A Web site where consumers can comparison shop for title insurance launched today.
West Palm Beach. Fla.-based TitleInsurance.com has a nationwide network of title insurance companies that provide quotes to consumers who are looking for title insurance.
As with real estate lead generation sites such as HomeGain, consumers give up personal information including their names, telephone numbers and other details in exchange for the service.
Title insurance companies pay $14.45 a month for the first county and $14.95 a month for each additional county to be listed on the site.
Titleinsurance.com limits its membership to five title insurance providers per county, saying this will maximize the opportunity for title insurance providers to obtain a high volume of qualified leads.
The title insurance industry came under an intense spotlight in 2005. Colorado’s Insurance Division in February 2005 investigated nine Colorado title insurers for alleged kickback schemes said to result in overcharges to consumers. The probe sparked dozens of investigations nationwide, in Florida, Washington, Hawaii, California, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Washington and other states.
Michael Oxley, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, on Jan. 24 asked the Government Accountability Office, a government watchdog, to open an investigation into title insurance practices nationwide.
In a press release, TitleInsurance.com said, “Since most consumers do not comparison shop for title insurance, they can end up paying substantially more than necessary.”
The press release said that even though title insurance premiums are often regulated and do not vary from company to company, there is often a laundry list of unregulated, discretionary fees that title companies charge and which offer a huge opportunity for consumers to save hundreds of dollars or more.
“What many consumers don’t realize is that they are legally free to buy from any title insurer they choose,” said the company’s founder, Joan Rosenstock, in a statement.
“Titleinsurance.com operates under the basic economic concept of supply and demand, and by doing so, empowers the consumer by allowing them to choose from up to five competitive title insurance quotes at a time,” Rosenstock said.