News: 2013 Press Release
For Release: January 8, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Announces $1.25 Million Settlement with Fidelity Companies for Alleged Illegal Rebating Activities
Agreement to End Fee Payments to Realtors for using TransactionPoint Software to access orders for Title, Escrow and Home Warranty
SACRAMENTO - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has reached an agreement with Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, to resolve allegations of illegal rebating activities between 2003 and 2011. Under the settlement terms, the companies, all affiliates of Fidelity National Financial, Inc., agreed to pay $1.25 million in penalties and $175,000 to CDI for reimbursement of its costs.
"Illegal rebates by and to those involved in the home purchasing process compromise the best interests of the consumer," said Commissioner Jones. "Illegal rebate activities drive up the cost of title insurance, escrow, and home warranty policies, which add to the cost of buying a home. I will continue to take aggressive enforcement actions to ensure fair pricing for consumers."
CDI alleged that, between 2003 and 2011, the Fidelity companies entered into agreements with various realtors and other settlement service providers to pay a purported "sublicensing fee" to access orders placed with the Fidelity companies using a technology platform known as "TransactionPoint." The "sublicensing agreements" were alleged to be a conduit for unlawful payments to realtors and others to induce the referral of title, escrow and home warranty business. TransactionPoint was developed by Fidelity National Financial, Inc.
Fidelity companies were very cooperative in the investigation and negotiations leading to this settlement and a related settlement involving TransactionPoint presently being finalized between Fidelity and the District Attorneys of Ventura and San Diego Counties.
"During the settlement negotiations, the Fidelity companies were highly cooperative," added Jones. "I commend the companies' immediate action to halt the TransactionPoint fee arrangements."
A copy of Fidelity's Order, Stipulation and Accusation are available to the public.
Media note: Additional companies included in this settlement are: Chicago Title Insurance Company, Ticor Title Insurance Company, Security Union Title Insurance Corporation, Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation, Fidelity National Title Company, and Fidelity National Home Warranty Company.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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