Industry News

Spitzer opens title insurance probe

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New York's attorney general and insurance department are investigating national title insurance companies for suspected illegal kickbacks, the insurance department confirmed today. The two are probing whether title insurers illegally paid millions of dollars in premium rebates to real estate developers and national chain stores, as well as referral fees to title agents, mortgage brokers and attorneys who delivered clients, confirmed Michael Barry, spokesman for the New York State Insurance Department. "We expect to wrap up the investigation in a few months," said Barry. In concert with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the department is investigating companies including First American Title Insurance Co., Fidelity National Title Group, LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. and Stewart Title Insurance Co., the New York state underwriter for Stewart Information Services Corp., Barry confirmed. Investigators in New York believe some title insurance companies misled the state into setti...