ALTA Responds to "Title Insurance is a Scam"

Jeremy Yohe of The American Land Title Association, the industry’s mouthpiece, has written a lengthy response to my earlier post about title insurance being a scam.

You can read the original post here and Jeremy’s comment appears here.

In his comments, Jeremy has addressed some of the concerns I raised in my piece, but did not address the well-established inefficiencies and structural flaws in the multi-billion title insurance industry.

Jeremy wrote, “A homeowner’s title insurance protects the owner for as long as they or their heirs on the property. And only need to be paid for once.”

  • Why then was my $625 title insurance fee necessary on my refinance? Chain-of-title, the major service provided by title insurance, was previously established in my case. A Lexis search would have turned up a lien or a judgment. Interestingly, though, according to CTLA’s Title Wizard, I would have paid LESS in title insurance if I had purchased my home instead of refinancing it.
  • How does ALTA explain the findings of “reverse competition” in the mortgage industry that date back to the 1980 Peat Marwick study for HUD? (Also see Consumer Federation of America, 2006 testimony before Congress; California insurance commission study on title insurance)
  • If title insurance is performing a valuable service and the “preventive measures” are keeping the title insurance industry’s loss ratio low as Jeremy suggests, why weren’t these savings passed along to me and others in the form of lower fees? Are title insurers colluding to keep prices high?
  • How is it that only one company, Entitle Direct, markets title insurance directly to consumers and, as a result, is able to offer me and many other the same service for 35 percent less? Why does Entitle Direct have such a small share of the industry? Am I a customer or merely a fee payer?
  • Why shouldn’t California copy Iowa and just put an end to the title insurance racket?

Curious to hear the answers.

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