(1) A title company may make expenditures for business meals on behalf of any individual, only if the expenditure meets all the following criteria:
(a) An individual representing the title company is present during the business meal;
(b) There is a substantial and substantive title insurance business discussion directly before, during or after the business meal;
(c) No more than four individuals that are employed by or are independent contractors of the same producer are provided a business meal during a single event (spouses and guests of the producer must be included in the count for purposes of determining the four-person maximum); and
(d) The title company does not expend more than one hundred dollars per individual throughout any calendar year for all business meals.
(2) The business meals permitted in subsection (1) of this section must not include open houses of producers wherever located, including but not limited to, at the producers premises or facilities or homes of property for sale.
(3) For purposes of this section, "meals" includes, but is not limited to, breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, receptions, or cocktails and other beverages, whether the meals occur on or off the title company's premises.
(4) For purposes of determining the maximum permitted expenditure under subsection (1) of this section, all of the following requirements must be met:
(a) All costs associated with a meal must be included in the calculation of expenses. When calculating the cost of a meal, the title company must include all costs paid by the title company for travel, transportation, hotel, equipment or facility rental, food, cocktails and other beverages, refreshments, and registration or entry fees, except those fees incurred solely by the title company and that do not benefit the producer.
(b) Attendance at or an invitation to a meal must not be based on or be given as compensation for forwarding or directing title business to the title company.
(c) For accounting purposes, the expenditures by a title company for a meal may be prorated among all attendees, including the title company employees.
(5) A title company may host no more than two self-promotional functions per year, only if all of the following requirements are met:
(a) Any self-promotional function must be at the title company's owned or occupied facility at which the title company conducts its regular business. The self-promotional function must be nonexclusive and open to all producers.
(b) A title company must not spend more than fifteen dollars per guest reasonably expected to attend at any one self-promotional function.
(c) A title company must not combine permitted expenditures for two self-promotional functions into a single self-promotional function.
(d) A title company must not accumulate or carry forward left over or unused expenditures from one self-promotional function to a subsequent self-promotional function.
(e) If a title company owns or leases and maintains a complete set of tract indexes in more than one county, then the limits set forth in this subsection apply on a county by county basis.
(i) The self-promotional functions must be at the title company's owned or occupied facility at which the title company conducts its regular business in the county for which it owns or leases and maintains a complete set of tract indexes.
(ii) The title company must not combine permitted expenditures for a self-promotional function from one county to another county.
(6) The limits contained in subsections (1) and (5) of this section are separate limits and an expenditure made for an activity under one of these subsections is not applied to the limit under the other subsection.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060, 48.29.005 and 48.29.210. 09-05-077 (Matter No. R 2008-21), § 284-29-230, filed 2/17/09, effective 3/20/09.]