Doing title and close in Louisiana? State requires physical location starting Jan. 1

Late last week, the Louisiana Department of Insurance issued an advisory letter on Louisiana Act No 310, which mandates that title insurance companies have a physical location in the state in order to operate there, beginning on Jan. 1, 2021.

The bill was introduced to the state legislature early this year, and after several debates and amendments, it was passed in the state’s House and Senate unanimously and signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in June. The Act requires any title insurance entity doing business in the state to have at least one Louisiana resident employee and a physical location in Louisiana suitable for conducting the business of title insurance and real estate closings.

In its letter, the Louisiana Department of Insurance lays out what various title insurers need to do to remain in compliance and continue operating in the state.

“Pursuant to Act 310, effective January 1, 2021, the Louisiana producer license of every non-resident producer, whether individual or agency, who has failed to comply with the guidance and instructions set forth in this Advisory Letter will be canceled,” the letter states. “This cancellation will not be considered an administrative action and therefore will not be reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners or the National Insurance Producer Registry.”

This action seems to go against the increasing trend that removes geography from the equation of housing transactions.

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“This Act implements a big change for the title insurance industry in our state,” said Ted Woloszyk, CEO of Punctual Abstract.

On the real estate side, iBuyers are introducing a new way to look for and purchase a home, creating an online experience that is increasingly gaining traction. And mortgage lenders are improving their technology and moving more of the process online. Now, through the use of remote online notarization, even signing papers at the closing table can be done remotely.

But this legislation would bind title companies to their geographical location in the Pelican State, requiring them to have a physical location to do business.

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