381.071. 1. No title insurance policy shall be written unless and until the title insurer, title agent, or agency has:
(1) Caused a search of title to be made from the evidence prepared from a title plant of the county where the property is located as herein defined, or if no such title plant of the county exists, or the owner of such plant refuses to furnish the title insurer, title agent, or agency desiring to insure, such title evidence at a reasonable charge and within a reasonable period of time, then such policy of title insurance shall be based upon the best title evidence available. An attorney licensed to practice law in this state may upon personal inspection use the best evidence available in any county and is not subject to the provisions of the title plant requirement of sections 381.011 to 381.241. The records on which the title plant is based on shall show all prior matters affecting the title to the property or interest therein for a continuous period of time of at least:
(a) The past ten years, by two years after September 28, 1987;
(b) The past fifteen years, by three years after September 28, 1987;
(c) The past twenty years, by four years after September 28, 1987; and
(d) The past twenty-seven years, by five years after September 28, 1987; and
(2) Caused to be made a determination of insurability of title in accordance with sound underwriting practices.
2. Except when allowed by regulations promulgated by the director, no title insurer, title agent, or agency shall knowingly issue any owner's title insurance policy or commitment to insure without showing all outstanding, enforceable recorded liens or other interests against the title which is to be insured.
3. Evidence of the examination of title and determination of insurability shall be preserved and retained in the files of the title insurer or its title agent or agency for a period of not less than fifteen years after the title insurance policy has been issued. Instead of retaining the original evidence, the title insurer or title agent or agency may in the regular course of business establish a system whereby all or part of the evidence is recorded, copied, or reproduced by any process that accurately and legibly reproduces or forms a durable medium for reproducing the contents of the original.
4. This section shall not apply to:
(1) A title insurer assuming liability through a contract of reinsurance;
(2) A title insurer acting as coinsurer if one of the other coinsuring title insurers has complied with this section; or
(3) Policies of title insurance issued prior to the expiration of one year after September 28, 1987.
(L. 1987 S.B. 251 § 9, A.L. 1988 S.B. 798)
Missouri General Assembly