Industry News

Companies agree to $1.6 million settlement in title reinsurance probe

California, Colorado among states conducting own investigations

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A national mortgage lender and two major home builders who engaged in captive title reinsurance have reached a $1.6 million settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD announced today. HUD has reached a $650,000 settlement with CitiMortgage Inc. and its captive title reinsurance company, Chesapeake Reinsurance; a $675,000 settlement with M.D.C. Holdings Inc., some of its Richmond American Homes home-building subsidiaries, and AHT Reinsurance; and a $305,000 settlement with WL Homes, which does business as John Laing Homes, a California and Colorado builder. HUD maintains that captive title reinsurance -- in which a title insurance company transfers a portion of the risk and title premium to a company owned by the builder, lender or real estate broker referring the title business -- violates the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) when payments exceed the value of the reinsurance. HUD frowns on such deals when they involve an entity that is in a posi...