September 2009


COMMISSIONER ADOPTS MINERALS COVERAGE

Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin has officially adopted changes to the Basic Manual concerning minerals coverage effective November 1, 2009. The changes represent the TLTA recommended proposal that was the result of our work with the stakeholders and other interested parties. We appreciate the many volunteer hours that went into this effort. 

Pursuant to the new Procedural Rule P-5.1, policies may contain general exceptions to minerals coverage under prescribed circumstances. The new Form T-19.2 and T-19.3 will be available for protecting improvements and permanent buildings. Also, the Commissioner adopted a rate of $50 for the new endorsements.

2008 BIENNIAL RULE HEARING PROPOSED RULES PUBLISHED FOR FINAL COMMENT


Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin has published a notice of proposed amendments to the Basic Manual as a result of the 2008 Biennial Rule Hearing that was held on October 2, 2008. TDI will be accepting comments on these items until September 21, 2009. These items are proposed for adoption effective October 1, 2009. TLTA will be submitting comments and requesting a delayed effective date to allow time for everyone to be prepared to comply. We urge you to view the proposed amendments to the Basic Manual of Rules, Rates and Forms for the Writing of Title Insurance below:

Summary 


BASIC MANUAL HAS CHANGED - STAY IN COMPLIANCE WITH TDI

The September 1 update contains changes resulting from recently passed legislation contained in Section 1 of the Basic Manual, as well as April 1, 2009 changes. The TLTA online Basic Manual has been updated to reflect the changes. If you are a Basic Manual subscriber, you should have received your hard copy update in the mail. Updates for the Minerals Coverage will be mailed in October.

Not a Basic Manual Subscriber?

The Basic Manual subscription is a member benefit that provides the most cost-effective and efficient means to ensure your Basic Manual is always in compliance. Also, as part of TDI's current audit procedures, they require proof of a current up-to-date Basic Manual. Stay in compliance, save money and stop guessing - become a Basic Manual subscriber today. 

PAYROLLS CONTINUE TO SHRINK IN TITLE INDUSTRY

ALTA.com | August 25, 2009

The U.S. insurance industry lost 4,800 jobs in July, the fifth consecutive month of losses, according to seasonally adjusted data released earlier this month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Industry payrolls included 2.260 million employees, down from a seasonally adjusted 2.265 million in June. The number of insurance jobs has contracted in seven of the past nine months. July's loss is significantly more than the 3,100 jobs lost from May to June, according to current BLS data.

Title insurers, the most battered sector, saw another big year-over-year decline of 15.5 percent to 70,100, though employment was up from May to June to handle the spike of refinance orders.

WHITE HOUSE RELEASES H1N1 GUIDELINES


President Obama recently urged the nation to prepare for the second wave of H1N1 flu that has left thousands of Americans hospitalized earlier this year. "We know that we usually get a second, larger wave of these flu viruses in the fall, and so response plans have been put in place across all levels of government," said President Obama. Businesses are asked to keep employees out of the office if they exhibit flulike symptoms and to establish alternative work arrangements for employees considered vulnerable to complications from the virus. They also were asked to prepare contingency plans -- including telecommuting and staggered shifts -- to ensure that operations can continue in the event a workplace is hit hard this fall or winter by the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. For latest information please visit www.flu.gov, which contains the latest information and guidelines for dealing with H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information.

 

Swine Flu and Employer Preparedness

By: James H. Kizziar, Jr.- Bracewell & Giuliani LLP 

Although swine flu does not normally affect humans, this infection has recently been spreading around the world. While the incidence of infection by the H1N1 virus has not turned into the pandemic that was first feared, there is concern that it may return in force in the Fall. This concern is based on the fact that some past pandemics—notably the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that reportedly killed almost 40 million people—were preceded by "herald waves" of a flu strain that surfaced at the end of one flu season, only to return with far greater consequences the next flu season. 
 

TLTA IS YOUR SOURCE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION AND PROGRAMMING


THIS WEBINAR IS SOLD OUT!!
Please contact Lynne Daves if you have any questions or would like to be added to the waiting list in the event of a cancellation.
 
WEBINAR: New Procedures for Minerals Coverage and a Review of Proposed Rules and Forms
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009; 1:30-2:30 p.m. CDT
Changes to the Basic Manual concerning minerals coverage – new rules, forms and rates – become effective November 1, 2009. Be sure you understand all the options so you can follow the new procedures to issue proper Commitments, Policies and Endorsements. 
 

THREE LOCATIONS, ONE GREAT PROGRAM - RESPALIVE WORDS WORTH HEARING


TLTA presents this must-attend program featuring informed presenters giving you a timely overview of both Federal and State updates on RESPA Reform Implementation - how it is shaping up and how it will affect your operations. As an added bonus, three national software companies will provide demonstrations on how a new HUD-1 will be created using their escrow/closing products along with an interactive question and answers session.

CHOOSE FROM 3 DATES & LOCATIONS

HOUSTON
Tuesday, Oct 6
 AUSTIN
Wednesday, Oct 7
 ARLINGTON
Thursday, Oct 8

 
Earn up to 4.5 hours of continuing education credit. 

FOLLOW THIS YOUNG PROFESSIONAL'S LEAD AND GET INVOLVED

Lisa Harris
Title Examiner, Gracy Title

 
During the Young Professionals Committee teleconference in August, we were asked why newer professionals may not attend the TLTA conferences and education programs as frequently as our seasoned colleagues. I commented that over time I've become more successful in securing approval to attend TLTA continuing education programs and that perhaps we, as an association, should help guide young professionals on how to obtain approval to participate. It was suggested that I share my experience as a first step in us doing that.

