Stewart Title fine tuned in the amount of $1,950,000

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Drevil20_origMike Kreidler, Insurance Commission for the State of Washington, would like Stewart Title to pay one-point-nine MILLION dollars for exceeding the $25.00 per year amount allowed to be spent on their customers.   Again, this is just for Snohomish County other Puget Sound title insurers are under investigation.

The Notice of Hearing, which was filed today, includes a details of each violation dating back from December 2006.   The list also discloses line by line advertising infractions including the real estate offices name and the initials of the real estate agents receiving the illegal inducement for business.

The read the Notice of Hearing, Download insurance_commissioner.pdf

Comments

  1. That’s a pretty hefty fine for a small independent title agency. If I’m not mistaken, Stewart’s Snohomish County operation is an agency and not a direct operation. Last time I checked, they had the number one position in market share for residential resale business.

    I wonder if those agents will still stay with Stewart Title.

    Even if he cuts the fine in half, that’s still probably way more money than the company has in retained earnings. It will be interesting to see how this affects their small business and all their employees.

  2. Hi Jillayne, Does size matter if the company is not following the law? If they have the most market share, it looks like they bought it. If you read the Notice of Hearing, it’s a prettly lengthy list of violations.

    Whether they’re the largest company or the smallest, we all have to play by the rules or pay the price.

  3. I did read the notice and it gave the real estate office names with the agent’s initials.

    !

    I would be royally pissed off if I were that agent (to see myself in a public document like that.) I wonder if we’ll see any fallout from this? Maybe the Dept of Licensing will issue a statement reminding agents of RESPA.

    Today’s Inman article interviewed someone in Olympia at the Ins Commissioners office who said they were currently investigating 5 other title companies and we should expect to see announcements regarding 4 of them.

  4. It will be interesting to see how far this will go…if the agents involved will just be warned of their RESPA violations. I would assume the agents would know that title companies can only pay for their porportionate share of advertising. The agents should be pissed if they’re wrongly accused; however if they knowlingly pushed a title rep for advertising or knowling accepted the money from a title rep; they should be embarrassed.

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