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Old Republic settles rebating charges

California title insurance regulators collect $399,000 in penalties, legal costs

Old Republic Title Co. has agreed to pay California regulators $399,000 to settle allegations that the company provided illegal rebates to lenders as an inducement for business. In announcing the settlement, the California Department of Insurance said Old Republic provided discounts to certain lenders, charging them a discounted escrow contract rate offered for multiple loan transactions, and a portfolio residential refinance rate, even though the lenders did not meet the qualification criteria for those rates. The Department of Insurance said it began investigating Old Republic in April, after receiving written complaints that the company was not adhering to the rates on file with regulators for residential title insurance and escrow services. State insurance regulators said they discovered "a high incidence of rating errors that resulted in undercharges," which is considered unlawful rebating. "While this behavior may seem innocuous at first glance, unlaw...