381.029. 1. As used in this section, the following terms mean:
(1) "Affiliate", a specific person that directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries controls, or is controlled by, or is under common control with, the person specified; (2) "Affiliated business", any portion of a title insurance agency's business written in this state that was referred to it by a producer of title insurance business or by an associate of the producer, where the producer or associate, or both, have a financial interest in the title agency; (3) "Associate", any:
(a) Business organized for profit in which a producer of title business is a director, officer, partner, employee, or an owner of a financial interest;
(b) Employee of a producer of title business;
(c) Franchisor or franchisee of a producer of title business;
(d) Spouse, parent, or child of a producer of title insurance business who is a natural person;
(e) Person, other than a natural person, that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, a producer of title business;
(f) Person with whom a producer of title insurance business or any associate of the producer has an agreement, arrangement, or understanding, or pursues a course of conduct, the purpose or effect of which is to provide financial benefits to that producer or associate for the referral of business; (4) "Control", including the terms "controlling", "controlled by", and "under common control with", the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract other than a commercial contract for goods or nonmanagement services, or otherwise, unless the power is the result of an official position or corporate office held by the person. Control shall be presumed to exist if a person, directly or indirectly, owns, holds with the power to vote, or holds proxies representing ten percent or more of the voting securities of another person. This presumption may be rebutted by showing that control does not exist in fact. The director may determine, after furnishing all persons in interest notice and opportunity to be heard and making specific findings of fact to support the determination, that control exists in fact, notwithstanding the absence of a presumption to that effect; (5) "Referral", the directing or the exercising of any power or influence over the direction of title insurance business, whether or not the consent or approval of any other person is sought or obtained with respect to the referral.
2. Whenever the business to be written constitutes affiliated business, prior to commencing the transaction, the title insurer, title agency, or title agent shall ensure that its customer has been provided with disclosure of the existence of the affiliated business arrangement and a written estimate of the charge or range of charges generally made for the title services provided by the title insurer, title agency, or agent.
3. The director shall establish rules for use by all title agencies in the recording and reporting of the agency's owners and of the agency's ownership interests in other persons or businesses and of material transactions between the parties.
4. The director shall require each title insurer, agency, and agent to file on forms prescribed by the director reports setting forth the names and addresses of those persons, if any, that have a financial interest in the insurer, agency, or agent and who the insurer, agency, or agent knows or has reason to believe are producers of title insurance business or associates of producers, except the duty to report shall not include shareholders of record of any publicly traded insurer.
5. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting affiliated business arrangements in the provision of title insurance business so long as:
(1) The title insurer, title agency, title agent, or party making a referral constituting affiliated business, at or prior to the time of the referral, discloses the arrangement and, in connection with the referral, provides the person being referred with a written estimate of the charge or range of charges likely to be assessed and otherwise complies with the disclosure obligations of this section;
(2) The person being referred is not required to use a specified title insurer, agency, or agent; and
(3) The only thing of value that is received by the title insurer, agency, agent, or party making the referral, other than payments otherwise permitted, is a return on an ownership interest. For purposes of this subsection, the terms "required use" and "return on an ownership interest" shall have the meaning accorded to them under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), as amended.
6. A violation of any provision under this section is a level two violation under section 374.049.
(L. 2007 S.B. 66)
Missouri General Assembly