The title insurance profession is a vital and integral part of our country’s economy. It facilitates real estate transactions; enhances the reliability and accuracy of the data in our land title record systems; acts as the conduit through which many governmental and other liens are paid; and affords consumers peace of mind that their interest in real property is protected.
The New York State Land Title Association (NYSLTA) is dedicated to promoting principles, values and standards of behavior that guide the title insurance professional’s decisions, activities, procedures and systems in a way that serves the needs and interests of the consumer, the title industry and its constituents.
In furtherance of its commitment to maintaining and exhibiting the highest standards of business and professional ethics, NYSLTA has implemented the following Code of Ethics and Conduct intended to protect the consumer and the title industry while informing its members of the association’s expectations. This Code supersedes all prior codes and will be reviewed annually to ensure that it reflects the evolving needs and interests of the consumer as well as the title industry.
Code of Ethics and Conduct
Maintain and enhance the integrity of the title insurance profession. Integrity entails two components: The first is honesty and candor, which may not be subordinated to personal gain or advantage. The second is a prohibition against fraud.
Engage in practices which will further the interests of the public and the title industry.
Treat fellow title insurance professionals and consumers with dignity, courtesy and respect; and maintain a spirit of professionalism.
Comply with all governmental laws, rules and regulations applicable to title insurance, as well as this Code of Ethics and Conduct. If a title insurance professional is unsure of whether a contemplated action is permitted, the title insurance professional should consult with the appropriate resource expert.
Refrain from any form of retaliation against a title insurance professional who, in good faith, reports any conduct or activity that the title insurance professional reasonably believes violates any law, rule or regulation applicable to title insurance, or this Code of Ethics and Conduct, even if the subject conduct does not actually violate the law.
Refuse to participate or engage in any real estate transaction or business arrangement where a conflict of interest exists, including when a title insurance professional and/or a title insurance professional’s family member or firm has a present or contemplated interest unless such interest is specifically and timely disclosed and consented to by all affected parties.
Refuse to participate in any agreement or arrangement, whether oral or written, that results in the payment to a person of any commission, rebate or other thing of value received or provided in exchange for a referral or reward of title insurance business which violates any state, federal and/or local laws.
Act with the care, competence and diligence that a prudent professional would exercise when examining titles to real property; issuing title commitments and title policies; and providing requested ancillary services (duty of care).
Competence incorporates knowledge and skill. In the event a title insurance professional is confronted with a matter which the title insurance professional is not sufficiently competent to address, such title insurance professional must gain the competence, obtain assistance or refer the consumer to a competent professional with the required expertise. A title insurance professional should always strive to keep abreast of the latest developments in the title industry and promote the continuing education of title insurance professionals and consumers.
Diligence requires providing professional services, including responding to consumer inquiries, in a prompt and thorough manner.
Engage in marketing activities which are informative and facilitate the educated selection of the title services provider that best fits the consumer’s needs.
When providing title insurance, the title insurance professional must disclose the nature of the services and products provided, including ancillary services; the costs of these services and products; and the types of additional costs that the consumer may incur in the consummation of the real estate transaction.