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Insurance commissioner talks tough on title insurance

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California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has chosen a smart path through the tangled thicket of property title insurance regulation. While the rate caps proposed by his predecessor aren't Poizner's preferred solution, he's said he is prepared to go forward with the plan, unless other more palatable solutions are placed on the table. Poizner, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is an advocate of free markets, which he described in a recent speech as being characterized by three fundamental elements: plenty of choices for consumers, good information that enables consumers to set a value on those choices, and a regulator or law official that can remove bad actors from the market. Rate caps are by definition anathema to free markets, but as Poizner himself has said, the insurance commissioner "doesn't have too many levers" when it comes to regulation of title insurance. California already regulates rates for homeowner's and auto insurance, and the "lever" of simila...