Bulletin: SLS2020005

Date:
March 26, 2020
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - COVID-19 Update re: Commitments and Preliminary Reports

Dear Associates:

The closure of a recording office due to the Coronavirus Pandemic may affect the ability to perform searches and/or record the recordable transaction documents. 

In our prior Bulletin SLS2020002, we required the following to be included in all commitments and preliminary reports issued on and after March 16, 2020:

The Company reserves the right to raise exceptions and requirements or determine that it will not issue a title policy based upon the details of the transaction, the review of the closing documents, and changes in recording and title searching capabilities resulting from the COVID-19 virus. 

The above language was designed to account for the possibility that a recording office might close between the date of issuance of the commitment or preliminary report and the closing. The above language was required to be added only to commitments and preliminary reports  It was not intended to appear on any title insurance policy or to diminish or affect the coverage under any policy.  

Please note the following, as of today:

1. You are not required to insert the above language in commitments or preliminary reports. 

2. If you are able to close because the Requirements and our Guidelines have been satisfied, please require the following:

A. Coronavirus Acknowledgment. Attached is a document acknowledging the potential delay in recording due to recording office closures. Please have this signed by all insureds at or prior to closing, in all situations where you may not be able to record the recordable documents, i.e., where eRecording is unavailable and the recording office is closed or may close. It doesn’t need to be acknowledged. You may accept an emailed version of the text in an email from a representative of an Institutional Lender. Please deliver a copy to the new owner/buyer, lender and seller, if any.

B. Gap Indemnity Agreement. Please also obtain a Gap Indemnity from the seller in a sale transaction and the borrower in a refinance transaction.

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 Coronavirus Acknowledgment
 
STG Gap Indemnity Agreement