Bulletin: NC2020003

Date:
March 20, 2020
To:
All North Carolina Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Supplement to Bulletin SLS2020002 Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) Update

Dear Associates:

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.

Please review the National Bulletin in its entirety, and please note that the following ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES apply to North Carolina transactions:

The above referenced national bulletin as it applies to North Carolina is hereby supplemented as follows, in order to issue a policy that meets the above guidelines, North Carolina agents/approved attorneys should utilize the following:

In order to insure, if recording is available by any means including electronic or by mail, then the means of recording that is available must be utilized so as to get the documents to be insured on record as soon as possible.

In order to insure for any county that is closed, searches must be brought forward to the most recent date available through the ROD, clerk of court, NCDOR, assessor, etc., online databases.

For water/sewer bills and homeowner’s association dues (individually or collectively “Utility Bills”), in addition to requesting amounts due/payoffs from the local municipality or association an affidavit and indemnity should be obtained from the Seller/Owner at closing confirming fully paid. If a request for a Utility Bill has been made and is not received, you can insure without exception as to the Utility Bills if you have evidence that the Utility Bills are fully paid to a date within 60 days of closing in conjunction with an affidavit and indemnity agreement from the Seller/Owner that Utility Bills are paid current.

Final title opinions on which title policy is based should reflect the date and time documents have been submitted for recording if recording is available by any means in that particular county but deed book and page is not yet available. If recording is not available in a particular county, final title opinions should reflect that all documents needed to insure are being held in escrow and will be submitted for recording with 48 hours of Register of Deeds being open for recording by any means in that particular county.

Reminder, that while the company guidelines do allow issuance of title policies prior to recording under limited circumstances as set forth in the national bulletin referenced herein as supplemented by this bulletin, agents and approved attorneys are reminded of their obligations to comply with the Good Funds Settlement Act (NCGS 45A-4) which among other things indicates that: “settlement agent may not disburse any other funds from its trust or escrow account until the deeds, deeds of trust, and other required loan documents have been recorded in the office of the register of deeds”, which is a separate requirement imposed on settlement agents under state law above and beyond what is required for title insurance purposes.

Future changes in the status of recording offices will be available by clicking here.

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