Title Company, Agency and Agent Requirements
Title Company, Agency and Agent Requirements …
Unique and Unusual Filings
Unfair Inducements or Prohibited Acts
Title Company, Agency and Agent Requirements
All insurance agents and agencies are required to maintain a current email address on file with the Department. The Department will utilize this email address to send reminders and other important communications about the requirements discussed below. In addition, all filings with the Department must be made electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Title” in the subject line. Filings made in paper format will be rejected, which may result in a delay in the effective date of your filing.
Agents or Agencies handling Escrow, Settlement or Closing Accounts
Note: The requirements discussed below apply to individual title insurance agents that are not employed by a title insurance agency. An agency’s compliance with the bond/letter of credit requirements, rate and charges filing requirements and audit filing requirements fulfill these requirements for agents affiliated with and employed by that agency.
- Bond / Letter of Credit Requirements: All agents/agencies that handle escrow, settlement or closing accounts are required to file a surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit with the Department. Requirements for a bond or letter of credit are set forth in K.S.A. 40-1139. A sample bond form can be found here.
- If a title agent/agency is not handling escrow, settlement or closing accounts, the agent/agency must submit a letter to the Department stating they will not be performing those services.
- Amount of Bond or Letter of Credit: The required amount of a bond of letter of credit depends upon the population in which the property is located where escrow, settlement or closing services are provided. See the Title section under Limited Lines of Authority on the Department’s webpage for these amounts.
- If a title agent/agency will be handling escrow, settlement or closing services, prior to when the license will be issued, the original bond or letter of credit with all necessary stamps, seals and signatures must be mailed to the Department, at Kansas Insurance Department, Attn: Producer Licensing Division, 1300 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, Kansas 66604.
- Cancellation of bond or letter of credit: If the Department receives notification that a bond or letter of credit has been canceled, it must be replaced within 30 days, or the Department will take action against the agent’s/agency’s license.
- Rate Filing Requirement: In addition, charges for any service customarily provided by a title insurance agent or affiliated entity that is not included in the rates shall be disclosed when the rates are filed with the commissioner. “Charges” refer to non-insurance-related charges. These include closing costs, escrow charges, document preparation, ancillary services commitments, etc. A sample from/format for filing charges for escrow/closing and other services can be found here. This includes typical charges for escrow/closing and other services that are common to most title insurance agents and agencies in this state. Any agency can utilize this format for filing charges with the Department or file charges using its own format.
- Annual Audit: K.S.A. 40-1137(d) requires all agents/agencies handling escrow, settlement or closing accounts to have an annual audit conducted by a certified public accountant or title insurance underwriter with whom the agent or agency has a contact. Annual audit reports must be submitted to the Kansas Insurance Department within 30 days of the close of the calendar year for which the audit is required. Audit reports must be submitted to the Department via email to email@example.com with “Title” in the subject line. Audit reports not timely submitted will subject the agency to monetary penalties.
Agents or Agencies NOT handling Escrow, Settlement or Closing Accounts
If a title agent/agency is not handling escrow, settlement or closing accounts, the agent/agency must submit a letter to the Department stating they will not be performing those services. The letter must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Title” in the subject line.
Insurance companies/underwriters: Insurance companies issuing the title policy in Kansas are required to file policy forms with the Department via SERFF according to K.S.A. 40-216(a)(2)(A). In addition, under K.S.A. 40-952(c) companies must file the rates, rate manuals, rate plans, and charges to be used in connection with approved title policy forms.
Insurance Agents/Agencies: The underwriter does not make filings on behalf of their appointed agents or agencies. K.S.A. 40-952(c) requires all insurance agents and agencies to file rates and charges with the Department in connection with real estate transactions on property located in counties having a population of 10,000 or more. This is true whether the title agent or agency wants to deviate from rates and charges filed with the Department by the insurance company/underwriter, or wants to utilize the same rates as those filed by the underwriter. (In the latter case, they must file those rates as their own with the Department.) Click on these links for sample forms/formats for filing title insurance rates for commercial and residential properties. An agency can utilize these formats for filing charges with the Department, or file charges using its own format.
Charges for services not included in cost of insurance: In addition, charges for any service customarily provided by a title insurance agent or affiliated entity that is not included in the rates shall be disclosed when the rates are filed with the commissioner. “Charges” refer to non-insurance-related charges. These include closing costs, escrow charges, document preparation, ancillary services, commitments, etc. A sample form/format for filing charges for escrow/closing and other services can be found here. This includes typical charges for escrow/closing or other services that are common to most title insurance agents and agencies in this state. An agency can utilize this format for filing charges with the Department, or file charges using its own format.
Specific rates and charges are required to be filed. The Department will not accept ranges of rates and charges such as “from $10 to $100.”
Note: An agency’s filing covers all agents working for the agency, unless an employed or affiliated agent will use different rates and charges than those filed by the agency. An agent would also file their own rates and charges if they were working alone and not affiliated with an agency.
If the transaction involved property in a county with a population of less than 10,000, the rates and charges are not required to be filed with the Department. However, the agent/agency must submit a letter or email to the Department verifying that it does not handle transactions for properties located in counties with over 10,000 in population. Click here for a list of Kansas Counties with populations under 10,000 as of 2020.
Title agent/agency rate filings, or a letter (or email) verifying that the agent/agency does not handle transactions for properties located in counties with more than 10,000 in population, must be submitted to the Department via email to email@example.com with “Title” in the subject line.
As all title rate and charges filings are available for public inspection under the Kansas Open Records Act, the Department makes these filings available here, so there is no need to file a KORA request.
Unique and Unusual Filings
- In situations where it can be clearly demonstrated that a particular risk presents unique or unusual conditions of exposure or hazard such that the application of the normal rating procedure does not produce a reasonable and equitable rate for the risk, such risk may be treated on an individual basis. In these circumstances, if a title agent or agency wants to deviate from their filed rates and charges, they must submit a Unique and Unusual (U&U) filing in accordance with Bulletin 1989-31. U&U filings are made on an individual basis, prior to quotations or being made effective, and must contain the following:,
- Name of insured/proposed insured;
- Property location;
- Policy/commitment/file number;
- Proposed charge/rate;
- Filed charge/rate; and
- Reason for deviation.
- U&U filings must be electronically filed with the Department by completing the Unique and Unusual Rule: Title Insurance Individual Risk Filing Form and using the submit function beneath the form.
Unfair Inducements or Prohibited Acts
K.S.A. 40-2404(14) prohibits rebates or other inducements in title insurance.
K.A.R. 40-3-42 provides what acts constitutes a rebate or unlawful inducement in the marketing of title insurance.
Inquiries on rebating, unfair inducements, or prohibited acts should be referred to the Department’s Legal Division.
- Under K.A.R. 40-3-43, controlled or affiliated title business refers to any portion of a title insurer or agency’s business that was referred to it by a “producer of title business” if the producer of title business has a financial interest in the title agency receiving the referral.
- K.S.A. 40-2404(14)(e)(iv) defines “producer of title business” as “any person, including any officer, director or owner of 5% or more of the equity or capital or both of any person, engaged in this state in the trade, business, occupation or profession of performing certain transactions involving real property (or acting as a broker or representing for a persons involved in such transactions), including buying or selling, and making loans secured by property, or borrowing or lending money for such transactions.
- A title agency may receive no more than 70% of their closed title orders from a controlled source during the 12 full calendar months immediately preceding the month in which a controlled transaction takes place. See K.S.A. 40-2404(14)(g) “Closed title order” is defined in K.A.R. 40-3-43.
- The controlled business requirements do not apply to any real estate transactions involving property located in a county with a population of 10,000 or less.
- Under K.A.R. 40-3-52, any title agency involved in a controlled business arrangement is required to provider certain notifications to the Department.
- K.S.A. 40-2404(14)(h) requires that within 90 days of the end of the business year as established by the title agent, a report be submitted to the Department stating the percentage of closed title order originating from controlled business.
Notifications required under K.A.R. 40-3-52 and K.S.A. 40-2404(14(h) must be submitted to the Department via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Title” in the subject line.
- K.S.A. 40-2404(14)(i) and Department Bulletin 2004-6 require certain disclosures be made to any consumers involved in a controlled business transaction.