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Are Emergency Remote Notarizations Covered By E&O Policies?

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With many states issuing emergency executive orders, proclamations and guidance temporarily authorizing remote online notarization (RON) or remote notarization of paper documents, members of Notary community have asked if these notarizations would be covered by their bonds and errors & omissions insurance policies. In general, the answer is yes.

The NNA reached out to Merchants Bonding Company for guidance. Here’s what you need to know.

A remote notarial act performed in a state that issued an emergency measure is a valid notarial act and generally should be covered under an applicable bond or E&O policy as long as the notarization conforms to the emergency measure and was performed while the emergency measure was in effect, according to Gina Lockwood, Senior Claims Attorney with Merchants Bonding Company.

Many states that have enacted emergency measures have authorized traditional Notaries to perform RON under certain circumstances or subject to certain criteria. It is extremely important that Notaries read, understand and comply with any state-specific requirements to obtain authorization to perform remote notarial acts during this temporary period and ensure that they do not exceed the authority granted to them in performing RON.

Since these orders are temporary, Notaries should be conscious of the start and end date of the orders to make sure that they are not performing RON acts outside the authorized period.

The requirements to perform RON under the emergency measures are extremely varied from state-to-state. For example, some of these requirements may include, but are not limited to, to the following:

  • Taking a state-approved training class;
  • Providing notice to the state prior to engaging in an initial remote notarial act;
  • Using state approved vendor platforms to perform a remote notarial act;
  • Notarizing hard copy documents sent via mail following performance of a remote notarial act; or
  • Maintaining video records of remote notarial acts for a certain period of time.

Notaries should continue to maintain good records during this period, including records of their compliance with any steps required under the emergency measures to perform RON, as verifying compliance with these requirements will  be an important step in determining whether coverage exists under any bond or E&O policy for acts performed during the temporary period.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association. 

 

47 Comments

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Juan Samaniego

03 Apr 2020

I need a signature notarized

Martine Majogoro

04 Apr 2020

Questions

Natalia M Fuentes-Creel. Notary

06 Apr 2020

I’m a notary in California. Are we authorize to perform RON’s. How are we trained? What will the cost be. California is a large State. We need to continue working.

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2020

Hello. California has not authorized its Notaries to perform RONs.

Holly Logan

06 Apr 2020

How are we and what are we to do for our clients that must have a notary on a legal document?

Cheryl Kaster

06 Apr 2020

But ours only requires that the signer "appears" to be in the state of Hawaii, and that and "appears" to be aware of what it is they are signing and willing to perform such a transaction.

April Wilkes

06 Apr 2020

Notaries Abroad- What can we do to help US citizens in other countries in which the embassy's are closed.

Eliott W

08 Apr 2020

I'm finding a fair amount of conflicting information on California Notaries ability to complete RONs. Assembly Bill 199 passed in April of 2019 looks to have approved RON in CA but a lot of articles published and online sources are saying that there are no laws in CA supporting RON. Please refer to https://a57.asmdc.org/press-releases/20190409-california-online-notary-act-approved-assembly-committee-business-and Is the case that RON is allowed in CA but no one has developed the curriculum? Please advise

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. California Notaries are not authorized to perform remote notarizations at this time.

stephanie porteous

08 Apr 2020

Has Oregon authorized its notaries to perform RONs yet. I have durable powers of attorney forms and I don't know if it can be witnessed instead of notarized at this time of crises.

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. No, not at this time.

miguel.villafana@notarize.com

09 Apr 2020

Hi April, Visit Notarize.com. Miguel V.

Lisa Zawadzki

09 Apr 2020

Is Pennsylvania authorized to perform RON and are there specific documents that you can do?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. Pennsylvania is temporarily authorizing RONs only for certain Notaries and documents. Please see here for information on Pennsylvania: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

miguel.villafana@notarize.com

09 Apr 2020

Hi April, I work at Notarize.com, and we're available 24/7 via RON. I hope that helps!

Alicia Medel

09 Apr 2020

What is the E & O & bond required for loan documents signing?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2013/04/what-you-need-to-know-about-e-o

Nicole Kemp

09 Apr 2020

Hello is Georgia able to perform RON?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. We expect to have an update on Georgia very soon. Please keep checking our articles for updates.

Zenith Lopez

09 Apr 2020

Can Ilinois do RON's

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. Illinois has approved temporary RON rules. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Theresa Smith

09 Apr 2020

How about Missouri? I live in Cass County, servicing Jackson, Johnson, Henry and Bates counties. Who do I contact to find whether remote Notarizations are allowed in the above counties in Missouri?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. Please check this link over the next few days, as we should be updating it with Missouri information soon: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Joanne Briley

09 Apr 2020

Hello, is New York authorized to perform RON?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. NY has issued temporary emergency orders allowing remote notarizations. For guidelines, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Michelle

09 Apr 2020

I am a Notary in Florida..... What are my requirements?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. Information on applying to perform RONs in Florida can be found here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/about-notaries/how-to-become-a-notary-public/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary#FloridaRON

Joyce S Sandlin

09 Apr 2020

Has NC been approved?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. No, North Carolina has not authorized Notaries to perform RONs.

Jacqueline Toney

09 Apr 2020

Is Illinois a RON state

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2020

Hello. Illinois has issued temporary emergency RON guidelines for Notaries. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

M Elaine Farmer

09 Apr 2020

I ordered a digital stamp Tuesday. How long will it be before I receive it?

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. Please call our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 or email them at services@nationalnotary.org for assistance.

Nick

09 Apr 2020

Is New Jersey allowed to perform RONs and also what would be a good course to take I read a book on this but I need to know the software used and to get an overview of the procedure before I perform one of these.

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. We are monitoring New Jersey and will post updates as soon as we have additional information. For an overview of RON, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2019/11/the-state-of-remote-online-notarization

Perla

09 Apr 2020

Hello, when will California be approved to perform RON Notarizations? Not sure I understand why New York was approved, but we in California still have not? Any insight would be appreciated. Thank You, Perla

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. California lawmakers have not authorized Notaries to perform RONs at this time. If this changes, we will update our coverage in the Bulletin with any new information.

Stacy Edge

09 Apr 2020

Has RON been temporarily approved in Georgia?

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. Please continue to check here for updates this week.

Pam Wilson

09 Apr 2020

Is Oklahoma doing this?

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. Yes, Oklahoma has authorized its Notaries to perform RONs. Please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/06/remote-notarization-what-you-need-to-know

Erika Dawne Marston

09 Apr 2020

Has Nevada authorized RON?

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. Yes, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/06/remote-notarization-what-you-need-to-know

Cynthia Lewis

10 Apr 2020

My question is:. What can notary do in the state of Texas? Can we do RON or allowed in our state? What can Texas during this time of COVID-19? Are escrow company still needing notaries to documentations since everyone is to stay home? Awaiting your answer.

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2020

Hello. Yes, Texas Notaries can apply to perform RONs. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/about-notaries/how-to-become-a-notary-public/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary#TexasRON

dwhitford@financialguide.com

17 Apr 2020

What are the rules for remote signing in Virginia?

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2020

Please see here for more information: https://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/notary-commissions/enotary-faq/

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