Events - title insurance inducements rules
1. I work for or represent a title company and I was invited to golf with some clients. My principal or employer will cover my greens fees, but won’t pay for the real estate agents. May I go?
2. A real estate training company is putting on a seminar for about 150 to 200 local attendees. They've asked local businesses, including a local title company's office, to hand out free tickets to local mortgage and real estate companies. Is this allowed under the title rules?
No. Title companies cannot provide non-title services to real estate agents without charging for those services. Providing free tickets to real estate agents by leaving them on a title company's counter is also not allowed under the rules. Also, using title company employees to hand out tickets violates the rules. See WAC 284-29-255(1) (leg.wa.gov) for details.
3. I am a representative or employee of a title company. Under the new rules, may I be a member of a networking group that includes business owners, producers, and representatives or employees of a title company?
Yes. This is allowed in the rules. See WAC 284-29-255(4) (leg.wa.gov) for details.
4. I work for a title company. I'm currently serving on an association committee for producers of title insurance business. The association meets once a month, usually at a restaurant. However, we will hold our next meeting at a location where members have been asked to bring a dish. May I participate in the potluck meeting?
Yes, a title company employee may attend activities and business meetings of producers under the conditions outlined in the rules. See WAC 284-29-255(4) (leg.wa.gov) for details.
5. Our title company is having a retirement party at a local country club for a longtime employee. We plan to serve hors d’oeuvre with beer and wine. May we invite some producers who have known and worked with the retiree for many years?
No. There are no exceptions to the rules for giving a thing of value to a producer for this type of gathering. WAC 284-29-230(3) (leg.wa.gov) defines “meal” to include receptions and cocktail parties. WAC 284-29-230(1)(b) (leg.wa.gov) defines that a business meal on behalf of anyone must include a substantial and substantive title insurance business discussion directly before, during, or after the business meal. It’s unlikely that this type of discussion would occur at a retirement party. Even if the title company considers the party a “self-promotional” function under WAC 284-29-205(11) (leg.wa.gov) rather than a business meal, the function would have to be open to all producers and be held at the title company’s usual place of business under WAC 284-29-230(5)(a) (leg.wa.gov).
6. If invited to a lender's function, can a title company attend and advertise its services?
Yes, but only if the title company is attending and advising about its services. It cannot sponsor or pay for, or subsidize the function in any manner. See WAC 284-29-260(1)(a), (2) (leg.wa.gov) for details.
7. A title company may provide a speaker at an educational program when the topic of the presentation is solely related to title insurance, escrow, or title to real property. In addition, a title company may sponsor a trade association event. Can a title company provide a speaker at a trade association event that it is sponsoring if the topic of the presentation is not limited to title insurance, escrow, or title to real property?
Yes. A title company can provide a speaker at a trade association event and the topic of the presentation may be related to subjects other than title insurance, escrow, or title to real property if the title company complies with the requirements related to sponsoring a trade association event. See WAC 284-29-220 and 284-29-235 (leg.wa.gov) for details.