5/4/12 Update: Today, Governor Scott signed the Title Data Call Bill (HB 643) and its related public record exemption (HB 645) making them law. This bill was strongly supported by FLTA and our bulletin providing more information can be found here
4/20/12 Update: The Title Data Call bill HB 643 and its public records companion HB 645 have been submitted to Governor Scott for consideration. He has until May 5 to act on these bills.
3/7/12 Update: Thanks to the Hard Work and Dedication of Rep. George Moraitis and Sen. Thad Altman, the Title Insurance Data Call bill, and the related public records exemptions, have passed in both the House and the Senate. Given Gov. Scott's historic concern about minimizing regulatory burden, we expect it will be necessary to reassure his staff that this bill is something that the regulated feel is appropriate and necessary.
3/5/12 Update: SB 1404 and 1406 have been placed on the special order calendar for Senate vote on Wednesday 3/7/12. This could not have been accomplished without all of the coordinated hard work of the lobby team that represents the various underwriters and the Agents Section. My thanks to all of you!!!
3/2/12 Update: On Wednesday, Senator Bennett submitted a late filed amendment to the Data Call bill which mandated the issuance of a "supplemental" owners policy every time a lenders policy was written, and separately would have required the payment of policy limits on a total title failure without regard to the fair value of the property. In combination the two provisions would have created a significant opportunity for fraud. The title lobby team sprang into action and was successful in blocking the amendment by a close voice vote. Following that success, the bill (without the objectionable amendment) was passed by the budget committee and has proceeded to the full senate.
Separately, the senate public records exemption was withdrawn from its last committee of reference so that it could proceed to the senate floor.
2/23/12 Update: The Public Records exemption for information submitted in response to the data call unanimously passed the full house of representatives today. The senate companions are awaiting review by the budget committee.
2/16/12 Update: Congratulations to Rep. George Moraitis! Today the Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed the title industry Data Call bill, HB 643. The linked public records exemption has not yet been heard by the full house but has passed all committees. The Senate companions SB 1404 & SB 1406 have one remaining committee stop.
2/15/12 Update: HB 643 has been approved by all committees, placed on the special order calendar and had its second reading today and is on the agenda for a floor vote tomorrow. The companion public records exemption is is also on the special order calendar and has been read twice.
2/9/12 Update: SB 1404 was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon after amendments conforming it to the house version were made. Next and final committee stop is the Senate Budget Committee.
2/8/12 Update: This morning both HB 643 and 645 were reported favorably by the House Economic Affairs committee with two negative votes. This was the final committee stop for the public records exemption of HB 645, which will now move to the house floor.
Yesterday the Senate government operations committee approved the Senate public records exemption SB1406.
2/3/12 Update: This morning, HB 643 was recommended favorably by the Rulemaking and Regulation Subcommittee. It has one remaining committee stop before the House economic affairs committee.
2/2/12 Update: SB 1406 (the public records companion bill is scheduled to be heard by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on 2/7/12 at 4:00 PM
One of FLTA's major legislative initiatives for 2012 has been to "fix" the statutes to permit a proper data call. Anytime a government agency is tasked with promulgating (as they do in Florida) or ruling upon the reasonableness of an insurance rate, they need information to do that. It's fairly easy in most lines of insurance, where they can get all necessary information from the insurer.
In title insurance, as we all know, the title agency does a large share of the work in searching title, examining the search, determining insurability and appropriate requirements, in clearing title objections and defects and issuing the final policy. So if you are going to have an appropriate premium rate, they need to understand the substantial costs the agencies incur in doing all of that work. On the other side of the equation, we've been working closely with OIR and DFS to develop the questionnaire that will provide enough information to do that. There is a good article on that process in our June 2011 Newsletter
In this post, I'm happy to report that this week we were successfully in moving both the House Bill and its related public records exemption (HB 643/HB645 sponsored by Rep. George Moraitis (R-Ft. Lauderdale -- and himself a very good real estate attorney) and its Senate companions (SB 1404/1406 by Sen. Thad Altman R-Melbourne) through one more committee stop.
We still have a ways to go, but remain cautiously optimistic about these bills.