News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: August 30, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Settlement with Corinthian Title Company
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that he has reached an agreement with an underwritten title company to resolve an enforcement action taken against the company by the Department of Insurance. Corinthian Title Company, Inc., licensed to transact title business in San Diego county, allegedly failed to file escrow rates between October 2008 and November 2009 despite the fact it solicited and provided escrow services during that time; failed to comply with its underwriter's filed rates, resulting in overcharges and undercharges; and gave discounts on lender title insurance policies in residential refinance transactions that did not meet qualification criteria for those discounts, resulting in undercharges alleged as illegal rebates to induce the referral of business.
"I refuse to allow title companies to break the law through illegal rebating or through overcharging consumers," said Commissioner Poizner. "It is mandatory that companies file their schedule of rates prior to charging those rates and the rates they file with the Department are the rates they are required to charge consumers - no more and no less. I will continue to make sure that consumers are treated fairly, and that title insurance companies are not driving up costs in the system through illegal rebating and other schemes."
This settlement with Corinthian includes a $100,000 monetary penalty, plus a $10,000 reimbursement of legal fees and costs to the Department of Insurance. The settlement also includes an agreement by Corinthian Title to cease and desist from failing to file rates and to cease and desist from failing to conform to filed rates. Additionally, the company agreed to cease and desist from engaging in illegal rebate conduct.
Corinthian has also agreed to undergo stringent changes in its business practices, including agreeing to conduct a compliance audit of each title order and escrow order prior to billing the order to make certain the charge adheres to filed rates. The company will also conduct compliance training of all title marketing representatives and other internal personnel regarding rate compliance requirements and illegal rebate issues. They will additionally submit and implement a corrective action plan to establish an oversight and training program to ensure conformance with filed rates, rules, and rating systems. This action plan will be approved by CDI.
Commissioner Poizner advises consumers that they have a choice when it comes to which title company to use. Prices can vary and consumers can compare rates on nearly 100 Title insurance companies in California via a Web site like http://www.clta.titlewizard.com/, which utilizes a software-generated system to deliver up-to-date Title rates. Sellers, home buyers, and homeowners looking to refinance their homes will be able to search by zip code and other factors to find the most competitive provider in their area.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.