Industry News

GAO says title insurance rates, regulation lack clarity

Watchdog agency targets issues for further study

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A report on title insurance by a government watchdog agency has been greeted as "validation" by an activist and as "demonstrating a good understanding of the importance of title insurance" by an industry group. The 24-page report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office Tuesday examines competitive issues in the industry, including the fact that home buyers seldom shop for title insurance, the regulatory confusion surrounding the issue, charges of illegal kickbacks and sham business arrangements raised in probes nationally, and Housing and Urban Development actions. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, in January asked that the GAO investigate the title insurance industry. The report, which doesn't draw any conclusions, but identifies and reports on issues for further study, came in response. The report was released Monday, two days before a U.S. House Financial Services subcommittee hearing today on competition, pricing and recent prob...