Ohio Title Agent Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain an Ohio Title Agent bond.
At a Glance:
- Lowest Cost: $563 per year or $56 a month
- Bond Amount: $150,000
- Who Needs It: All title insurance agents/agencies that handle escrow, settlement, or closing services in Ohio
- Purpose: To protect the public from financial harm if the title agent commits fraud or engages in unfair business practices
- Who Regulates Title Insurance Agents/Agencies in Ohio: The Ohio Department of Insurance
Ohio Administrative Code 3901-5-09 requires all title insurance agents/agencies that handle escrow, settlement, or closing services in the state to obtain a license from the Department of Insurance. The Ohio Legislature enacted the licensing requirement to ensure that title insurance agents/agencies do not engage in unethical business practices. To provide financial security for the enforcement of the licensing law, title insurance agents/agencies must purchase and maintain a $150,000 surety bond to be eligible for licensure.
What Is the Purpose of the Ohio Title Agent Bond?
Ohio requires all title insurance agents/agencies that handle escrow, settlement, or closing services to purchase a surety bond as part of the application process to obtain a license. The bond ensures that restitution is available to any damaged party should the title insurance agent/agency fail to abide by the regulations outlined in the Ohio Administrative Code 3901-7-02. Specifically, the bond protects claimants if the title insurance agent/agency commits fraud or engages in unfair business practices. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects the public if the title insurance agent/agency violates the terms of their license.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Ohio Title Agent Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Ohio Title Agent bond easy. Simply log in to your account and use our keyword search to find the “title agent” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone (800) 438-1162, email, or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.
At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.
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Is a Credit Check Required for the Ohio Title Agent Bond?
Surety companies will run a credit check on the title insurance agent/agency to determine eligibility and pricing for the Ohio Title Agent bond. Title insurance agents and agencies with excellent credit and work experience can expect to receive the best rates. Title insurance agents and agencies with poor credit may be declined by some surety companies or have to pay higher rates. The credit check is a “soft hit”, meaning that the credit check will not affect the applicant’s credit.
How Much Does the Ohio Title Agent Bond Cost?
The Ohio Title Agent bond can cost between $563 to $9,000 per year or $56 to $900 per month. Insurance companies determine the rate based on several factors including your customer’s credit score and experience. The chart below briefly references the approximate bond cost on the $150,000 bond requirement.
$150,000 Ohio Title Agent Bond Cost
|Credit Score*||Bond Cost (1 Year)||Bond Cost (1 month)|
|680 – 719||$675||$68|
|649 – 659||$1,500||$150|
|629 – 648||$2,250||$225|
|600 – 628||$3,750||$375|
|580 – 599||$5,250||$525|
|550 – 579||$6,000||$600|
|525 – 549||$7,500||$750|
|500 – 525||$9,000||$900|
*The credit score ranges do not include other factors that may result in a change to the annual premium offered to your customers, including but not limited to, years of experience and underlying credit factors contained within the business owner’s credit report.
How Does Ohio Define “Title Agent”?
To paraphrase Ohio Administrative Code 3901-5-09, a title insurance agent or agency is an individual or business that handles escrow, settlement, or closing functions for real estate transactions. They are not to be confused with title insurers that issue actual title insurance.
Exemptions to this surety bond requirement included licensed title agents who are employees of title insurance companies in the State of Ohio. Such agents are not mandated to maintain their own surety bond coverage separate from the company.
BondExchange now offers monthly pay-as-you-go subscriptions for surety bonds. Your customers are able to purchase their bonds on a monthly basis and cancel them anytime. Learn more here.
How Do Title Agents Become Licensed in Ohio?
Title insurance agents and agencies in Ohio must navigate several steps to obtain a license. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Department’s License Application Checklist for details on the process.
License Period – Title insurance agents and agencies in Ohio must renew their license biennially ninety (90) days before the last day of the licensee’s birth month.
Step 1 – Fulfill Financial Requirements
Title insurance agents/agencies that handle escrow, settlement, or closing services in Ohio must purchase and maintain a $150,000 surety bond, as well as acquire an Errors and Omissions insurance policy. The policy must provide a minimum coverage amount of $250,000.
Step 2 – Complete Application
Along with a completed license application (resources can be found here), applicants must submit the following documents:
- Criminal Background Check
- Proof of successfully passing the Title examination
- A non-refundable filing fee of $10
How Do Title Agents in Ohio Renew Their Licenses?
Title insurance agents and agencies in Ohio must renew their license with the Department of Insurance biennially ninety (90) days before the last day of the licensee’s birth month. The requirements for license renewal can be found in the Department’s License Renewal Application Checklist.
What Are the Insurance Requirements for Title Agents in Ohio?
According to Ohio Administrative Code 3901-7-02, title insurance agents and agencies must purchase and maintain an Errors and Omissions insurance policy. The policy must provide a minimum coverage amount of $250,000.
How Do Ohio Title Agents File Their Bonds?
Title insurance agents/agencies should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney when submitting their license applications to the Ohio Department of Insurance (see the mailing address listed below).
Department of Insurance
50 W. Town Street, Third Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
The surety bond requires signatures from the surety company, as well as the title insurance agent or a representative from the title insurance agency. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- The legal name of the individual buying the bond
- Surety company’s name
- Date the bond is signed
What Can Ohio Title Agents Do to Avoid a Claim Against Their Surety Bond?
To avoid claims against their bonds, title insurance agents/agencies in Ohio must follow all license regulations in the state, including some of the most important issues below that tend to cause claims:
What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Title Agents in Ohio?
The Ohio Department of Insurance requires title insurance agents and agencies to purchase coverage for a $250,000 Errors and Omissions policy, which is just another name for professional liability insurance. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue any other types of insurance, but our agents often utilize brokers for this specific line of business. A list of brokers in this space can be found here.
How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Title Agent Customers in Ohio?
Ohio conveniently provides a public database to search for active title insurance agents and title insurance agencies in the state. The database can be accessed here. Contact BondExchange for additional marketing resources. Agents can also leverage our print-mail relationships for discounted mailing services.