Texas Rate Updates

The Texas Commissioner of Insurance issued an Official Order making changes to rate and rate rules that will take effect September 1, 2019.

The changes to the rates include the following:

  • A decrease of 4.9% to the basic premium rate
  • The base rate tier for policies will now start at $25,000 (increased from the previous $10,000). This change effectively increases the minimum basic premium rate from $238 to $328.
  • Adjusts to create three new rate tiers for policies with face values from $25,000,001 and above to:
    • $25,000,001 to $50,000,000;
    • $50,000,001 to $100,000,000; and
    • More than $100,000,000.

You may review the Order here. There are also changes to R-5R-8 and R-20 which you can view in the entirety by clicking on the previous links.

A summary of the changes to the rate rules is detailed below:

R-5 Simultaneous Issuance of Owner’s and Loan Policies

For loan policies of $5,000,000 or more when the ownership has not changed, the simultaneous issue premium can apply if the loan is issued within 90 days of the owner’s policy when covering identical property.

R-8 Mortgagee Policy, on a Loan to Take Up, Renew, Extend or Satisfy an Existing Lien(s) aka “Texas Refinance Credit”

The credit tiers have been simplified and adjusted such that there is now:

  • 50% credit within the first four years; and
  • 25% credit between four and eight years.

R-20 Owner’s Policy After Construction Period

Extends the time in which to get an owner’s policy after construction on deals of $5,000,000 or more at the basic minimum premium rate from one year to two years with a simultaneous issue rate for the loan policy.

What you need to know: 

  • The rate decrease applies only to the premium charged for policies, loan and owner’s policies.
  • The effective date (policy date) controls what premium rate should be charged.  If you anticipate the policy being dated September 1, 2019, or later, you should show the premium at the new amount. If you are unsure of the closing date, you should show both with one having a closing date of before September 1 and the other showing the closing date of on or after September 1, 2019.
  • New rate cards will be available through Stewart marketing.
  • If you accidentally charge too much, you should refund the overage promptly.
  • A number of the rate rules call for the minimum basic premium rate while other rate rules call for a computed rate that is less than the minimum basic premium rate that is charged (that feature is called “some” below).

Transaction codes affected by these changes:

  • R-5c Code 3280
  • R-5d Code 3280
  • R-8 Codes 4001,4002,4003,4004,4005,4006,4007
  • R-9 Code 0010
  • R-18 some Code 3011
  • R-20 some Code 1190
  • R-21 some Code 1250
  • R-22 some Code 1350

Real Life Example: How to Identify a Fraudulent Email

Diligence is key when it comes to identifying fraud. Our Settlement Teams are a great example of being on the front line of defense. They recently received an email from First American and immediately noticed a few things were a little off. Upon further review they noted the items below leading them to report the email to our IT, delete the message and prevent fraudulent activity.

Clue #1: There wasn’t a name present on the To section.

Clue #2: When they placed their mouse over the download button it showed a suspicious website instead of the proposed “download”

Clue #3: They didn’t recognize the 833 area code and proceeded to call the phone number shown in the signature line with the intent of having them reference the escrow number or the property to confirm if we have an open file with them. When they called the line continued to ring with no answer.

By keeping an eye out for the items described above you can avoid falling victim to a potential scam. Share these simple steps with your co-workers, family, borrowers and with each act of prevention we take one step towards a more secure environment.


What can GeoCoverage do for you?

TitleFlex is powered by DataTree and provides users with property details, transaction history, sales comparables and the ability to purchase recorded documents. TitleFlex is both a resourceful and user friendly tool for property profiles/searches, but there are some counties that don’t allow access to public records.

By using DataTree’s GeoCoverage in combination with TitleFlex you are able to search the county before running a property report to see whether the information you are looking for is available. This will save you time and some headache as you begin to search public records for data.

Example: IL, Brown County

Select the state and county of your property and refer to the bottom of the web page to see what information is available.

By running the county through GeoCoverage first we have identified that only property details are available, not sales comparables or transaction history.

Save a property hit by starting to search the county before running a property profile.

DataTree GeoCoverage – https://web.datatree.com/home/geocoverage



TitleFlex: Estimated Value vs. Full Value

When retrieving sales comparables through TitleFlex you will come across two displays when reviewing the property value, either estimated value or full value.

Some counties are not permitted to release sales prices, TitleFlex then compiles all available data to provide you with an estimated value. It takes into account the value range, the properties around it, last sales, assessed value, and if it’s available from the assessor or the appraisal value market the improvement value. Essentially the estimated value is the price of the property within the market. See an example below of an estimated value display for sales comparables.

Below is an example of a full value display. A full value refers to how much was paid for the property the last time it was sold.