Industry News

Congress grills title insurance industry

Fixes for regulation suggested in House hearing

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The U.S. House Financial Services subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday to air mounting concerns about the title insurance industry, which came under an intense spotlight after a February 2005 investigation of nine Colorado title insurers for alleged kickback schemes. Participants suggested amending existing regulations, educating consumers and, in one case, scrapping the present approach altogether and adopting a state-run system similar to the one currently used in Iowa. The eight panelists included Erin Toll, the Colorado regulator who set off the furor with her 2005 probe, Thomas M. Stevens, president of the National Association of Realtors, and Douglas Miller, CEO of a 55-agent Minneapolis title insurance agency he claimed is having a hard time competing because he refuses to engage in unethical practices. The original Colorado probe sparked dozens of investigations nationwide, in Florida, Washington, Hawaii, California, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Washington and other states. In Janua...