For the first several years as a title examiner, when I would ask my supervisor for permission to attend a TLTA seminar, I also asked that they cover the expenses. I wasn't just asking for time away from the office, I was asking for my employer to also cover the expenses. That's when I thought what if I offered to share the cost. What if I showed my employer that I was committed to investing in my career, would this make securing approval any easier? Sure enough, when I showed my employer that I was committed it did make it easier. So based on my experiences, I'd recommend the following to young professionals who are looking to get involved. 

Make the case for how sending you to the seminar will improve your skills. 

If you don't secure approval to attend the first seminar you request don't let that deter you from asking to attend other seminars in the future. There may be constraints such as budget limitations or understaffing that make it really hard to send you today. Those factors change over time. 

Consider whether it is important enough to you to go that you should offer to share the cost with your employer. 

Join The Young Professionals

The new Young Professionals Committee was established earlier this summer as one of President Mark Greek's goals. The group was created to identify and engage a new generation of leaders in the title industry. During their first meeting, participants outlined some of their goals such as increasing young professionals' participation in TLTA events and activities, developing educational programming designed with the younger generation in mind and developing a pilot mentoring program. There's still plenty of opportunities for you to get involved. 
 

STAND UP AND STAND OUT - BECOME A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL


In the August President's Message, TLTA President Mark Greek said "Our industry is facing an extremely difficult economic climate and a harsh reality is setting in - it's no longer enough to have the skills or education, you must have both." Stand out from the crowd by becoming one of Texas' certified professionals. There's never been a better time to make a commitment to yourself and your profession. 

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM ONE OF TEXAS' CERTIFIED PROFESSIONALS 

Brandi Abercrombie, Manager, Jacksonville Title Company, is one of only thirteen Certified Escrow Settlement Associate designees in Texas. "I first heard about certification when I attended the Texas Land Title School in 2005 and every year the new education programs were rolled out, I would look for the certification roll-out. I just knew that it was something I wanted to pursue." Brandi, who also happens to be the oldest child in her family, admits that she may be a little competitive and enjoys a good challenge, but she'll be the first to encourage her peers to pursue certification. For those of you who might be hesitant, Brandi offers these words of advice, " Use the information TLTA offers, it's a great resource. I printed out ALL of the materials and would study every evening. My children are involved in several different things, so every night they had some type of practice and I tried to look over a different section every evening while waiting on them. For items I didn't deal with on a daily basis with my job, I would spend double the amount of time."

Still think you may not be ready to apply and take the certification examination? Brandi has one more piece of advice - "Just go for it!
 

JOY "RUSTY" MANN CARPENTER, 1926-2009


TLTA mourns the loss of long-time member Joy "Rusty" Mann Carpenter. "Rusty" was in the land title business for many years, first at Pecos Abstract Company and later at Western Abstract and Title Company. She was a well-known and respected businesswoman in the Pecos community and will be deeply missed. Click here to view the full obituary.

TLTA PRESENTS STEWARDSHIP EXCELLENCE AWARD


Pictured, from left to right: (bottom row) Markeda Fisher, co-owner of Professional Land Title Co.; Robert and Joyce VanWinkle, owners of Hopkins County Abstract Co.; County Judge Cletis Millsap; Nancy Brannon, chief of staff for State Representative Mark Homer; Leslie Midgley vice president of the Texas Land Title Assoc.; Kayla Price, co-owner of PLTC; (top row) Beth Wisenbaker, County Commissioner 1; Don Patterson, County Commissioner 3; Aaron Day, director of government affairs for TLTA and Danny Evans, County Commissioner 4. 
As we reported earlier, TLTA is a proud sponsor of the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Courthouse Stewardship Initiative. This year's THC Stewardship Excellence Award winners are Fayette and Hopkins county. This honorary award recognizes counties for excellent stewardship practices in maintaining their restored courthouses. In August, Hopkins County invited TLTA Executive Vice President Leslie Midgley and Government Affairs Director Aaron Day to participate in a special award presentation and press conference. Representatives from Hopkins County Abstract Company, president Robert VanWinkle and his wife Joyce, along with representatives from Professional Land Title Company, co-owners and co-managers Markeda Orwosky and Kayla Price, were also in present at the ceremony. Additionally, Markeda and Kayla are also members of the Adult Leadership Sulphur Springs Class of 2008-2009, who have helped raise additional funds to restore two of courthouse's vault doors. 

HELP PRESERVE TEXAS' TREASURES

Title industry professionals are well aware of the importance of the county courthouses in their daily business and many of your communities have benefited from courthouse restoration. Economic development of your town square, job growth and tourism are just some of the added benefits of this program. Please consider joining TLTA's effort to protect our county courthouses by becoming a sponsor. Additionally, TLTA would like to thank West Texas Title Company for joining our efforts and helping sponsor this great program!


SPECIAL EXHIBIT TOUTING TLTA-THC PARTNERSHIP ON DISPLAY IN GEORGETOWN 

The Texas Courthouse Restoration Project exhibit, which showcases the program and our unique partnership, is currently on display at the Georgetown Public Library until September 30. The exhibit will be visiting communities across the state and TLTA will notify member companies when it is scheduled to stop in your area.

JAMES GOSDIN AND BRUCE HAWLEY RECEIVE APPOINTMENTS FROM AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION


Earlier this month, Stewart Title Guaranty Company announced the appointments of James Gosdin and Bruce Hawley to leadership positions in the American Bar Association section of real property, trust and estate law for the 2009-2010 bar year. Gosdin was selected as vice-chair of the title insurance and surveys committee of the Commercial Real Estate Transactions Group. Hawley has been selected as vice-chair of the Multi-Family Residential Committee of Residential Multi-Family and Special Use Group of the American Bar Association. 

WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS


We would like to welcome our newest members to TLTA. A list of new members approved in August by the TLTA Board of Directors can be viewed on our website.