Industry News

New Mexico title insurers accused of shady dealings

State official denies allegations

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New Mexico title insurance companies allegedly gave money to a nonprofit foundation co-founded by the state's Superintendent of Insurance in an attempt to persuade him to set high title insurance rates, according to a lawsuit filed last week. The class-action suit, filed in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, N.M., alleges that various title companies operating in the state contributed nearly $48,000 to Con Alma, a nonprofit associated with Superintendent of Insurance Eric Serna, in 2003 and 2004. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission's Insurance Division sets uniform title insurance rates for all companies after holding a hearing each year. Serna denies the implication that the contributions led to favorable treatment. "The implications they are trying to make don't pass the test," said Serna. "It's a stretch to say that because they (title insurance companies) made contributions to the nonprofit private health foundation that serves underserved areas and poor commu...