Bulletin: FL2020001

Date:
March 18, 2020
To:
All Florida Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Florida Supplemental COVID-19 Bulletin

Dear Associates:

As the State of Florida seeks to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus many government offices are limiting physical access to the public. Although no clerk’s offices have closed at this time and all are currently accepting documents for recording and registration, this situation may change. Stewart Title Guaranty Company (“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 the recording and indexing of documents, Stewart has issued a National Bulletin that provides guidelines for insuring transactions.

 

For transactions which fall outside one or more of the conditions listed in the National Bulletin, please contact a Florida underwriter for approval prior to issuing policies.

 

Please note that the following ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES apply to Florida transactions:

As to “municipal lien searches” or “utility searches”, if those searches are unable to be obtained due to county office closures, Stewart  will permit deletion of the Chapter 159 exception provided the Seller attests in the Title Affidavit there are no outstanding water, sewer or gas charges against the property together with evidence (i.e. a recent utility bill) that there are no delinquencies.

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

Below are links to relevant websites containing additional information:

Supreme Court Information link and Administrative order: https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Education-Outreach/Court-News#quarantine

https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/content/download/631744/7178881/AOSC20-13.pdf

Joint Memo from the Office of the State Courts Administrator/ Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers/ Clerks of Court Operations Corporation:
https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Jury-Trial-Suspension-Release-031320.pdf

Broward County Courts closed: see http://www.17th.flcourts.org/

Miami -Dade Courts Closed through March 27, 2020:
https://www.jud11.flcourts.org/Court-announcements/ArtMID/584/ArticleID/3440/COVID-19-Advisory-6-All-Courthouse-Facilities-Closed-March-17-27-Except-for-Mission-Critical-Court-Matters

As a reminder, you are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with the information contained in all Bulletins and Special Alerts as posted on Virtual Underwriter (www.vuwriter.com), whether you receive them by electronic distribution or not.

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:
SLS2020002 UNDERWRITING - Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) Update
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
STG Gap Indemnity Agreement