Chapter 2007-44, Laws of Florida went into effect today. The changes to Florida’s title insurance laws will create a few adjustments to the way title charges are presented on closing statements. The law also repeals the prohibition on the rebate or lowering of the agent’s share of the title insurance premium and will allow title agents to charge less than actual cost for closing services, though agents are not required to engage in such negotiation.
§627.7711, Florida Statutes, provides definitions related to title insurance contracts. The law amends the definitions of “related title services” and “primary title services.”
- “Related title services” are renamed “closing services” and “preparing or obtaining a title search” is removed from the list of services. Closing services will not be considered part of the title insurance premium. Closing services can be rebated or lowered by the title agent.
- “Primary title services” is amended to mean conducting a title search or other search to obtain information necessary to determine insurability and also is amended to state that such services do not include closing services, for which a separate charge is or separate charges are made.
- “Title search” is defined to mean the compiling of title information from official or public records. The definition of “premium” is not amended. The definition continues to mean the charge that is made by a title insurer for a title insurance policy, including the charge for performance of primary title services by a title insurer or title insurance agent or agency, and incurring the risks incident to such policy “premium” does not “include a commission”.
§626.9541(1)(h)3, Florida Statutes, is amended to remove the rebate or abatement of the agent’s share of the premium from the list of activities that constitute unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts. Charging less that cost for related title services is also removed from the list. The prohibition against otherwise rebating premium remains in law. Additionally also allowed is the rebate or abatement of an attorney’s fee charged for professional services or any other agent charge or fee. However, nothing may be paid directly or indirectly for a referral of title insurance business.
The law also amends §627.7845(3), Florida Statutes, to repeal the requirement that the title insurer or agency must maintain a record of the related title service charges made for issuance of the policy.
The full text of Chapter 2007-44 can be found here