Minnesota to Continue Aggressively Enforcing Title Violations

April 12, 2007

WASHINGTON, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Glenn Wilson expects "hundreds and hundreds of enforcement actions" statewide this year and a 10-fold increase in license seizures and fines in sanctioning non-compliant companies.

Recently fining four Minnesota title insurance companies more than $1 million combined -- including $500,000 against First American Title Insurance Company of Santa Ana, Calif. -- is only the start. Wilson told members of the Real Estate Services Providers Council, Inc. (RESPRO) conference in Washington, D.C. on April 11 that affiliated business arrangements benefit from increased government oversight.

"The marketplace has righted itself," Wilson said. "We are making a difference in the business and getting mostly individual renegades. People are beginning to realize we have to change the way the industry functions.

Wilson said the recent closing of 35 title companies statewide isn't reflective of the overall industry that is 99 percent compliant. He praised RESPRO, an association of real estate broker-owners, real estate franchisers, mortgage lenders/brokers, title insurers/agents, home builders, home warranty companies and other settlement service providers throughout North America for its commitment to make affiliated businesses legally-compliant with federal and state laws.

Increased government regulation isn't unique to Minnesota. More than a dozen states have added regulations over settlement services to penalize problem companies.

"We're still small enough that word gets around," said Bill Lacy, director of the Arkansas Dept. of Insurance's Property and Casualty Division and a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, of problem companies.

Source: Real Estate Services Providers Council, Inc.

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

North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.