CA Commissioner vows to repair problems plaguing Title industry

May 31, 2007

SACRAMENTO – Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today that he has submitted regulations designed to address systemic problems in the Title insurance industry. The regulations, which the Department of Insurance has been working on for two years, will become effective January 1, 2009.

“The Title industry is broken and I intend to fix it,” said Commissioner Poizner. “Because there is no meaningful competition in the title industry, consumers are paying unnecessarily high rates. These regulations will ensure that prices are fair.”

In addition, Poizner announced that the Department would increase its market conduct and investigative activities with regard to title insurers.

“There are a number of practices in this industry that must stop,” said Commissioner Poizner. “This department has broad authority to enforce action against those who break the law. In the last five years, the Department of Insurance has collected more than $48 million in fines, costs and restitution from those who don’t play by the rules, and we will continue our aggressive efforts.”

Between now and the implementation date, the Department will work to fine-tune the data call outlined in the regulations. This is a very technical and comprehensive undertaking and the Department wants to ensure that all necessary information will be obtained. At the same time, the Department also wants to ensure that that data collection process will not be unnecessarily burdensome for businesses.

“As a regulator, it is my job to step in when the market fails. To date, the industry has resisted necessary reforms. Faced with pending regulations, I expect the industry to propose and implement a series of fundamental reforms including licensing of sales agents, rate reduction and simplification, and increased direct marketing to consumers to create more choice,” said Commissioner Poizner. “While I am receptive to alternatives, I will settle for nothing less than a comprehensive package of reforms that will clean up the industry and ensure meaningful competition that benefits consumers. Additionally, I expect to see significant rate reductions within the next 12 months.”

Source: CA Insurance Commission

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