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On July 7, the Missouri governor signed SB 101 (the “Act”) into law, amending several provisions relating to property and casualty insurance, including requirements for lender-placed insurance. The Act defines “lender-placed insurance” as insurance secured by the lender/servicer when the mortgagor does not have valid or sufficient insurance on a mortgaged real property, and will include “insurance purchased unilaterally by the lender or servicer, who is the named insured, subsequent to the date of the credit transaction, providing coverage against loss, expense, or damage to collateralized property as a result of fire, theft, collision, or other risks of loss” that impairs such lender/servicer’s interest or adversely impacts the collateral, where such purchase is a result of a mortgagor’s failure to obtain required insurance under a mortgage agreement. Among other things, the Act stipulates that lender-placed insurance is not effective until the date a mortgaged real property is not insured, and that individual lender-placed insurance terminates on the earliest date out of listed periods. Also specified is that mortgagors cannot be charged for the policies outside of the scheduled term of the lender-placed insurance. The Act further states that the calculation of the lender-placed insurance premium “should be based upon the replacement cost value of the property,” and outlines how the premium should be determined. All insurers shall have separate rates for lender-placed insurance and voluntary insurance obtained by a mortgage servicer on real estate owned property, as defined in the Act.
Further regarding lender-placed insurance, the Act prohibits: (i) “insurers and insurance producers from issuing lender-placed insurance if they or one of their affiliates owns, performs servicing for, or owns the servicing right to, the mortgaged property;” (ii) “insurers and insurance producers from compensating lenders, insurers, investors, or servicers for lender-placed insurance policies issued by the insurer, and from sharing premiums or risk with the lender, investor, or servicer;” (iii) “payments dependent on profitability or loss ratios from being made in connection with lender-placed insurance;” (iv) [insurers from] provid[ing] free or below-cost services or outsourc[ing] its own functions at an above-cost basis”; and (v) [insurers from] mak[ing] any payments for the purpose of securing lender-placed insurance business or related services.
The Act requires lender-placed insurance policy forms and certificates to be mailed and filed with the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance and stipulates the requirements for insurers who must report information to the department as well. Lastly, the Act specifies potential penalties for violations of the Act, including monetary penalties and suspension or revocation of an insurer’s license. The Act becomes effective on August 28.
On November 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal filed by state attorneys general from Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina to temporarily prohibit the Secretary of Education from discharging any federal loans under the agency’s student debt relief plan (announced in August and covered by InfoBytes here). Earlier in October, the 8th Circuit issued an order granting an emergency motion filed by the states, which requested an administrative stay prohibiting the discharge of any student loan debt under the cancellation plan until the appellate court had issued a decision on the states’ motion for an injunction pending an appeal. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) The October order followed a ruling issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, which dismissed the states’ action for lack of Article III standing after concluding that the states—which attempted “to assert a threat of imminent harm in the form of lost tax revenue in the future”— failed to establish imminent and non-speculative harm sufficient to confer standing.
In granting the emergency motion, the appellate court disagreed with the district court’s assertion that the states lacked standing. The 8th Circuit reviewed whether the state of Missouri could rely on any harm the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) might suffer as a result of the Department of Education’s cancellation plan. The appellate court found that the relationship between MOHELA and the state is relevant to the standing analysis, especially as Missouri law specifically directs MOHELA (which receives revenue from the student loan accounts it services) to distribute $350 million into the state’s treasury. As such, “MOHELA may well be an arm of the State of Missouri” under this reasoning, the appellate court wrote, adding that several district courts have concluded that MOHELA is an arm of the state. However, regardless of whether MOHELA is an arm of the state, the resulting financial impact due to the cancellation plan would, among other things, affect the state’s ability to fund public higher education institutions, the 8th Circuit noted. “Consequently, we conclude Missouri has shown a likely injury in fact that is concrete and particularized, and which is actual or imminent, traceable to the challenged action of the Secretary, and redressable by a favorable decision,” the appellate court wrote, adding that since one party likely has standing it does not need to address the standing of the other states. The appellate court also determined that “the equities strongly favor an injunction considering the irreversible impact the Secretary’s debt forgiveness action would have as compared to the lack of harm an injunction would presently impose.” The 8th Circuit explained that it considered several criteria, including the fact that the collection of student loan payments and the accrual of interest have both been suspended. The Missouri attorney general released a statement applauding the 8th Circuit’s decision.
The 8th Circuit’s decision follows a recent ruling issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which found that the student loan forgiveness program is “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power.” (Covered by InfoBytes here.)
On August 12, the FDIC issued FIL-39-2022 to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and help facilitate recovery in areas of Missouri affected by severe storms and flooding from July 25-28. The FDIC acknowledged the unusual circumstances faced by institutions affected by the storms and suggested that institutions work with impacted borrowers to, among other things: (i) extend repayment terms; (ii) restructure existing loans; or (iii) ease terms for new loans to those affected by the severe weather, provided the measures are done “in a manner consistent with sound banking practices.” Additionally, the FDIC noted that institutions “may receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery.” The FDIC will also consider regulatory relief from certain filing and publishing requirements.
On January 12, HUD announced disaster assistance for certain areas in Missouri impacted by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes in December 2021. The disaster assistance supplements state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in specific counties, and provides foreclosure relief and other assistance to affected homeowners following President Biden’s major disaster declaration on January 11. According to the announcement, HUD is providing an automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured home mortgages for covered properties and is making FHA insurance available to victims whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged, such that “reconstruction or replacement is necessary.” HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program allows individuals who have lost homes to finance the purchase of a house or refinance an existing house along with the costs of repair, through a single mortgage. The program also allows homeowners with damaged property to finance the rehabilitation of existing single-family homes. HUD also announced it is allowing applications for administrative flexibility waivers for Community Planning and Development Grantees and public housing authorities. Recently, HUD announced it will provide the same foreclosure relief and assistance to Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, and Washington state homeowners affected by severe storms, flooding, tornados, and wildfires in those states. (See press releases here, here, here, and here).
On June 11, the Missouri governor issued an executive order extending, among others, Executive Order 20-08 relating to remote notary services, which was previously covered here. The extension permits notarial acts to be performed using audio-video technology, provided certain conditions are met, through August 28.
On May 4, the Missouri governor issued Executive Order 20-10, which extends Executive Orders 20-04 (authorizing specific departments to waive or suspend statutory requirements and administrative rules), 20-05 (relating to the restaurant industry), 20-06 (relating to organized militia), and 20-08 (relating to remote notarization), issued in response to Covid-19. Executive Order 20-04 was previously covered here and Executive Order 20-08 was previously covered here.
On April 16, the Missouri Department of Health extended the duration of a prior “Stay Home Missouri” order to May 3, 2020, unless extended or modified. Relying on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advisory memorandum, financial services are considered essential.
On April 10, Missouri’s secretary of state announced three approved electronic notary service providers, noting that additional vendors are expected to be approved at a later time. The announcement came in light of the state’s shift to remote practices in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
On April 6, the Missouri governor issued Executive Order 20-08 authorizing notarial acts to be performed utilizing audio-video technology, provided certain conditions are met. The order terminates on May 15, 2020 unless extended.
On March 18, Missouri’s governor issued Executive Order 20-04, which provides certain departments, including the Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Division of Professional Regulation and its boards, with authority to temporarily waive or suspend the operation of any statutory requirement or administrative rule, upon approval of the Office of the Governor, where strict compliance with such requirements and rules would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action by the department to respond to Covid-19. In line with the executive order, the Department of Commerce and Insurance issued guidance to all insurers conducting the business of insurance in Missouri regarding assistance to policy holders impacted by Covid-19.