Industry News

First American Title pays $10M to settle illegal rebate charges

Company allegedly provided cash, gifts for referrals

First American Title Insurance Co. has quietly agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations by California regulators that the company illegally drummed up business by making cash payments and other inducements to real estate professionals that included free software, tickets to rock concerts, chartered fishing trips, riverboat dinner cruises, and trips to racetracks and casinos. The payments and inducements to builders, lenders and real estate agents and brokers totaled $371,490 -- including $106,000 in cash payments to Frontier Homes LLC, an Ontario, Calif., builder -- according to allegations in a Nov. 6 notice filed by the California Department of Insurance's legal division. First American sales managers and sales representatives in San Bernardino County also racked up $265,490 expenses, providing free software, entertainment, gifts, food and beverages and transportation to real estate professionals which regulators said amounted to illegal rebates. The settlement, signed D...