Statement by Craig Page Executive Vice President, CA Land Title Association

May 31, 2007

SACRAMENTO, Calif., "The California Land Title Association (CLTA) believes that competition in the title insurance industry has driven prices lower for consumers in California. The CLTA is committed to continuing to present alternatives to the Department's rate setting regulations. Our goals are to enhance consumer protection and to preserve the healthy, competitive title insurance market in California.

"The title insurance industry is fiercely competitive in California with nearly 100 title companies licensed to do business; and independent surveys have shown that prices for title insurance are lower in California than the national average. In fact, a recent report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that rates in California declined by 29% during the last five years.

"The CLTA has presented proposals that more fully empower consumers to shop for title insurance. For example, the CLTA is promoting new, cutting-edge internet applications that provide consumers with helpful information when shopping for title insurance. We look forward to continuing our discussions with the Department of Insurance regarding consumer transparency in the title insurance marketplace."

The California Land Title Association (CLTA) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1907 and will proudly celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. The Association's membership is comprised of title insurance companies and underwritten title companies conducting business throughout the state of California. The goals of the CLTA include expediting the transfer and insurance of title to real property throughout California, increasing the public's awareness of the value and purpose of title insurance, and protecting private property rights.

Title insurance is used by homebuyers and lenders for protection against back taxes, undisclosed liens, legal judgments, forgeries, fraud and a host of other potential legal/financial problems that can arise when purchasing or refinancing property. Most of the title insurance premium goes towards identifying and eliminating these potential problems before the close of escrow.

Consumers pay only once for title insurance -- there are no monthly premiums -- for coverage that lasts as long as they own the property.

Source: California Land Title Association

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