March 18, 2020

In This Issue:

  • Important TLTA Updates on COVID-19 Challenges for Title Industry
  • TLTA's New COVID-19 Resources Page: Business Continuity Strategies, County Clerk Operations, Remote Digital Closings, and More
  • TLTA Introduces New Collection of Business Continuity Resources - Please Share Your Ideas and Success Stories
  • Update on TDI Actions Related to COVID-19
  • Congress Approves Coronavirus Relief Bill

Important TLTA Updates on COVID-19 Challenges for Title Industry

Leslie Midgley, Executive VP and CEO, TLTA | March 16, 2020
As we all navigate local, state and federal response to the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, I wanted to reach out to remind you that TLTA is here for you every step of the way. The health and safety of our TLTA family is first and foremost and we are taking all the necessary precautions on that front, but we also understand that you are facing unique business challenges and we stand ready to help you in any way we can. By working together as a community, I know we can meet those challenges.
 
What is TLTA doing to assist you?
We have already identified several potential issues and are engaged in conversations with other stakeholders to try to minimize business interruption for you. For instance, will you continue to have access to public records, will RON evolve as a tool during this crisis, and what compliance challenges will you face in a remote business environment?
 
We are eager to hear what other challenges you are facing and also hear about creative solutions you have developed. TLTA is equipped and ready to be an effective information clearinghouse and advocate, so please share your concerns, ideas and success stories with us at tlta@tlta.com
 
What about TLTA meetings and events?
The City of Austin has issued a ban on all events of more than 250 people, effective now through May 1. As a result, the 2020 Land Title School of Texas, scheduled April 20-22, will now have to be postponed. 
  
This is just a postponement and not a cancellation – we are working with the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center to reschedule Land Title School for summer or fall 2020. As soon as we have more information regarding newly scheduled dates, we'll make that information available to you. If you are already registered for our 2020 Land Title School, your spot will remain secured and your registration will automatically carry over to the new dates. We'll remain in close contact with all registrants regarding the new schedule.  
  
The timing and execution of all other upcoming TLTA Programs—including TLTA committee meetings, other educational programs, and scheduled events—will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Many of our activities can be conducted via conference call, for example, and we expect to take advantage of that tool as needed. If rescheduling an upcoming event or program is necessary, we'll continue to provide advanced updates regarding changes and keep you posted whenever news is available.  As of today, no events other than the Land Title School have been postponed and no events have been canceled, but this is a very fluid situation.
 
Need to reach the TLTA staff during this hectic time?
TLTA has reconfigured our work environment to ensure the health and safety of our team. Most of our staff of professionals are working remotely for the time being, but it is business as usual and we remain 100% available to you as always. You can reach us by email at tlta@tlta.com, via the main office number (512.472.6593), or by emailing or calling staff members directly. Here is an updated list of TLTA contact information .
 
Again, we look forward to staying in close contact with you and providing the best possible service we can during this stressful time. As your trusted resource, please know we’re here for you and we care about you, your family and your business.
 
 

TLTA's New COVID-19 Resources Page: Business Continuity Strategies, County Clerk Operations, Remote Digital Closings, and More

TLTA | March 17, 2020
Our state's title insurance industry is uniquely impacted by the disruptions attributed to COVID-19 containment efforts. To help you, your business and your customers navigate the changing landscape ahead, TLTA has compiled resources that will help
 
Our new COVID-19 Resources web page includes information and tools related to the topics listed below. Some of these resources are works in progress, and more information is being added as it is available, so be sure to check in regularly for updates:
  • Business continuity strategies
  • County clerk and county office operations
  • Remote digital closing
  • TDI compliance
  • Federal response
  • Status updates for TLTA meetings, programs and events
  • And more
We are here for you every step of the way, working to find tools and solutions for the many challenges you are facing as you work to close real estate transactions and manage your operations during this crisis.
 
