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Comment for 1024.37 - Force-Placed Insurance

This version is the current regulation

37(a) Definition of force-placed insurance.

37(a)(2) Types of insurance not considered force-placed insurance.

Paragraph 37(a)(2)(iii).

1. Servicer's discretion. Hazard insurance paid by a servicer at its discretion refers to circumstances in which a servicer pays a borrower's hazard insurance even though the servicer is not required by § 1024.17(k)(1), (2), or (5) to do so.

37(b) Basis for charging force-placed insurance.

1. Reasonable basis to believe. Section § 1024.37(b) prohibits a servicer from assessing on a borrower a premium charge or fee related to force-placed insurance unless the servicer has a reasonable basis to believe that the borrower has failed to comply with the loan contract's requirement to maintain hazard insurance. Information about a borrower's hazard insurance received by a servicer from the borrower, the borrower's insurance provider, or the borrower's insurance agent, may provide a servicer with a reasonable basis to believe that the borrower has either complied with or failed to comply with the loan contract's requirement to maintain hazard insurance. If a servicer receives no such information, the servicer may satisfy the reasonable basis to believe standard if the servicer acts with reasonable diligence to ascertain a borrower's hazard insurance status and does not receive from the borrower, or otherwise have evidence of insurance coverage as provided in § 1024.37(c)(1)(iii). A servicer that complies with the notification requirements set forth in § 1024.37(c)(1)(i) and (ii) has acted with reasonable diligence.

37(c) Requirements before charging borrower for force-placed insurance.

37(c)(1) In general.

Paragraph 37(c)(1)(i).

1. Assessing premium charge or fee. Subject to the requirements of § 1024.37(c)(1)(i) through (iii), if not prohibited by State or other applicable law, a servicer may charge a borrower for force-placed insurance the servicer purchased, retroactive to the first day of any period of time in which the borrower did not have hazard insurance in place.

Paragraph 37(c)(1)(iii).

1. Extension of time. Applicable law, such as State law or the terms and conditions of a borrower's insurance policy, may provide for an extension of time to pay the premium on a borrower's hazard insurance after the due date. If a premium payment is made within such time, and the insurance company accepts the payment with no lapse in insurance coverage, then the borrower's hazard insurance is deemed to have had hazard insurance coverage continuously for purposes of § 1024.37(c)(1)(iii).

2. Evidence demonstrating insurance. As evidence of continuous hazard insurance coverage that complies with the loan contract's requirements, a servicer may require a copy of the borrower's hazard insurance policy declaration page, the borrower's insurance certificate, the borrower's insurance policy, or other similar forms of written confirmation. A servicer may reject evidence of hazard insurance coverage submitted by the borrower if neither the borrower's insurance provider nor insurance agent provides confirmation of the insurance information submitted by the borrower, or if the terms and conditions of the borrower's hazard insurance policy do not comply with the borrower's loan contract requirements.

Paragraph 37(c)(2)(v).

1. Identifying type of hazard insurance. If the terms of a mortgage loan contract requires a borrower to purchase both a homeowners' insurance policy and a separate hazard insurance policy to insure against loss resulting from hazards not covered under the borrower's homeowners' insurance policy, a servicer must disclose whether it is the borrower's homeowners' insurance policy or the separate hazard insurance policy for which it lacks evidence of coverage to comply with § 1024.37(c)(2)(v).

37(d) Reminder notice.

37(d)(1) In general.

1. When a servicer is required to deliver or place in the mail the written notice pursuant to § 1024.37(d)(1), the content of the reminder notice will be different depending on the insurance information the servicer has received from the borrower. For example:

i. Assume that, on June 1, the servicer places in the mail the written notice required by § 1024.37(c)(1)(i) to Borrower A. The servicer does not receive any insurance information from Borrower A. The servicer must deliver to Borrower A or place in the mail a reminder notice, with the information required by § 1024.37(d)(2)(i), at least 30 days after June 1 and at least 15 days before the servicer charges Borrower A for force-placed insurance.

ii. Assume the same example, except that Borrower A provides the servicer with insurance information on June 18, but the servicer cannot verify that Borrower A has hazard insurance in place continuously based on the information Borrower A provided (e.g., the servicer cannot verify that Borrower A had coverage between June 10 and June 15). The servicer must either deliver to Borrower A or place in the mail a reminder notice, with the information required by in § 1024.37(d)(2)(ii), at least 30 days after June 1 and at least 15 days before charging Borrower A for force-placed insurance it obtains for the period between June 10 and June 15.

