Wednesday, April 15, 2009

public hearing on title insurance in PA...May 28th

Public Hearing on Title Insurance Rates and Practices

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (“Department”) will hold a public informational
hearing on title insurance issues on Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room 4 at the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120. The hearing will
consider the full scope of issues currently under consideration within the Department, including
the public policy issues raised by the current rating system and market practices such as how
rates are implemented by companies and agents, compensation to title agents, the use of
affiliated business arrangements, and the payment of compensation or profit-sharing based on the referral of business. Additional focus will be given to recent comments by the Pennsylvania
Office of Attorney General and broader reform proposals suggesting that economic trends,
changes in the financial services industry, and technological changes create opportunities for
new efficiencies in the title business. The Department requests information and testimony on the
following topics (this list is not exclusive):

o The premiums charged by title insurance companies, the commissions or fees paid to or
charged by title agents and approved attorneys and the effect such premiums,
commissions and fees have on the overall cost to consumers;

o The cost to title insurance companies to insure against defects in title and the cost to title
insurers or agents to perform the necessary title searches, to prepare a title abstract, to
clear defects in title and to perform a real estate closing;

o The current availability and viability of computerized title records searches and any
current or projected impact electronic searches may have on the cost of performing title

o The current compensation structure to title agents, including the use of affiliated business
arrangements, the payment of compensation or profit-sharing based on the referral of
business, and the effect these practices have on consumers and on competition in the

o The differences between a policy issued upon the sale of a home versus the refinancing of
a home loan and how this should be reflected in the rating structure;

o The appropriateness of charges for services ancillary to a real estate closing;

o What is a reasonable rate of return for title insurance companies under current economic

o The impact of the current real estate market on the solvency of title insurance companies
and the possible impact on consumers given the absence of guarantee fund coverage; and

o Whether current economic trends and changes in the financial services market create
opportunities for new efficiencies.

Individuals wishing to testify about these or any other topics may contact the
Department’s Office of Insurance Consumer Liaison and Market Analysis at the following
address and telephone number to schedule to testify at this hearing. Individuals may also appear
at the hearing without advance notice and will be afforded the opportunity to testify after all
individuals scheduled in advance have testified. Testimony will be limited to a 10-minute
presentation. The Insurance Department requests that individuals provide a written copy of their testimony the day of the hearing, with no limit on the length of written submissions.

Interested parties are also invited to submit written comments, information or suggestions
about these or any other topics to Title Insurance Hearing, Insurance Department, Office of
Insurance Consumer Liaison and Market Analysis, 1326 Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA
17120, (717) 525-5884, The deadline for written comments
will be June 4, 2009.

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