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Texas Agencies

Questions and Answers

Note: These Frequently Asked Questions are provided with the understanding that Stewart Title Guaranty Company is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or services. If legal advice or services or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Stewart Title Guaranty Company does not guarantee that the answers are current or correct.

What is a Certificate of Good Standing?  Where do I get it? 
“Certificate of Account Status,” sometimes called “Certificate of Good Standing” will no longer be available from the Comptroller’s office.  Instead, website users may print a taxpayer’s Franchise Tax Account Status page to accomplish the same purposes.  A printed copy of the webpage displaying the Title agent’s Franchise Tax Account Status, is available on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ website at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/coasintr.html.

Where do I obtain E&O insurance? 
If you are interested in purchasing this type of insurance, Stewart Specialty Insurance Solutions can help you. They are an insurance agency that offers many types of Insurance carriers.

Can I operate without a license?  What if my license package has been submitted to the Texas Department of Insurance? 
According to the rules and regulations of the Texas Department of Insurance, "no person, firm, association or corporation shall act as an agent for any title insurance company, domestic or foreign without first having been licensed by the Texas Department of Insurance." This applies even if the Texas Department of Insurance has your license package and you are waiting approval.  (Subtitle D, Chapter 2651, Subchapter A, Sec. 2651.001, (a).) Texas Department of Insurance- Title Insurance Basic Manual

Can I operate if my license is expired? 
No, if your license is expired you no longer have the ability to issue Title Insurance.  You will need to re-license. (Subtitle D, Chapter 2651, Subchapter A, Sec. 2651.001, (a).) Texas Department of Insurance- Title Insurance Basic Manual

Can I operate without an escrow officer?  How many hours of continuing education do I need to have? 
The Texas Department of Insurance requires at least one escrow officer to operate or open a title company with in the State of Texas. That individual needs to be a bona fide employee of the Title Agent and will be required to have 10 continuing education hours every 2 years. The one exception is in the case of a Sole Proprietorship, which perform the duties of an Escrow Officer without having a separate Escrow Officer License.  (Section IV, page 21, P-28, ii) Texas Department of Insurance- Title Insurance Basic Manual

Am I required to be a Texas resident in order to be a licensed Escrow Officer?
The Texas Department of Insurance requires that all Escrow Officers reside in the State or in a State adjacent to the State of Texas . (Section 1, Subchapter B, 2652.051 (c) (1).) Texas Department of Insurance- Title Insurance Basic Manual

Is the company required to be a domestic company in order to hold a Title Agent License? 
The proposed agent must be a Texas entity, if not a Texas entity, it must be authorized to do business in Texas. (Section 1, Chapter 2553, Foreign or Alien Corporations) Texas Department of Insurance-Title Insurance Basic Manual

How do I become authorized to do business in Texas? 
Visit the Texas Secretary of States website and obtain a Certificate of Authority.

When I am interested in adding another county to my license, what do I do? 
Discuss the opportunity to add Stewart in that county with your Stewart Title Agency Services Manager. Than contact Theresa Olivier, Licensing Coordinator, to obtain the appropriate paperwork that The Texas Department Insurance requires for your specific situation.

What is a plant inspection and who performs it? 
The purpose of the plant inspection is to make sure your plant meets the Texas Department of Insurance standards for Issuance of Title Policies. An officer of Stewart Title Guaranty Company will perform the Inspection. See the title plant inspection form for information you will need at the time of inspection. (Section 1, Subchapter D, Sec. 2552.152 Abstract Plant Requirements) Texas Department of Insurance - Title Insurance Basic Manual

Can I have operable office where I do not have an abstract plant? 
No, "a title agent must have an abstract plant for each county in which an insurance agent or direct operation maintains an office." (section IV, page 1, (i) )  Texas Department of Insurance- Title Insurance Basic Manual

Our office address has changed or I have added a branch office, what do I do? 
You will need to send The Texas Department of Insurance a current Title Agent Update Form with a letter as explaining the change, and forward a copy to Stewart Title Guaranty Company, 805 Las Cimas Parkway, Bldg. 3, Suite 330, Austin, Texas 78746 for our files. You may also fax your documentation to (512) 342-7061. 

My application asks for an audited, reviewed or compiled financial statement, what exactly does the Department of Insurance want? 
The audited, reviewed or compiled financial statement must be completed by an independent CPA and must be current (within 60 days of filing the application). 

What are the requirements for my Title Agent Bond and my Escrow Officer Bond and where do I go to get them? 
Many people start the process in with their insurance agent. However, Any surety company can provide you with the bonds.   Title Agent Bonds for New Agents, never before licensed, should be in the amount of $10,000.  Current agents, the bond is calculated as 10% of the gross premium in accordance with the latest statistical report, not to exceed $100,000.  An Escrow Officer Bond requires coverage of $5,000 for each Escrow Officer covered, but not to exceed $50,000.  The face value of the bond is for the aggregate value for all escrow officers covered. (Section 1, Subtitle C, 2651.101, (b)  Title Agent Bond.) (Section 1, Subchapter C, 2652.103 Escrow Officer Bond) Texas Department of Insurance- Title Insurance Basic Manual

Where can I get a Title Plant? 
Every county is different, but basically there are four options. You can purchase an existing title plant, lease or subscribe to an existing plant, join a joint title plant, or build your own title plant from scratch.

Once I have all of my license paperwork complete how long does it take to get approval? 
Normal time to process a Long Form license package is 6-8 weeks, but may vary depending upon the particular type of licensing package and any special circumstances that may apply and Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) workload.