37(d)(2) Content of reminder notice.

37(d)(2)(i) Servicer receiving no insurance information.

Paragraph 37(d)(2)(i)(D).

1. Reasonable estimate of the cost of force-placed insurance. Differences between the amount of the estimated cost disclosed under § 1024.37(d)(2)(i)(D) and the actual cost later assessed to the borrower are permissible, so long as the estimated cost is based on the information reasonably available to the servicer at the time the disclosure is provided. For example, a mortgage investor's requirements may provide that the amount of coverage for force-placed insurance depends on the borrower's delinquency status (the number of days the borrower's mortgage payment is past due). The amount of coverage affects the cost of force-placed insurance. A servicer that provides an estimate of the cost of force-placed insurance based on the borrower's delinquency status at the time the disclosure is made complies with § 1024.37(d)(2)(i)(D).

37(d)(5) Updating notice with borrower information.

1. Reasonable time. If the written notice required by § 1024.37(c)(1)(ii) was put into production a reasonable time prior to the servicer delivering or placing the notice in the mail, the servicer is not required to update the notice with new insurance information received. For purposes of § 1024.37(d)(5), a reasonable time is no more than five days (excluding legal holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays).

37(e) Renewal or replacing force-placed insurance.

37(e)(1) In general.

1. For purposes of § 1024.37(e)(1), as evidence that the borrower has purchased hazard insurance coverage that complies with the loan contract's requirements, a servicer may require a borrower to provide a form of written confirmation as described in comment 37(c)(1)(iii)-2, and may reject evidence of coverage submitted by the borrower for the reasons described in comment 37(c)(1)(iii)-2.

37(e)(1)(iii) Charging before end of notice period.

1. Example. Section 1024.37(e)(1)(iii) permits a servicer to assess on a borrower a premium charge or fee related to renewing or replacing existing force-placed insurance promptly after the servicer receives evidence demonstrating that the borrower lacked hazard insurance coverage in compliance with the loan contract's requirements to maintain hazard insurance for any period of time following the expiration of the existing force-placed insurance. To illustrate, assume that on January 2, the servicer sends the notice required by § 1024.37(e)(1)(i). At 12:01 a.m. on January 12, the existing force-placed insurance the servicer had purchased on the borrower's property expires and the servicer replaces the expired force-placed insurance policy with a new policy. On February 5, the servicer receives evidence demonstrating the borrower has hazard insurance effective since 12:01 a.m. on January 31. The servicer may charge the borrower for force-placed insurance covering the period from 12:01 a.m. January 12 to 12:01 a.m. January 31, as early as February 5.

Paragraph 37(e)(2)(vii).

1. Reasonable estimate of the cost of force-placed insurance. The reasonable estimate requirement set forth in § 1024.37(e)(2)(vii) is the same reasonable estimate requirement set forth in § 1024.37(d)(2)(i)(D). See comment 37(d)(2)(i)(D)-1 regarding the reasonable estimate.

37(g) Cancellation of force-placed insurance.

Paragraph 37(g)(2).

1. Period of overlapping insurance coverage. Section 1024.37(g)(2) requires a servicer to refund to a borrower all force-placed insurance premium charges and related fees paid by the borrower for any period of overlapping insurance coverage and remove from the borrower's account all force-placed insurance charges and related fees for such period. A period of overlapping insurance coverage means the period of time during which the force-placed insurance purchased by a servicer and the hazard insurance purchased by a borrower were in effect at the same time.