Saturday, January 19, 2019

Title Insurance Regulation 208 is Back - Soliciting Title Business is Seriously Restricted Yet Again

On January 15, 2019, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed the Supreme Court in New York State Land Title Associations, Inc. v. The New York State Department of Financial Services (page 69).

To remind the reader, the New York County Supreme Court had previously annulled the Insurance Regulation which regulated title closer fees, ancillary charges, premiums and most importantly, soliciting business.

Now, the annulment is reversed (as if it never happened), except with respect to section 228.5(a)(1)-(3) [ancillary search fees] and (d)(1)-(2) [closer fees].

So, no more sports tickets, golf outings, holiday parties, open houses, and wining and dining to solicit title insurance business.

Now, to the entertaining part. What about all of the ancillary fees that were being charged by title insurance companies, above the regulatory caps, in between the annulment date and the reversal date? If a decision is reversed was it ever annulled? If it was never annulled were the caps on ancillary fees always applicable and were consumers overcharged. These are tough questions that Department of Financial Services should answer soon. Stay tuned and perhaps we will be hearing from the Court of Appeals to put finality to the legality of Insurance Regulation 208.


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