Limited regulation, complicated business affiliations and an apparent lack of consumer protections have clouded title insurance industry operations, and regulators must step up oversight and enforcement to ensure cost competition and prevent illegal activities, a government report concludes. "Given consumers' weak position in the title insurance market, regulatory efforts to ensure reasonable prices and deter illegal marketing activities are critical. However, state regulators have not collected the type of data, primarily on title agents' costs and operations, needed to analyze premium prices and underlying costs," according to the report, released this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO officials recommend that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and state regulators "improve consumers' ability to shop for title insurance based on price." Title insurers tend to market to lenders and real estate brokers rather than to the consumers that ultimately...
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