Bill to Drastically Alter Texas Title Insurance System Filed Tuesday by Senator Hall

By TLTA Staff
Dec. 22, 2017

As TLTA anticipated, a bill with the goal of dismantling our safe, stable title insurance system – SB 372 – has been filed by Senator Bob Hall. We also expect a similar bill to be filed in the House. Read the entire text of the bill.

TLTA is still analyzing all the complex components of this 11-page bill, but the key elements appear to be:

  • The Commissioner would no longer set rates
  • Rates would be filed by each underwriter under a "file and use" system
  • Underwriters would be required to consider agent income and expenses when filing rates
  • The split between agents and underwriters would no longer be regulated by the Commissioner, but rather determined between each agent and each underwriter
  • The policy coverages for title insurance would no longer be established by TDI, but rather by each insurer
    • Correction to this bullet point: Upon closer examination of the bill language, it appears that SB 372, unlike previous drafts we had seen, does not include language about the Commissioner no longer promulgating policy coverage. However, since this change was in those previous drafts, we believe attempts to alter the current system's method of setting policy coverage is still something to watch for as this process evolves.

TLTA is strongly opposed to this legislation. TLTA president James Dudley said, "Despite what the proponents say, we believe such a change would lead to higher prices and increased risk for the average homebuyer and less choice for the consumer because of dramatic market consolidation. The Texas title insurance system has a proven track record of serving Texas consumers well and should not be upended."

TLTA has a full legislative team that has been preparing for this battle for the past year, and we will fight it vigorously in the legislature. We also urge you to share your strong concerns with your elected officials and make them aware of the negative impact this would have on Texas consumers, small business and the overall disruption it would cause in the real estate market.

We will continue to keep you fully updated as this issue develops and, as always, welcome your questions at input.