Review Our New COVID-19 Resources »
 

TLTA Introduces New Collection of Business Continuity Resources - Please Share Your Ideas and Success Stories

TLTA | March 18, 2020
In an effort to help our TLTA community find immediate business continuity strategies during this crisis and serve as a clearinghouse and your source for information and solutions, TLTA is compiling a list of operational best practices and safe closing protocols that title agents are already implementing. We are also trying to identify what we need to be working on to assist you – we are already talking with county clerks about their status, lenders about flexibility on RON and home equity signing requirements, and TDI about compliance concerns, but we need to hear more from you to be able to better assist you immediately. 
  
We know you are swamped, but can you help us by taking a couple minutes to send us an email today with the following type of information and anything else we should know:
 
  • Is your business still open?  Are any of your staff working remotely yet? If so, which personnel?
  • What operational changes have you made?
  • What changes have you put in place to ensure safety for your staff and customers? How are you making closings safer?
  • What challenges are you encountering?  With lender and RON?  With TDI Compliance?  Other?
  • Is your county clerk still open?  We are tracking all county clerk operational changes so please keep us posted if this changes.
  • What else – how can we help you?
We look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible so we can focus our priorities where you most need help. Please know we are here for you and will remain so every step of the way. Our mission is to see our industry through this crisis, help you and your team stay safe and healthy, help you continue to serve your customers, and keep real estate transactions moving forward. 
 
Submit Your Ideas, Successes and Best Practices »
 

Update on TDI Actions Related to COVID-19

Texas Department of Insurance | March 16, 2020
The coronavirus COVID-19 situation presents unique challenges to the insurance industry and all our workplaces. The Texas Department of Insurance will continue to perform all essential services, answer your questions, and work through issues as they develop.
 
This is a rapidly evolving, dynamic situation, and we intend to provide you with frequent updates on our activities. Here are some brief updates today:
  • Governor Abbott’s actions Friday included a provision allowing state agencies to request suspension of state laws or rules that may hinder or delay the state’s coronavirus response. We’ll be providing details soon on steps to ensure expanded access to medically necessary care and minimize potential regulatory burdens to providing that care.
  • We encourage insurers to submit filings electronically. This helps provide services efficiently while many staff are telecommuting. Visit our Filing Smart page for more information on filing electronically.
  • Visit our coronavirus resource page for past messages and guidance to the industry.
We’ll continue to monitor this developing situation and take action as needed to ensure we can provide services and care to the people of Texas. We’ll update you frequently as new information becomes available.
 

Congress Approves Coronavirus Relief Bill

James E. Hyland, TLTA Federal Legislative Counsel  | March 17, 2020
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly to approve H.R. 6201 - a bill to provide relief for workers impacted by the coronavirus. The bill passed by a large bi-partisan majority. Although the final text was not yet available (and corrections were made on Monday), the general parameters were known. The vote was 363-40. Both President Trump and Speaker Pelosi supported the legislation. 
 
The bill would require employers with less than 500 employees to provide two work weeks of paid sick leave. Workers would qualify for the benefit if they are sick and have to be quarantined or treated for coronavirus, or if they have to leave their jobs to take care of a family member who has coronavirus.  
 
Additionally, workers would also be eligible for paid sick leave if they have to stay home because they have a child whose school or childcare facility has closed due to the coronavirus.  Family and medical leave for employers with less than 500 employees would be extended for 12 weeks. 
 
To help small businesses impacted by this, the legislation gives employers a tax credit equal to 100 percent of paid sick leave wage benefits they have paid out. The tax credit is allowed against the tax imposed by section 3111(a) (the employer portion of Social Security taxes).
 
Read More »
 


Please note that the March 24 webinar “Survey Endorsements” starts our 2-part series on this topic, followed up by the April 7 webinar, “Minerals: The Law, The Exception, and T-19 Series Coverage.” Register for one or both and get educated on this complex topic!

And don’t forget, in addition to our monthly live webinars, you have access to our library of more than 80 On-Demand webinars and videos covering the title industry topics you need to earn continuing education credits and stay ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends!