Sec. 21.66.200. Title plant requirements.
A title insurance company shall own and maintain in the recording district in which its principal office in the state is located a title plant consisting of adequate maps and fully indexed records showing all instruments of record affecting all land within the recording district for a period of at least 25 years immediately before the date a policy of title insurance is issued by the title insurance company. It shall also directly or through its agent own and maintain a comparable title plant for each additional recording district in which it or its agent maintains an office to transact a title insurance business.
Sec. 21.66.210. Joint plant companies.
(a) Two or more title insurance companies or two or more title insurance limited producers, or a combination of title insurance companies and title insurance limited producers, may apply to the director of insurance to form an association, corporation, or other legal entity, for the purpose of engaging in the business of preparing abstracts of title searches from public records or from records to be owned by the entity, upon the basis of which a title insurance limited producer or a title insurance company will issue title policies. The owners or participants are considered to be in compliance with the provisions of this section and AS 21.66.200 if the title plant of the association, corporation, or other legal entity complies with the provisions of this section. The application must contain
(1) a copy of the proposed articles of incorporation or association and the bylaws or agreement governing the operation of the entity;
(2) a list of the owners or participants;
(3) the names and addresses of the persons who will operate the entity, with a description of their experience and qualifications;
(4) the conditions under which ownership or participation in the entity may be sold or acquired;
(5) a statement of whether or not title information will be compiled and sold to persons other than owners of or participants in the entity;
(6) a pro forma balance sheet and other financial information to indicate the sufficiency of financing the entity.
(b) If the director finds that (1) the entity will be adequately financed, (2) the persons who will be operating the entity are qualified and (3) the rules of operation as expressed in the articles of incorporation or association and the bylaws will promote the efficiency of the operation of the subscribing owners or participants and will not unduly restrict competition, the director shall issue a certificate of authority to the entity and permit it to organize. Each application under this section shall be granted or denied in whole or in part by the director within 60 days from the date it is filed. A certificate of authority issued under this section remains in effect until suspended or revoked by the director. The fee for the certificate of authority is set under AS 21.06.250 . The certificate of authority is subject to annual continuation. The fee for continuation is set under AS 21.06.250 . A certificate of authority issued under this section may be suspended or revoked by the director after hearing upon notice if the entity ceases to operate as provided in the application or if the director determines that the operation has become a restraint on competition and is not in the interests of the public. Every entity issued a certificate of authority under this section shall notify the director promptly of every change occurring under this section.
Sec. 21.66.220. Net retained liability.
(a) The net retained liability of a title insurance company under a single title insurance risk assumed in this state may not exceed 50 percent of the net amount remaining after deducting from the sum of its capital, surplus, unearned premium reserve, and voluntary reserves, the value, if any, assigned in the summation to its title plants, as shown in its most recent report on file with the director. The same limitation applies to any secondary risk assumed by means of reinsurance or to a policy of excess co-insurance. Upon application by a title insurance company and the showing of good cause, the director may waive the limitation in connection with the assumption of a particular risk.
(b) Nothing in this section is intended to limit the amount of a single insurance risk, as defined in AS 21.66.480 , that may be written or assumed by a title insurance company, if (1) it cedes to one or more other title insurance companies, on or before the effective date of the writing or assumption, the portion, or portions, of the risk sufficient to bring its net retained liability within the limits provided in this section; and (2) each cession of risk is also within the limits of this section as applied to the sum of the capital, surplus, unearned premium reserve, and voluntary reserves, less the value, if any, assigned in the summation to the title plants of the assuming and reinsuring title insurance company, as shown by its most recent report on file with the director or commissioner of insurance in the state of its domicile.
Sec. 21.66.230. Power to reinsure.
A title insurance company authorized to engage in the business of title insurance in this state may cede reinsurance of all or any part of its liability under one or more of its policies or contracts of reinsurance agreements to a title insurance company authorized to engage in the business of title insurance in this or any other state or the District of Columbia. However, no larger amount of reinsurance may be assumed by a title insurance company on a single policy, or contract of title insurance, or on any single title insurance risk as defined in AS 21.66.480 , than the title insurance company would be permitted to retain if authorized to engage in the business of title insurance in this state. It may also reinsure policies of title insurance issued by other companies on risks whether located in or out of this state. A title insurance company authorized to transact business in this state shall pay to this state taxes required on all business taxable in this state and reinsured, as provided in this section, with any foreign or alien company not authorized to do business in this state. Issuance of contracts of reinsurance by a title insurance company not authorized to engage in the business of title insurance in a state or the District of Columbia, reinsuring a title insurance company authorized to engage in the business of title insurance in this state on property located in this state, does not of itself constitute the doing of business in this state by the reinsuring company.
Sec. 21.66.240. Title plants.
A title insurance company may invest in title plants if it complies at all times with the minimum capital investment requirements under this chapter. A title plant shall be considered an asset at its fair value. In determining the fair value of a title plant, no value may be attributed to furniture and fixtures, and the real estate in which the title plant is housed shall be carried as real estate. The value of title abstracts, title briefs, copies of conveyances or other documents, indices, and other records comprising the title plant shall be determined by considering the expenses incurred in obtaining them, the age of them, the cost of replacements less depreciation, and all other relevant factors. Once the value of a title plant is determined under this section, the value may be increased only by the acquisition of another title plant by purchase, consolidation, or merger; however, in no event may the value of the title plant be increased by additions made to it as part of the normal course of abstracting and insuring titles to real estate. Subject to the limitations in this section and with the approval of the director as provided by AS 21.66.210 , a title insurance company may enter into agreements with other title insurance companies to participate in the use, ownership, management, and control of a title plant in order to service the needs of all the title insurance companies, or the title insurance companies may hold stock of a corporation owning and operating a title plant for this purpose.
Sec. 21.66.250. Trust funds.
Except as provided in AS 34.80, trust funds or assets held in a fiduciary capacity by a title insurance company that is authorized to do a trust business shall be invested in accordance with AS 06.26.
Sec. 21.66.260. Title insurance agents certification. [Repealed, Sec. 223 ch 67 SLA 1992].
Repealed or Renumbered
Sec. 21.66.270. Title insurance limited producers to be licensed.
A title insurance limited producer shall be licensed in the manner provided for in AS 21.27. A title insurance limited producer may not be licensed to sell insurance other than title insurance.
Sec. 21.66.280. Title insurance limited producers, books, and records.
(a) In addition to any other requirement of this title, a title insurance limited producer licensee shall maintain books of accounts and records and vouchers pertaining to the business of title insurance in a manner that the director, or an authorized representative, may readily ascertain whether the licensee has complied with the provisions of this chapter.
(b) A title insurance limited producer licensee may engage in the business of handling escrows, settlements, and closings in connection with the business of title insurance; however,
(1) the licensee shall maintain a separate record of all receipts and disbursements of escrow funds and may not commingle the funds with personal funds or with funds held by the licensee in any other capacity;
(2) the licensee shall comply with the standards of solvency that the director requires; and
(3) the licensee shall submit financial statements that the director requires.
(c) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, if the director determines that a title insurance limited producer licensee has failed to comply with a provision of this section, the director may, after a hearing, revoke the limited producer license.
Sec. 21.66.290. Title insurance limited producer replies to director inquiries.
A title insurance limited producer shall reply in writing promptly, with a copy of the reply mailed to each title insurance company for which the licensee is acting, to an inquiry of the director relating to the licensee's acts as a title insurance limited producer. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, failure to reply is a ground for revocation of the license. A copy of the inquiry shall be sent by the director to each title insurance company for which the licensee is acting.
Sec. 21.66.300. Certain names prohibited.
A title insurance limited producer for a title insurance company may not adopt a firm name containing the words "title insurance", "title guaranty", or "title guarantee", unless the words are followed by the words "agent" or "agency" in the same size and type as the words preceding them. This section does not apply to a title insurance company acting as an agent for another title insurance company.
Sec. 21.66.310. Rebates prohibited.
(a) A title insurer, or officer, employee, attorney, or title insurance limited producer of a title insurer, may not pay, allow, or give or offer to pay, allow, or give, directly or indirectly, as an inducement to obtaining a title insurance business, a rebate, reduction, or abatement of a rate or charge made incident to the issuance of the title insurance, a special favor or advantage, money consideration, or other inducement. A charge made incident to the issuance of the insurance is construed to include, without limitation, escrow, settlement, and closing charges.
(b) An insured named in a title insurance policy or any other person directly or indirectly connected with the transaction involving the issuance of a title insurance policy, including, but not limited to a mortgage lender, real estate broker, builder, or attorney, or an officer, employee, agent, representative, or solicitor of a mortgage lender, real estate broker, builder, attorney, or other person, may not knowingly receive or accept, directly or indirectly, a rebate, reduction, or abatement of a charge or premium or a special favor or advantage, or a monetary consideration or inducement.
(c) Nothing in this section prohibits
(1) the payment of fees for services actually rendered as a result of a title insurance transaction; or
(2) the payment of a commission to a legally appointed title insurance limited producer who issues the policy of title insurance.
Sec. 21.66.330. Examination of records.
If the director has reason to believe that a title insurance limited producer has violated or is in violation of AS 21.66.310 , the director shall immediately examine the title insurance limited producer's books of account and record and vouchers pertaining to the business of title insurance. The title insurance limited producer shall pay to the director the cost of an examination conducted under this section.
Sec. 21.66.340. Additional penalty for rebates.
A person who violates AS 21.66.310 is liable to the state for five times the amount or value of the rebate, reduction, or abatement of any rate or charge made incident to the issuance of title insurance, or a special favor or advantage, or a monetary consideration or inducement.
Sec. 21.66.350. Division of rates.
Nothing in this chapter prohibits the division of rates and charges between or among a title insurance company and its agent, two or more title insurance companies, one or more title insurance companies and one or more title insurance limited producers, or two or more title insurance limited producers if the division of rates and charges does not constitute an unlawful rebate and is not in payment of a forwarding fee or finder's fee.
Sec. 21.66.360. Purpose of title insurance rate regulation.
The purpose of AS 21.66.370 - 21.66.400 is to promote the public welfare by regulating title insurance rates so that they are not excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, and to authorize cooperative action between or among title insurance companies in rate making and other matters within the scope of this chapter. Nothing in this chapter is intended to prohibit or discourage uniformity in title insurance rates, rating systems, and rating plans and practices.
Sec. 21.66.370. Rate filing.
(a) A title insurance company shall file with the director its schedules of rates, manuals of classifications, rules and plans relating to schedules of rates or manuals of classification, and every modification of the schedules or manuals that it proposes to use in this state. A filing under this section must contain the effective dates of the documents filed, and indicate the character and extent of the coverage contemplated.
(b) The director shall review the filings as necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
(c) Subject to the provisions of (e) of this section, a filing shall be on file for a period of 30 days before it becomes effective. The director may, upon written notice given within the 30-day period to the person making the filing, extend the waiting period for an additional period, not to exceed 30 days, in order to complete the review of the filing. Additional extensions of the waiting period may also be made with the consent of the title insurance company. Upon written application by the title insurance company, the director, after review of the application, may authorize a filing or any part of it to become effective upon the expiration of the waiting period or its extension.
(d) Except for rates filed under (e) of this section, a filing that has become effective is considered to meet the requirements of this chapter.
(e) When the director finds that a rate for a particular kind or class of risk cannot practicably be filed before it is used, or any contract or kind of title insurance, by reason of rarity or peculiar circumstances, does not lend itself to advance determination and filing of rates, the director may, under appropriate regulations, permit the rate to be used without a previous filing and waiting period.
(f) A title insurance company or title insurance limited producer may not charge a rate for a policy or contract of title insurance except in accordance with filings or rates that are in effect for the title insurance company as provided in this chapter.
