ALTA® Commends California Judge's Ruling to Uphold Cease and Desist Order Against Radian Guaranty

January 8, 2003

National Trade Association Says Ruling Reinforces Consumer Protection From Unregulated, Unlicensed Activity; Urges Commissioner Garamendi to Ratify Ruling

WASHINGTON-- - The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association for the title insurance industry, today applauded the recent ruling by California Administrative Law Judge, Leonard L. Scott, upholding the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Department of Insurance in June 2002 against Radian Guaranty Inc. and Amerin Guaranty Corp.

The order, which required Radian and Amerin to stop selling unlicensed title insurance in the state, was appealed by Radian on the grounds that its product, Radian Lien Protection, was a form of private mortgage insurance (PMI) and not title insurance. Scott affirmed the Department's ruling that the product is title insurance, which Radian is not licensed to sell in California or any other state.

"We applaud Judge Scott's ruling affirming the appropriateness and legality of the Department's actions, and urge Commissioner Garamendi to support the judge's decision," said James Maher, executive vice president ALTA. "ALTA believes in the regulatory framework that safeguards consumers against unregulated, unlicensed title insurance products.

"Eight states have already issued similar restraints on Radian, and we believe the California ruling paves the way for other states to stop unregulated insurance companies from offering products that expose consumers to unwarranted risks."

According to Maher, Radian aggressively marketed its Lien Protection Product as an alternative to title insurance, claiming essentially the same benefits as title insurance but at a substantially reduced price -- claims he said are completely false and misleading.

Maher said these alternative title insurance products do not provide many of the central and important services and coverages of traditional title insurance, such as performing a full title search, locating and correcting title defects, providing legal defense in the event of a title challenge, and guaranteeing the enforceability of the mortgage, to name a few.

"Advances in technology and competitive pressure have essentially driven down costs for title insurance, especially on refinance and home equity loans where the due diligence work required to assure title has been recently performed. Not only are our prices comparable to or less expensive than Radian's product, the protection and benefits are substantially greater."


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

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