Industry News

Title insurance probe could prompt new regulations

Washington insurance commissioner finds companies illegally wining, dining clients

Claiming title insurance companies have been landing business by illegally wining and dining real estate agents, bankers and lenders, Washington state officials are laying the groundwork for increased regulation of the industry. Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a report this week on an 18-month investigation of a dozen title companies in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Kreidler said the investigation found "all the major players in the greater Seattle title insurance market were routinely breaking state laws that limit and restrict the use of incentives and giveaways to steer business." Washington state law limits the use of incentives and inducements to $25 per person per year. Investigators found that many of the companies exceeded those limits by thousands of dollars on a regular basis. One company spent $11,000 on tickets and expenses at two Seattle Sonics basketball games, investigators said. One agent spent $6,000 for cocktails during the 18-mont...

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