On Friday, Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis, issued Directive 2020-10 delaying the Department of Financial Services enforcement of the submission of the 2020 Title Data Call until September 1, 2020. With many agencies and industry representatives focusing on the health and safety of their employees, consumers and families, this brings relief to the annual submission pressure.
With the added time to submit, Agencies should use this time to review the revised Agency Data Callspreadsheets and adjust any internal processes accordingly. As you will recall, FLTA has worked diligently with the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) through numerous workshops the past couple years in order to make your compliance with the Data Call easier and to improve the data being collected by the Data Call. Quality information on the financial requirements of title insurance agents is critical to the state’s ability to set fair rates. Thanks to the collaborative effort of FLTA members and OIR, you will find that the Report Lines have been simplified and better clarified. In a big win, “Schedule C’ was also eliminated along with the “Agency Comments” section. Filling out Schedule C was very challenging; often brought frustration and confusion to the industry; and the information contained in Schedule C was either unnecessary or duplicative of other areas in the Data Call submission. We are very grateful to OIR that Schedule C has been removed and believe this will allow the industry submissions to be more efficient and consistent.
We are often asked, “will the data call ever end?” The answer in short, is “no, but for good reason.” F.S. 627.782(7) calls for the Financial Services Commission to review premium rates “no less frequently than once every 3 years, and shall, based upon the review required by this subsection, revise the premium if the results of the review so warrant.” In order to perform the Commission’s review, F.S. 627.782(8) states “Each title insurance agency and insurer licensed to do business in this state and each insurer’s direct or retail business in this state shall maintain and submit information, including revenue, loss, and expense data, as the office determines necessary to assist in the analysis of title insurance premium rates, title search costs, and the condition of the title insurance industry in this state. Such information shall be transmitted to the office annually by May 31 of the year after the reporting year. The commission shall adopt rules relating to the collection and analysis of the data from the title insurance industry.”
The Agency Data Call is vitally important to the state’s determination of a fair promulgated rate for title insurance. As agents earn up to 70% of the premium, the agent’s activities and financial picture must be understood by regulators in order to determine a promulgated rate for title insurance premiums that is fair to consumers and allows title agencies to earn a rate of return on their capital. It defends the portion of insurance revenue earned by the agency or underwriter. In this way, Florida’s promulgated rate protects the public by setting a fair rate and assuring the availability of title agents (both attorneys and title agencies) serving all areas of the state and providing competition on settlement service charges. Your attention and diligence in complying with the Agency Data Call will reward both title insurance agents and the public.