Article 26.

Real Estate Title Insurance Companies.

58-26-1. Purpose of organization; formation; insuring closing services; premium rates; combined premiums for lenders' coverages.

(a) Companies may be formed in the manner provided in this Article for the purpose of furnishing information in relation to titles to real estate and of insuring owners and others interested therein against loss by reason of encumbrances and defective title; provided, however, that no such information shall be so furnished nor shall such insurance be so issued as to North Carolina real property unless and until the title insurance company has obtained the opinion of an attorney, licensed to practice law in North Carolina and not an employee or agent of the company, who has conducted or caused to be conducted under the attorney's direct supervision a reasonable examination of the title. The company shall cause to be made a determination of insurability of title in accordance with sound underwriting practices for title insurance companies. A company may also insure the proper performance of services necessary to conduct a real estate closing performed by an approved attorney licensed to practice in North Carolina. Provided, however, nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or preclude a title insurance company from insuring proper performance by its issuing agents.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 2002-187, s. 7.1.

(b1) Domestic and foreign title insurance companies are subject to the same capital, surplus, and investment requirements that govern the formation and operation of domestic stock casualty companies. Domestic title insurance companies are subject to the same deposit requirements that govern the operation of other domestic casualty companies in this State. Foreign or alien title insurance companies are subject to an initial deposit pursuant to G.S. 58-26-31(b), based on the forecasted statutory premium reserve and the supplemental reserve for the first full year of operation in this State, but not less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000).

(c) This Article shall not be interpreted so as to imply the repeal or amendment of any of the provisions of Chapter 84 of the General Statutes of North Carolina nor of any other provisions of common law or statutory law governing the practice of law.

(d) The premium rates charged for insuring against loss by reason of encumbrances and defective title and for insuring real estate closing services shall be based on the purchase price of the real estate being conveyed or the loan amount and shall not be established as flat fees. If a title insurer has also issued title insurance protecting a lender or owner against loss by reason of encumbrances and defective title, the insurer shall charge one undivided premium for the combination of the title insurance and the closing services insurance.

(e) If the premium stated upon a policy of title insurance has been understated or overstated due to inadvertence, mistake, or miscalculation of the closing attorney or his employees, and the incident is not purposeful or part of a pattern, the Commissioner of Insurance shall not be required to impose a civil penalty or other sanction for the inadvertence, mistake, or miscalculation. (1899, c. 54, s. 38; 1901, c. 391, s. 3; Rev., s. 4745; C.S., s. 6395; 1923, c. 71; 1973, c. 128; 1985, c. 666, s. 43; 1987, c. 625, ss. 1-3; 1993, c. 129, s. 1; c. 504, s. 15; 2002-187, ss. 7.1, 7.2.)