COA affirms cures imposed for title insurance company’s statutory violations

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found nothing wrong in the trial court’s decision to uphold the Indiana Department of Insurance’s order that found a title insurance company violated several statutes and outlined what the company must do to cure its violations.

In Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Indiana, et al, 49A04-1302-PL-84, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. appealed the trial court’s affirmation of the IDOI’s administrative order that was issued after the agency conducted a target market examination of Commonwealth to determine if it was in compliance with state insurance code.

After examining a sample of title insurance transactions in Indiana from Jan. 1, 2005, to Jan. 1, 2010, the companies that conducted the investigation found problems with Commonwealth’s program for pricing title insurance premiums, dubbed the “Cents Per Thousand” program. In this program, an agent pays remittance rate dollars to the underwriter based on a special rate chart rather than relying on the more traditional method of calculating premium for title insurance. The program was discontinued after Commonwealth was acquired by another company in December 2008.

The examination also found that the premium charged to the consumer during the CPT program was not specifically tied to risk. As a result of the program, Commonwealth underpaid approximately $60,000 in premium taxes during the examination period.

The IDOI’s administrative order found Commonwealth violated the Rate Statute, Unsafe Business Practices Statute, and Gross Premium Tax Statute. In order to cure the violations, the IDOI ordered Commonwealth to file premium rates and policy forms with the state agency for approval; recalculate its premium tax liability for Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2009; and other actions.

The trial court upheld the administrative order, concluding the IDOI properly interpreted Indiana’s insurance laws, that substantial evidence established that Commonwealth violated the statutes, and that IDOI ordered appropriate curative measures.

Commonwealth appealed to the COA, contending that the trial court erred in accepting the state agency’s interpretations of the Rate, Unsafe Business Practices, Gross Premium Tax and Cure statutes. But the appeals judges agreed with the trial court’s determinations.

There is ample evidence in the record that Commonwealth charged an excessive rate and an unfairly discriminatory rate. The judges also rejected the company’s assumption that the IDOI was required to make findings that Commonwealth’s business practices threatened its solvency in order to determine that it violated the Unsafe Business Practices Statute.

The cures imposed by the IDOI for the statutory violations are authorized by the Cure Statute, the COA held. The agency was within its authority to order Commonwealth to recalculate its premium tax liability for the examination period, and it has the authority under the Cure Statute to order Commonwealth to perform a retrospective actuarial analysis of its rates.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues