March 28, 2013

Aaron Day
Director of Government Affairs and Counsel




3.8% Rate Increase Goes Into Effect May 1, 2013
On Friday, Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman adopted a rate increase of 3.8% to the Basic Premium Rate for Title Insurance that will go into effect May 1, 2013. You may view the full Commissioner's Order, which includes an updated rate chart, here.

"The recent rate adjustment is the culmination of hard work and countless volunteer hours from TLTA members and the Board of Directors, along with your TLTA lobby team and staff, over the past four years," said TLTA President Randy Pittman. "We have proved that the new process established in the 82nd Legislative Session is effective and efficient in setting title rates for the state of Texas."

Here's What You Need to Do to Be Prepared
In preparation for this change, we recommend that you notify your Realtor and lender clients that the rate chart will be adjusted on May 1, and provide them with a copy of this new chart. If they have additional questions, here is a statement you can share with them. You may also want to check with your software vendor to make sure your systems will be updated by the effective date and update any charts you may have on your website. 

TLTA’s Basic Manual will also be updated on the effective date and all subscribers will receive notification. If you are not already subscribed to our Basic Manual, do so now here.

Work Continues on Legislation That Could Impact the Industry
TLTA lobby activity over the last week has been defined by stakeholder meetings and perfecting amendments to several pieces of legislation currently making their way through the process.

TLTA-sponsored legislation that would provide a more efficient procedure to address a default by a deceased borrower has been the subject of extended negotiations between TLTA members and members of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas (REPTL). We continue to improve the bill drafts and will seek hearings on both SB 1770 and HB 2795.

We continue to meet with members of REPTL to discuss their bill, SB 650 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez, which would create the ability for an owner to transfer their owner's policy through a gift or as a capital contribution to an entity in the estate planning context. After many hours of discussion and TLTA's offer of an alternative draft of the bill, the members of REPTL asked that the bill be pulled from consideration by the Senate committee. We will work with REPTL during the interim to see how we can accommodate their goals through the regulatory process.

We are also working with stakeholders on our legislation to allow tax assessor collectors to waive certain interest and penalties related to ad valorem taxes, and will have an in-person negotiation at the Capitol next week, with TLTA members in attendance.

TLTA has also engaged several lien bills that could inadvertently create clouds on title. Rep. Stephanie Carter agreed to redraft her bill, HB 991, providing for interior designer's liens, and place it in the section of law dealing with other liens, such as architects' liens. TLTA has also worked with the offices sponsoring HB 1214/SB 611, HB 1094/SB 385 and HB 855 to secure amendments to the filed bills to ensure liens are filed and transparent in the property records.

Additionally, TLTA has registered in support of HB 981 by Rep. Patricia Harless that would require a district clerk to provide the public with an electronic copy of the index to civil cases, if the district clerk is maintaining this index in electronic form, in accordance with the cost rules prescribed by the attorney general. Its companion bill, SB 753, was voted favorably from the Senate Jurisprudence committee this week.

Finally, TLTA is working on various bills relating to county clerks to ensure there are no added costs to maintaining a title plant and that access to public records remains efficient.

Track the Progress of Legislation and Stay Informed
Stay tuned to this newsletter and the Legislative page on our website here for updates on the progress of our affirmative agenda, as well as other legislation we're tracking that could impact the industry. If you would like to receive email notifications with links to live legislative hearings, please email to get added to the list.

FDIC Launches National Program to Reserve Mineral Rights
American Land Title Association | March 26, 2013
Beginning April 1, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will launch a national program reserving mineral rights—including oil and gas—in any land it conveys across the country. The program covers all property (residential and commercial) sold by the FDIC with limited exceptions for properties worth less than $50,000 and individual condominium units. The program will apply to condominiums under development. This reservation is already in some current contracts, according to the FDIC. Read More »

Changes Coming Soon to the Basic Manual — Are You Ready?
In May, the new rate chart will be incorporated into the Basic Manual, and in just a few months, the Texas Department of Insurance will publish a Rule Order addressing 72 agenda items that will significantly change the Basic Manual. Don't wait — sign your office up today for the Basic Manual Online subscription service to ensure you'll automatically receive these updates as soon as they happen. Sign up here, or if you have questions about how it works, review the FAQs here or test drive it here.

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Texas Land Title Association, 1717 W. 6th St., Suite 120, Austin, TX, 78703
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