Now for the bad news. Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) has filed SB 826, which among other things would require:
1. The insurer to pay policy limits if a claim is not fully resolved within 90 days -- or to pay architects, engineers, lawyers fees, mortgage interest and other listed damages.
2. Would require an Earliest Public Records Search (later amended to a MRTA search) in every case;
3. Payment of policy limits on a failure of title without regard to the value of the insured property; and
4. As amended, would require the issuance of an owners policy at simo rates with every refinance or construction loan.
As one would expect, the title industry -- agents and insurers alike -- have significant concerns about these requirements. The search requirements and inclusion of consequential damages will only increase the costs to the consumer. Yesterday, a committee substitute for this bill (incorporating the changes referenced above) passed out of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. Copy here
To his credit, Sen. Bennett has expressed a willingness to work with the title industry (and has already amended his bill in response to some of the industry's concerns). Those discussions will continue in the weeks ahead.