Secretaries of State; (2) standards, practices, and customs of other jurisdictions that substantially enact this chapter; and (3) the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.

(c) Neither electronic notarization nor remote online notarization shall be allowed until the Secretary of State has adopted standards in these areas.

A full text of ACT 160 can be viewed at https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT160/ACT160%20As%20Enacted.pd

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