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Montana Title 33. Insurance and Insurance Companies § 33-25-401. Prohibited practices--referrals--splitting charges--exemptions

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(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person may not:

(a) give or accept a fee, rebate, or thing of value pursuant to an agreement or understanding that title insurance business will be referred to a title insurance producer;  or

(b) give or accept a portion, split, or percentage of a charge made or received for title insurance business in connection with a transaction involving real property in this state, other than for services actually performed.

(2)(a) A person may pay a return on an investment, based on a percentage of an ownership interest in a title insurance agency, if:

(i) at or prior to the time of a referral, a disclosure of the existence of the arrangement is made to the person being referred and, in connection with the referral, the person is provided a written estimate of the charge or range of charges generally made by the title insurance producer to which the person is referred;  and

(ii) the person is not required to use a particular insurance producer.

(b) The following arrangements are not a violation of subsection (2)(a)(ii):

(i) an arrangement that requires a buyer, borrower, or seller to pay for the services of an attorney, credit reporting agency, or real estate appraiser chosen by a lender to represent the lender's interest in a real estate transaction;  or

(ii) an arrangement by which an attorney or law firm represents a client in a real estate transaction and issues or arranges for the issuance of a policy of title insurance in the transaction directly as insurance producer or through a separate corporate title insurance agency that may be established by that attorney or law firm and operated as an adjunct to the attorney's or firm's law practice.

(c) Failure to disclose a controlled business relationship is not a violation of subsection (2)(a)(i) if the failure was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error, proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

(3) This section does not prohibit:

(a) the payment of a fee to an attorney for services actually rendered or by a title insurance producer for services actually performed in the issuance of a title insurance policy;  or

(b) payment of a bona fide salary, compensation, or other payment for goods or facilities actually furnished or for services actually performed.

Cite this article: - Montana Title 33. Insurance and Insurance Companies § 33-25-401. Prohibited practices--referrals--splitting charges--exemptions - last updated April 27, 2021 |

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