Stewart Title Logo Privacy

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR COMMITMENT TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY

Stewart seeks to provide the best possible service to its customers. We understand how important it is to protect your personal information and to give you confidence that any personal information that you provide to us or that we collect from you will be safeguarded.

Accordingly, we are firmly committed to ensuring that we are open and transparent about the manner in which we collect, hold, manage and use any personal information that you may provide to us or we may lawfully receive in order for us to assess your request for insurance and to provide you with our services. We abide by the Australian Privacy Principles for the protection of personal information. These are set out in the Privacy Act 1998.

We are constantly reviewing all of our policies and attempt to keep up to date with market expectations. As a result, this Privacy Policy may change from time to time. Please refer to our website at www.stewartau.com for the most recent update.

CHANGES TO OUR PRIVACY POLICY

We may occasionally update our Privacy Policy at our discretion. When we do, we will amend the revision date at the top of this page, and the modified or amended policy shall be effective as to you and your personal information as of that revision date.

You should periodically review our Privacy Policy to remain informed about our current practices as to the protection of your personal information.

WHO ARE WE?

Stewart is a branch of Stewart Title Limited United Kingdom. Stewart is an insurance company that provides title insurance services throughout Australia.

For more information about Stewart please click on the links below:

WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DOES STEWART COLLECT AND WHY?

We recognise that any personal information we collect, use and disclose about you may only be collected, used and disclosed for the primary and related purposes for which it was collected as indicated in this Privacy Policy and where you would reasonably expect us to. We only collect information from you that is necessary for us to:

We collect personal information that you provide directly to us, or that we may lawfully collect, at the time you request that we provide you with our services, or when you make a claim under a policy that we have issued to you.

"Personal information" means information or opinions about an individual whose identity can be apparent or can be reasonably ascertained from the information.

"Sensitive information" means personal information or an opinion about your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of a trade union, sexual preferences or practices, criminal record. It also includes your health information or genetic information. Please note: we do not collect “sensitive information” for the purposes of assessing your request for insurance and providing you with our services.

WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT? PRIMARY PURPOSE
Contact & Identifying Information: your name, address, e-mail address and/or other contact information, property details, purchase price of property, street address and title particulars and insurance policy details.

We may also require proof of identity such as:
  • Driver’s licence
  • Passport
  • Equivalent identity card
  • Local Authority Rates Notice
  • to process, investigate and respond to any complaint made by you
  • to deal with any enquiries about policy coverage or to provide you with a quote
  • to process applications for insurance and assess risk
  • to make underwriting decisions regarding the insurability of a transaction
  • for the purpose, where required, of obtaining reinsurance
  • to meet legal and regulatory requirements
  • any third parties that we engage on your behalf or which you engage directly in connection with the services we are providing to you, including barristers, auditors, accountants, third party experts and other consultants or advisors
  • to investigate and adjudicate claims made under our policies, including investigations by third parties hired by Stewart
  • to contact you regarding or otherwise enforcing issues with your use of services such as posting on online forums, subject to our applicable terms of use
  • to determine which of our products meet the needs of individual customers
  • to investigate and detect potentially fraudulent transactions
Occupation and Personal Information: age, occupation, TFN, professional details, salary and professional memberships.
  • to process applications for employment with Stewart
  • to process and assess requests to provide legal, building, engineering and other expert consultancy services to Stewart
Financial Information: bank account or other financial account number and account details
  • for claim processing and settlement
  • for issuing refunds of premium if you validly cancel your policy
  • for issuing refunds for any premium overpayments
  • to facilitate payment of any fees if you are a business service provider to Stewart
Information About Your Property: including, but not limited to:
  • copy of your contract for sale, including special conditions and other disclosure documents which detail the existence of title defects and other adverse circumstances/issues affecting your property
  • building inspection reports and other due diligence reports which you may have carried out in relation to a property which we are being asked to insure
  • communications, including, emails, letters, faxes, between you and your lawyer or conveyancer in relation to the purchase of your property or between your conveyancer or lawyer and the conveyancer or lawyer acting on behalf of the vendor of the property which we are being asked to insure
  • to process applications for insurance and assess risk
  • to make underwriting decisions regarding the insurability of a transaction
  • for the purpose, where required, of obtaining reinsurance
  • to determine whether to provide exclusions, exceptions or conditions on cover
  • to investigate and adjudicate claims made under our policies, including investigations by third parties hired by Stewart
  • to determine which of our products meet the needs of individual customers
  • to investigate and detect potentially fraudulent transactions
Information About Your Conveyancing Transaction: copy of the conveyancing file from the law firm or conveyancing firm who acted for you when you purchased the insured property.
  • to assist any third parties that we engage on your behalf or which you engage directly in connection with the services we are providing to you, including barristers, auditors, accountants, third party experts and other consultants or advisors
  • to investigate and adjudicate claims made under our policies, including investigations by third parties hired by Stewart
Website Analytics:
  • IP addresses and domains
  • Web “cookies”
  • to improve our service to you by bettering your user experience of our website
  • please also refer to our explanation concerning the use of “cookies” as noted in this Policy

