2021 ALTA Forms & New Requirements

Dear Members,

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the storm. Many of you were hit and hit hard. If there is a way we can help with your operations, please let me know what you need. Be sure to include your contact information so that we can get back in touch with you. 

If you are willing to offer resources (office space, conference rooms, computer access) to Members who have been affected, please let us know and we will connect you with those who need help. 

We are here for you. 

The world continues to turn and people still want to buy and sell property too. Here are some things for you to know about.

ALTA 2021 Forms are here!  Well, almost. New commitment, owners and loan policies, and several new and/or amended endorsements have been approved by Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, with an effective date of October 3. Incorporating these new forms into our production systems to make them available to our Members has been….and continues to be…..a huge undertaking. We will provide several opportunities for you to learn more about the new forms but, for now, let's keep it simple.  Here are some bullet points for your review:

  • Beginning October 5, our branches will be using the new commitment forms and no longer issuing the "old" commitment form. 
    • If you "download" this new commitment into your software, it will likely convert it to the "old" commitment form (because your software has probably not been updated; if it has, no conversion will take place).
    • It is perfectly fine to continue to issue the "old" commitment form.  At some future date, OIR will decertify the "old" forms and you will no longer be able to use them.  We will keep you posted on this date with plenty of advance notice.
  • The new policy and endorsement forms will be incorporated into our title production system in the near future. We will let you know when this is completed.
  • DoubleTime and eClosing are in the process of updating the forms through their software. We will keep you posted as to those availability dates. But no problem!  Read on……
  • You can continue to issue the "old" policy and endorsement forms even if you issued a commitment on the new 2021 form. You can continue to utilize those forms in DoubleTime and ECDT for your policy production.
  • If you want or need to issue a 2021 owners or loan policy, or any of the new endorsements, they will be available in PDF fillable format on the website (www.thefund.com) on Wednesday October 5, 2022.  2021 policy jackets will also be available in ePolicyManager. YOU WILL NEED YOUR FUNDNET USER NAME AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS THESE FORMS on the website.
    • If you issue your own commitments, the new form will also be available on the website in a PDF fillable format.
  • To keep up with all of the news on the 2021 Forms, here is a link.  https://www.thefund.com/information-center/alta.aspx

Whew!  Enough bullets. If you have questions, contact me or underwriting@thefund.com. You can also call 800-432-9594.

RON update.  Many of you are taking advantage of the convenience of having documents signed via Remote Online Notarization but have encountered a new requirement for documented underwriting approval for your transaction from some of the RON platforms.  Here are important things for you to note if you need to utilize RON for a transaction:

  • If the signer is a non-US citizen, you must get underwriting approval for your transaction if you want to utilize RON.  This is not new but I am reminding you of this requirement.
  • If your RON platform requires documentation of underwriting approval, please let the underwriting attorney with whom you are working know this and they will provide you with documentation of our approval.

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me at mmurphy@thefund.com or Michael Rothman at mrothman@thefund.com.  You can also reach out to underwriting@thefund.com.

Beneficial Ownership disclosure update.  You might be interested in this.  FinCEN has proposed some rules surrounding the reporting requirements for ownership of entities buying/selling properties (and engaging in other types of business in the US). They are moving along in the finalization of these rules.  ALTA submitted a comment letter earlier this year in response to FinCEN’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). Here's a link to the letter, which makes for good reading! https://www.thefund.com/info/fincen/alta-fincen-comment-letter.pdf The final rule could be released in the next 30-60 days.

That's all for this week.

Let me know how we can help you.

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel