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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 14. Insurance
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission, Bureau of Insurance
Chapter 395. Rules Governing Settlement Agents

14VAC5-395-20. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Agent" or "insurance agent" means an individual or business entity that sells, solicits, or negotiates contracts of title insurance in the Commonwealth.

"Bureau" means the State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance.

"Business entity" means a partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or other legal entity other than a sole proprietorship, professional corporation, or professional limited liability company.

"Chapter 10" means Chapter 10 (§ 55.1-1000 et seq.) of Title 55.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Designated licensed producer" means an individual who (i) possesses a valid license to sell, solicit, or negotiate contracts of title insurance in the Commonwealth; (ii) is appointed; (iii) is an officer, director, or employee of the business entity; and (iv) is responsible for the business entity's compliance with the insurance laws, rules, and regulations of this Commonwealth.

"Employee" means an individual (i) whose manner and means of performance of work are subject to the right of control of, or are controlled by, a person and (ii) whose compensation for federal income tax purposes is reported, or required to be reported, on a W-2 form issued by the controlling person.

"Escrow, closing, or settlement services" means the administrative and clerical services required to carry out the terms of contracts affecting real estate. These services include (i) placing orders for title insurance; (ii) receiving and issuing receipts for money received from the parties; (iii) ordering loan checks and payoffs; (iv) ordering surveys and inspections; (v) preparing settlement statements or Closing Disclosure forms; (vi) determining that all closing documents conform to the parties' contract requirements; (vii) setting the closing appointment; (viii) following up with the parties to ensure that the transaction progresses to closing; (ix) ascertaining that the lenders' instructions have been satisfied; (x) conducting a closing conference at which the documents are executed; (xi) receiving and disbursing funds; (xii) completing form documents and instruments selected by and in accordance with instructions of the parties to the transaction; (xiii) handling or arranging for the recording of documents; (xiv) sending recorded documents to the lender; (xv) sending the recorded deed and the title policy to the buyer; and (xvi) reporting federal income tax information for the real estate sale to the Internal Revenue Service.

"Lay real estate settlement agent" means a person who (i) is not licensed as an attorney under Chapter 39 (§ 54.1-3900 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia, (ii) is not a party to the real estate transaction, (iii) provides escrow, closing or settlement services in connection with a transaction related to any real estate in this Commonwealth, and (iv) is listed as the settlement agent on the settlement statement or Closing Disclosure for the transaction.

"Settlement agent" means a person, other than a party to the real estate transaction, who provides escrow, closing, or settlement services in connection with a transaction related to real estate in the Commonwealth and who is listed as the settlement agent on the settlement statement or Closing Disclosure for the transaction. Any person, other than a party to the transaction, who conducts the settlement conference and receives or handles money shall be deemed a "settlement agent" subject to the applicable requirements of Chapter 10 and this chapter.

"Title insurance agency" or "title insurance agent" means any individual or business entity licensed in the Commonwealth, pursuant to Chapter 18 (§ 38.2-1800 et seq.) of Title 38.2 of the Code of Virginia, as a title insurance agent and appointed by a title insurance company licensed in the Commonwealth who shall perform all of the following services (for which liability arises) relevant to the issuance of title insurance policies, subject to the underwriting directives and guidelines of the agent's title insurance company. These services shall include (i) the evaluation of the title search to determine the insurability of the title, (ii) a determination of whether or not underwriting objections have been cleared, (iii) the actual issuance of a title commitment or binder and endorsements, and (iv) the actual issuance of the policy and endorsements on behalf of the title insurance company. A title insurance agent holding funds in escrow shall promptly deposit the funds in a trust account in a financial institution authorized to do business in this Commonwealth. This trust account shall be separate from all other accounts held by the agent.

"Title insurance company" means any company licensed to transact, or transacting, title insurance in this Commonwealth.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 55.1-1012 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. September 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 4, eff. October 20, 1999; Volume 18, Issue 21, eff. June 3, 2002; Volume 27, Issue 4, eff. October 25, 2010; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 4, eff. October 14, 2019.

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