News Insurance Commission Omission
posted by October 17 at 17:28 PMon
The PI article about title insurance companies illegally spending thousands of dollars to woo clients may be the most boring scandal ever exposed, but this afternoon it got slightly more interesting.
11 insurance companies are named in the State Insurance Commissioner’s report, all of which went over (um, really really over) the state’s $25 cap on “prizes, goods, wares or merchandise” given to realty companies with whom they want to get buddy-buddy.
But a tipster who used to work as an internal auditor for Fidelity Insurance (one of the companies named) called in today to tell us that the PI article left out a crucial point: while 11 companies are named, several of them are actually the same few corporations.
The PI’s list of the offending companies looks like this: Chicago Title Insurance, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance, Commonwealth Land Title of Puget Sound, Transnation Title Insurance, Fidelity National Insurance, First American Title Insurance, Old Republic Title, Pacific Northwest Title, Rainier Title, Stewart Title of Seattle, Ticor Title of Washington.
It really looks like this: Fidelity (owner of Fidelity, Ticor and Chicago Title), LandAmerica (owner of Rainier, Transnation and both Commonwealths), First American (owner of First American and Pacific Northwest), Stewart and Old Republic.
Why is this important? Because it means there’s really 5 violating companies, not 11. And because the reason State Insurance Comissioner Mike Kreidler gave for not prosecuting any of the companies despite the giant damning investigation is “because the problems were so widespread” and also that prosecution wasn’t completely necessary because “he expected companies obeying the law to start turning in competitors who weren’t.”
Doesn’t it drastically undermine Kreidler’s already shaky logic if the “widepsread” problem is the violation of 5 companies, not 11? And the field is only half as competitive as it’s portrayed to be?
File under boring but important, please.