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Legislative Campaign 2018-19

 

A Call for Legislative Advocacy

 

WHERE WE ARE NOW

On July 5, 2018, Judge Rakower in the New York Supreme Court ruled to nullify DFS Regulation 208.

 

The DFS filed an appeal with the Appellate Division-First Department on August 6th.  The Appellate Division hearing before a four-judge panel took place on October 9, 2018.

 

If the DFS appeal is denied, they will almost certainly file with the Court of Appeals.

 

There are other possible outcomes such as the case being remanded to the Supreme Court or a split decision.

 

WHAT WE ARE DOING NEXT

If the DFS does not ultimately succeed in the courts, we believe they will pursue this attempt to change public policy with a new and more artfully drafted regulation.

 

The NYSLTA believes public policy should be set by the elected legislature.

 

In that spirit, our strategy is to win the support of the State Senate and the Assembly to draft legislation that protects consumers, ensures fair play and provides a level playing field for the title insurance industry.

 

Our plan is to activate all NYSLTA Members to contact their legislators so legislation can be introduced in the 2019 session.

 

The NYSLTA will seek to serve as a sounding board for the people designated to draft legislation - legislature’s central staff and the respective insurance committee chairs in the Assembly and the Senate.

 

HOW DID WE GET HERE

In 2014, following more than a decade of advocacy by the NYSLTA, title insurance agents became licensed insurance producers under the insurance law.

 

In 2016, the DFS proposed Regulation 208 which placed numerous burdens on the industry. With the stated intention of lowering costs for consumers, we raised concerns that the regulation would increase costs for consumers, cause independent title agents to go out of business, accelerate industry consolidation, put independent Closers out of existence, and restrict title agents sales and marketing activities.

 

Regulation 208 went into effect October 18, 2017, with some conditions activating in December 2017.  At the request of the Assembly and Senate Insurance Committee Chairs and others, the DFS extended the activation date to January 2018.

 

On February 20, 2018, NYSLTA and two independent title agents as co-petitioners, filed an action in the New York State Supreme Court -New York County, under Article 78 of the CPLR.  As noted above, the court ruled in our favor and nullified Regulation 208.

 

WHAT DOES THE TITLE INDUSTRY WANT?

As an industry, we must decide what permissions we need and restrictions we can operate under. 

 

This discussion is already underway within each underwriter organization and among the title agents.

 

After a year of litigation and countless meetings with legislators, certain points have come up repeatedly. To start the discussion, here are some of the key issues we have heard.

 

  • We need to conduct reasonable and normal activities to market our businesses and establish functional relationships with potential clients.
  • We want to retain the traditional role of Closers and to ensure fair compensation for their services.
  • We want title insurance premiums to be computed according to the established statutory processes, with appropriate levels of transparency.
  • We want clear and documented guidance from our regulator.
  • We want regular and collaborative engagement with our regulator.
  • We want fair compensation for non-title insurance services as requested by attorneys and their clients.

 

 


 

Resources for Legislative Advocacy

 

The NYSLTA seeks the introduction of legislation to clarify public policy in the area of title insurance.

 

We urge NYSLTA Members and all title insurance professionals to communicate to their legislators about the importance of clear legislation to protect consumers, ensure fair play and provide a level playing field for the title insurance industry.

 

How do I contact my legislators?

Use these links to determine the name and contact information of your State Senator and Assembly Member.

 

NYS Assembly

 

NYS Senate

 

What are the messages we want to communicate?

 

Here is a sample message you can use to call your legislators or leave as a voice-mail.

 

Senator/Assembly Member __________________

 

I work in the title insurance industry. I am calling to ask you to contact your leadership about the need for the legislature to do something about DFS regulatory overreach.

 

The title industry went to the courts to seek relief and the DFS regulation was overturned. Now DFS has appealed the decision. Our lawyers have advised us it could take a year for this to reach a final decision. The title insurance market cannot survive an extended period of uncertainty.

 

The legislature made a start last session with bills to provide sound public policy but unfortunately those bills have not yet been enacted into law.

 

Faced with DFS regulatory overreach, these bills or similar legislation, need to become law.

  

We need the legislature to protect consumers, ensure fair play and provide a level playing field for the title insurance industry.

 

If you want more information about this situation, I can ask our trade association and our representative in Albany to call on you.

 

Can I count on your support now and in the coming legislative session?

 

Thank you

My name again is......., I live at ......... and my email is..........

 

 

The NYSLTA is developing a set of Talking Points to normalize our communication and enable the industry to send a consistent message to the lawmakers.

 

It is equally important to tell NYSLTA about your conversation with the legislators and their staff.  We need to know what they are telling you in response.

 

Keep in mind - this is a conversation, which we want to continue throughout the legislative session.

  

 

What else can I do? How can I stay involved and informed?

 

#1 - Every title professional should join the Title Action Network (TAN). When important state or national issues arise, you will get an email alert from TAN. Clicking the Take Action button will send an email to your legislator. TAN allows you to use a pre-written message or you can edit and customize the alert to use your own words and your own thoughts on the issue.

 

Click here to join TAN.

 

#2 - Be sure you are receiving NYSLTA email blasts. Email info@nyslta.org and ask to check the distribution list. 

 

Often, Members are on the email list but messages are blocked by your SPAM filters. We can work with your IT staff to "white list" our IP addresses. Call Bob Treuber for help with this.

 

#3 -  Subscribe to the Newsblog. You will get an email notification every time a new item is posted. Click "Newsblog How To"  to download a PDF with simple instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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