New Mexico regulators propose rolling back title insurance rates in the state by 6.3 percent on Sept. 1, although the industry has the right to appeal the change to the state Public Regulation Commission.
New Mexico’s state superintendent of insurance, Morris J. Chavez, cited a recent report on competition in the state’s title insurance industry as the justification for the rollback, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s Insurance Division staff had recommended a 1.7 percent rate reduction, and the New Mexico Land Title Association advocated limiting rate cuts to 1.4 percent, the newspaper said.
Consumers have filed three lawsuits alleging that title insurance rates are too high, and the commission has formed a task force to study the industry, the New Mexican reported.
The task force’s membership will reportedly include Birny Birnbaum, the former chief economist for the Texas Department of Insurance. Birnbaum authored a study of California’s title insurance industry that was cited as justification for a proposed $1 billion-a-year rate rollback.
California’s proposed rollback and a plan to introduce rate caps based on title insurance companies’ expenses has been postponed until 2011.
Texas, however, has cut title insurance rates by 17 percent since 1998, most recently ordering a 3.2 percent rate rollback on Feb. 1.