(g) The director may not regulate, or require the filing of, rates paid by title insurance companies for reinsurance contracts or agreements, or policies of excess co-insurance.
Sec. 21.66.380. Justification for rates.
(a) A rate filing shall be accompanied by a statement of the title insurance company making the filing, setting out the basis on which the rate was determined, with the rates computed. A filing of rates may be justified by
(1) the experience or judgment of the title insurance company making the filing;
(2) its interpretation of any statistical data relied upon;
(3) the experience of other title insurance companies making the filings; or
(4) any other factors that the title insurance company considers relevant.
(b) The statement and justification provided for in this section shall be open to public inspection; however, information that can be used to identify the experience of a particular title insurance limited producer is confidential.
Sec. 21.66.390. Making of rates.
(a) A title insurance company shall make rates that are not excessive or inadequate, that do not unfairly discriminate between risks in this state that involve essentially the same exposure to loss and expense elements, and that give due consideration to
(1) the desirability for stability of rate structures;
(2) the necessity of assuring the financial solvency of title insurance companies in periods of economic depression by encouraging growth in assets of title insurance companies in periods of high business activity;
(3) the necessity for assuring a reasonable margin of underwriting and operating profit; and
(4) investment income.
(b) A title insurance company shall adopt basic classifications of policies or contracts of title insurance that shall be used as the basis for rate-making.
Sec. 21.66.400. Disapproval of filings.
(a) If within the waiting period provided for in AS 21.66.370 (c) the director finds that a filing does not meet the requirements of this chapter, the director shall send to the title insurance company that made the filing written notice of disapproval of the filing specifying in what respects the director finds the filing fails to meet the requirements of this chapter and stating that the filing may not become effective.
(b) If at any time after the applicable review period provided for in AS 21.66.370 (c) the director finds that a filing does not meet the requirements of this chapter, the director shall, before issuing an order of disapproval, hold a hearing upon not less than 10 days written notice, specifying in reasonable detail the matters to be considered at the hearing. Notice of hearing shall be given to each title insurance company that made the filing, and if, after the hearing, the director finds that the filing or a part of the filing does not meet the requirements of this chapter, the director shall issue an order specifying how it is deficient, and when, within a reasonable period thereafter, the filing or a part of it is considered no longer effective. A title insurance company has the right to withdraw a filing or a part of a filing. Copies of the order issued under this section shall be sent to every title insurance company affected. The order does not affect a contract or policy made or issued before the expiration of the period set out in the order.
(c) A person or organization aggrieved with respect to a filing that is in effect may make a written application to the director for a hearing on the filing. The title insurance company that made the filing may not proceed under this subsection. The application shall specify in reasonable detail the grounds to be relied on by the applicant. If the director finds that the application is made in good faith, that the applicant would be aggrieved if the applicant's grounds are established, and that the applicant's grounds otherwise justify holding a hearing, the director shall, within 60 days after receipt of the application, hold a hearing upon not less than 10 days written notice to the applicant and to each title insurance company that made such a filing. If, after the hearing, the director finds that the filing or a part of it does not meet the requirements of this chapter, the director shall issue an order specifying how the filing or a part of it fails to meet the requirements of this chapter, stating when, within a reasonable period after the order is issued, the filing or a part of it is considered no longer effective. Copies of the order shall be sent to the applicant and to every affected title insurance company. The order does not affect a contract or policy made or issued before the expiration of the period set out in the order.
(d) A title insurance company to which the director has issued an order made without a hearing may, within 30 days after notice to it of the order, make a written request to the director for a hearing. The director shall hear the party or parties within 60 days after receipt of the request and shall give not less than 10 days written notice of the time and place of the hearing. Within 15 days after the hearing the director shall affirm, reverse, or modify the previous action, specifying the reasons. Pending the hearing and decision the director may suspend or postpone the effective date of the previous action.
(e) A hearing under this section is not required to observe formal rules of pleading or evidence.
(f) A filing or modification of a filing may not be disapproved if the rates in connection with the filing meet the requirements of this chapter.