In an effort to expedite the closing of real estate transactions, the Oklahoma Legislature has adopted substantial revisions to 36 O.S. §5001 which will become effective November 1, 2018. Most of these revisions apply to licensed title producers or insurers and are aimed at facilitating the sharing of prior owner’s title insurance policies as between title companies. However, at least one section may have broader application and could affect the recording process for clients such as attorneys and lenders who choose to conduct their own real estate closings in cases where owner’s title insurance is involved.
Section 5001(F) provides that every “person” who conducts a real estate closing “that presents, for filing in the office of the county clerk, an instrument of conveyance or vesting title in connection with a transaction in which an owner’s policy title insurance is to be issued by a title insurance producer or title insurer that is based upon such instrument shall place a legend within the instrument that sets forth the following information (emphasis supplied):
Deed presented for filing by: [Name of title insurance producer, title insurer or person conducting closing]
File Number: [File number of title insurance producer, title insurer or person conducting closing]
[Name of Title Insurer designated in the Commitment for Title Insurance].”
The statute itself prescribes no penalty for non-compliance. New subsection (H) of Section 5001 states that the Insurance Commissioner “may” promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the statute, but we are not aware of any such regulations issued to date.
We can’t help but wonder if the legislature intended to address these statutory requirements only to title companies (whose practices are otherwise governed by 36 O.S. §5001, et seq.). However, until further clarification from the legislature or the adoption of administrative rules by the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner, it may be advisable to include in any deed which forms the basis for an owner’s title insurance policy the filer’s information and other matters set out above.