Thursday, February 14, 2008

Title Insurance Exits Stealth Mode

Title insurance follows loan, appraisal and brokerage as the latest real estate industry segment to come under public scrutiny. Title Insurance protects parties to a real estate transaction (buyers, sellers and lenders) in case issues of ownership arise. In Southern California, the Seller typically pays for a title insurance policy that protects the buyer.

The Wall Street Journal reports how alleged collusion among the major title insurers has resulted in an anti-trust case in the State of New York.

The Los Angeles Times trounces on the industry and details how consumers pay elevated title fees because of kick-backs and side dealing between title companies and brokers and agents.

The California Land Title Association launched a useful website where consumers can compare title insurance rates -- Increased transparency has resulted in an overall reduction in title insurance rates.

What is not apparent is that many of the title companies appearing in the search are affiliated (for example, the major Fidelity National Financial Inc. owns Ticor Title, Chicago Title and Security Union Title.)