DEFINITIONS. In this section:
(a) "Affiliate" has the meaning provided
(am) "Agent" has the meaning
provided under s.
(b) "Affiliate producer"
means an affiliate of a producer of title insurance, but only for the 12-month
period commencing after June 30, 1987, and after the end of any quarter
calendar year in which the affiliate's gross revenue from operation in this
state from title insurance directly or indirectly referred by affiliated
producers of title insurance exceeds 40% of the affiliate's gross revenue from
operations in this state for title insurance in the previous quarter calendar
year. However, if the previous quarter calendar year commences prior to July 1,
1988, the percentage is 80%; and if it commences prior to July 1, 1989, the
percentage is 60%. "Affiliate producer" does not include a person who is
affiliated with producers of title insurance who are all attorneys if the
affiliate examines the title for each title insurance policy it
(bm) "Control" has the
meaning provided under s.
"Producer of title
insurance" means any of the following, other than a title insurer, who order or
influence, directly or indirectly, the ordering of title insurance and related
1. Any owner or prospective owner of
real or personal property or any interest therein;
2. Any lender or prospective lender in a
transaction involving an obligation secured or to be secured either in whole or
in part by real or personal property or any interest therein; and
3. Any agent, representative, attorney or
employee of any owner or prospective owner or of any lender or prospective
4. An affiliate
"Supplementary rate information" has the meaning provided under s.
(d) "Title insurance rates"
means all charges made by a title insurer in connection with the issuance of a
title insurance policy or a commitment to issue a title insurance policy and
includes, but is not limited to, search and examination charges.
"Title insurer" means all insurance
companies authorized to write title insurance as defined by s.
and their affiliates, and includes all
officers, employees and representatives of the insurance companies or their
PROHIBITED PRACTICES. No title insurer or
agent of a title insurer may engage in any of the following practices:
(a) Charging an amount for a title insurance
policy or commitment for a title insurance policy other than the amount
developed by application of the appropriate title insurance rate developed from
the rates and supplementary rate information on file with the commissioner for
use by the title insurer.
Waiving, or offering to waive, all or any part of the applicable title
insurance rate or premium developed by proper application of the appropriate
title insurance rate developed from the rates and supplementary rate
information on file with the commissioner.
(c) Charging a reduced title insurance rate
under a so-called "take-off" or subdivision policy when the property involved
is ineligible for such reduced rate.
(d) Charging a reduced title insurance rate
under a so-called "take-off" or subdivision policy when such rate is not
applicable in the particular transaction because the volume required to qualify
for such reduced rate includes ineligible property.
(e) Paying or offering to pay the
cancellation fee, the fee for a preliminary title report or other fee on behalf
of any producer of title insurance after inducing the person to cancel an order
with another title insurer.
Making or guaranteeing, or offering to make or guarantee, directly or
indirectly, any loan to any producer of title insurance regardless of the terms
of the note or guarantee. This prohibition is not applicable to customary
business collection procedures, claims settlement and salvage activities and
other business activities totally unrelated to the solicitation of business for
which a charge is made.
Providing or offering to provide, directly or indirectly, a "compensating
balance" or deposit in a lending institution either for the express or implied
purpose of influencing the extension of credit by the lending institution to
any producer of title insurance, or for the express or implied purpose of
influencing the placement or channeling of title insurance business by the
lending institution. This paragraph does not prohibit the maintenance by a
title insurer or agent of demand deposits or escrow deposits which are
reasonably necessary for use in the ordinary course of the business of the
title insurer or agent.
or offering to pay the fees or charges of an outside professional, including
but not limited to, an attorney, engineer, appraiser, or surveyor, whose
services are required by any producer of title insurance to structure or
complete a particular transaction.
(i) Paying or offering to pay all or part of
the salary of an employee of a producer of title insurance.
(j) Paying or offering to pay a fee to a
producer of title insurance for services unless the fee bears a reasonable
relation to the services performed. The determination of whether a fee bears a
reasonable relation to the services performed means a recognition of time and
effort spent, risk and expenses incurred, and an allowance for a reasonable
level of profit. After June 30, 1987, for purposes of this paragraph, a payment
determined by applying a percentage amount or formula to the premium paid for
title insurance is presumed, unless rebutted, not to bear a reasonable relation
to services performed. The presumption may be rebutted in a particular case by
satisfying the commissioner that the service to be performed and the
compensation to be received, with recognition of time and effort spent and risk
and expenses incurred, are substantially comparable to the services performed
and compensation received by agents, or to the services performed by
underwriters, in this state who are not producers of title insurance.
(k) Paying or offering to pay for services by
a producer of title insurance if the services are required to be performed by
the person in his or her capacity as a real estate or mortgage broker or
salesperson or agent.
Furnishing or offering to furnish, or paying or offering to pay for, furniture,
office supplies, telephones, equipment or automobiles to a producer of title
insurance, or paying for, or offering to pay for, any portion of the cost of
renting, leasing, operating or maintaining any of these items. Marketing and
title insurance promotional items clearly of an advertising nature of token or
nominal value, or supplies such as title insurance application blanks and
related forms are prohibited under this paragraph if they are made available to
all producers of title insurance on the same terms and conditions.
(m) Paying for, furnishing, or waiving, or
offering to pay for, furnish, or waive, all or any part of the rent for space
occupied by a producer of title insurance.
(n) Renting or offering to rent space from a
producer of title insurance, at a rent which is excessive when compared with
rents for comparable space in the geographic area, or paying or offering to
pay, rent based in whole or in part on the volume of business generated by a
producer of title insurance except for a bona fide percentage lease based on
the total volume of receipts of the title insurer when the services of that
title insurer are offered from that location to the public generally.
(o) Paying or offering to pay for gifts,
vacations, business trips, convention expenses, travel expenses, membership
fees, registration fees, lodging or meals on behalf of a producer of title
insurance, directly or indirectly, or supplying letters of credit, credit cards
or any such benefits. This paragraph does not preclude reasonable, moderate and
customary business entertainment and trade association activities and expense
incurred and recorded by the title insurer or agent in the course of marketing
its products and services.
Paying or offering to pay money, prizes or other things of value to, or on
behalf of, a producer of title insurance in a contest or promotional endeavor.
This paragraph does not apply to offers or payments to trade associations or
charitable or other functions where the thing of value is a contribution or
donation rather than a business solicitation.
(q) Paying or offering to pay for advertising
concerning the title insurer or agent in material distributed or promoted by a
producer of title insurance, unless the payment is reasonable compensation for
the advertising, is not greater than the amount charged for comparable
advertising and any title insurer is permitted to advertise in the material on
the same terms and conditions.
Paying for or furnishing, or offering to pay for or furnish any brochures,
billboards, or advertisements of a producer of title insurance, products or
services appearing in newspapers, on the radio, or on television, or other
advertising or promotional material published or distributed by, or on behalf
of, a producer of title insurance.