HOW DO WE COLLECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

Stewart only collects your personal information with your consent. Whether the consent is express or implied may vary depending upon the sensitivity of the information and the reasonable expectations of the individual.

By visiting our website, applying for any of our services, making a claim or providing us with your personal information, you consent to your personal information being collected, held, used and disclosed as set out in this Privacy Policy. Your consent may be withdrawn at any time, subject to legal or contractual restrictions and reasonable notice. We will inform you of any implications of withdrawing your consent.

In all cases, Stewart only collects personal information by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Where Stewart collects personal information about you from a third party, we take reasonable steps to ensure that you are aware of the identity of the third party, their contact details, the purposes for which the information is collected and your ability to access the information.

We may collect your personal information:

We may also collect information from other sources, such as publicly available information from social media services and publically and commercially available sources such as online real estate listings and mapping or satellite imagery services such as google Earth and similar services.

TO WHOM WILL STEWART DISCLOSE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

We are committed to handling your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act. We will only use and disclose your personal information in circumstances where it is necessary in order for us to provide you with our services or otherwise only as permitted or required by law. Sometimes we are required or authorised by law to disclose your personal information. For example in response to a subpoena we may be required to disclose your personal information to a Court or Tribunal.

Access to personal information is restricted to Stewart employees and third party providers who require access for business purposes, such as:

Personal information is kept in a combination of paper and electronic format. Paper records, including general business records, are stored in our Australian head office. We transfer personal information (which may include electronic formats such as emails) for administrative, data back-up, processing (including claims administration) and reinsurance purposes to our head office, Stewart Title Limited United Kingdom, our affiliate, Stewart Title Guaranty Company Canadian Division, and/or our international head office, Stewart Title Guaranty, USA (“Other Jurisdiction Offices”).

Personal information transferred outside of Australia may be accessible to regulatory authorities and enforcement agencies in accordance with the laws of the respective countries in the Other Jurisdiction Offices. By availing yourself of our products and services, you consent to the transfer of your personal information to the Other Jurisdiction Offices.

We take all reasonable steps to satisfy ourselves that our overseas offices or our service providers are committed to complying with this Privacy Policy.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PROPERTY

From time to time, certain information about your property, such as information about a known title defect or other adverse circumstances/issues affecting your property (“Known Risks”), may be disclosed to Stewart in the course of Stewart providing you with our services. Disclosure of Known Risks may result in Stewart issuing an exclusion, exception or condition on the cover it would normally provide to you. Such exclusions, exceptions and conditions are normally detailed in the Schedule B which forms part of your title insurance policy.

In the future, a prospective purchaser of your property may request similar services from Stewart. In those circumstances, Stewart may use the information relating to the Known Risks for the purposes of assessing any request for our services by a purchaser of your property. Stewart may for this purpose:

By availing yourself of our services you consent to our use and disclosure of the Known Risks, as outlined above, to any subsequent purchaser(s) or other third party(s) and their legal or conveyancing representatives who ask us to insure the property at any time in the future.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE CAN’T COLLECT, USE OR DISCLOSE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

In most cases, you will be required to provide some or all of the personal information identified in this policy in order for us to provide you with our services.

If you do not properly identify yourself or use a pseudonym, such as a nickname, we may not be able to provide all of our services—particularly in circumstances where Stewart does not consider it to be practicable. In order to enter into and administer insurance cover as a binding contract in accordance with applicable laws, Stewart is required to identify and verify an individual is authorised to access or change personal information that we hold in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

If you do not provide us with the personal information described in this policy or if you notify us that you do not consent to the use and disclosure of your personal information and the circumstances may require such disclosure, as outlined in this Privacy Policy, we may not be able to:

HOW DOES STEWART USE ’COOKIES’?

When you use Stewart’s websites, if you do nothing during your visit but browse through the information contained on the web pages, we still may gather certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We may automatically gather the Internet domain, the source by which you came to our site (e.g. Google search or Bing search), IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the web) from which you access our websites, and the date and time you access our website, and the pages you visit.

Stewart does not use ‘cookies’ for the purpose of collecting information about you, your internet use or other sites visited. We use ‘cookies’ (a) for the purpose of security and authentication and (b) to improve your user experience of our websites. Cookies may help us recall a previous visit. The cookies we use do not collect personally identifiable information, and we do not use them to determine your identity. If you are not comfortable with this use, you may configure your browser to be notified when cookies are to be received and to provide you with the option of refusing cookies. However, refusing cookies may limit your ability to use our websites in their entirety.

HOW DOES STEWART PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

Stewart is strongly committed to personal information security and we take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect personal information from unauthorised access, unlawful loss or disclosure, misuse, alteration or corruption.

Personal information is protected with safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information. We store your personal information in a secure and confidential environment.

Stewart employees are made aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personal information, and exercise care in the disposal or destruction of personal information to prevent unauthorised parties from gaining access to it. Stewart employees also receive appropriate privacy awareness training on induction and regularly thereafter (at least annually).

Stewart has put in place physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure personal information. The following, non-exhaustive list of measures include:

Any unauthorised disclosure of personal information to a third party by an employee may result in disciplinary proceedings.

Personal information collected via any of Stewart’s proprietary policy ordering application systems is hosted at secure locations by Stewart Title Guaranty Company Canadian Division. However, personal information collected via means other than STEPS, such as the internet and e-mail, are not secure environments. If you send us personal information by these means you do so at your own risk.

When personal information is no longer required to fulfil the purpose for which it was collected, where possible, it will be destroyed, erased, or made anonymous, provided there are no legal requirements for its continued retention. Our systematic practices for information and records retention and destruction apply to personal information.

HOW CAN I ACCESS AND UPDATE MY PERSONAL INFORMATION?

It is important to us that the personal information we hold about you is accurate. You may request access to your personal information or request that your personal information be updated or corrected at any time, provided any request for access, updating, or correction be made in writing, together with the appropriate proof of identification, such as a certified copy of your passport or drivers licence or similar identity card. Stewart will provide you with access to your personal information upon request, subject to any exemptions provided under the Privacy Act.

Please make your written request to:

The Privacy Officer
Stewart Title Limited
GPO Box 527
Sydney NSW 2001
Phone: 02 9081 6200
Fax: 02 9081 6299
Email: PrivacyAU@stewart.com

Stewart reserves the right to refuse any request for access to personal information which is not made in writing and is not supported by appropriate proof of identification.

Stewart will consider your request for access, update, or correction and will endeavour to respond in writing within 10 business days. If Stewart is required to decline your request for access, update, or correction of your personal information, we will provide you with written reasons for our decision.

WHAT IF I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE USE OF MY PERSONAL INFORMATION?

If you believe that your personal information has not been used in accordance with this Privacy Policy then please contact The Privacy Officer immediately. Your concerns will be promptly investigated.

If Stewart is unable to resolve your concerns or if you remain dissatisfied with the response you receive from us, you may contact our Complaints Officer who will attempt to resolve your complaint in accordance with our Complaints Procedure:

Telephone (02) 9081 6200
Toll Free : 1800 300 440
Fax Toll Free : 1300 898 175
E-mail complaintsau@stewart.com
Mail Complaints Officer
Stewart Title Limited
GPO BOX 527
Sydney NSW 2001

If you remain unhappy with the resolution of your complaint or with the way that Stewart has handled your personal information, you may be able to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service subject to its Terms of Reference or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

The contact details for these bodies are as follows:

Financial Ombudsman Service Limited
GPO Box 3
Melbourne VIC 3001
1300 78 08 08
www.fos.org.au
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001
1300 363 992
www.oaic.gov.au

NOTIFIABLE DATA BREACH REPORTING

The Privacy Act 1998 establishes requirements for responding to data breaches, including notification obligations when a data breach is likely to result in serious harm to any individuals whose personal information is involved in the breach (the “NDB scheme”). Stewart complies with the NDB scheme.

Stewart has implemented a notifiable data breach response plan, a copy of which can be accessed here.

If Stewart becomes aware of or has reasonable grounds to believe an eligible data breach has occurred, Stewart will promptly notify individuals at likely risk of serious harm. Stewart will also notify the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (the Commissioner) as soon as practicable through a statement about the eligible data breach.

The notification to affected individuals and the Commissioner will include the following information: