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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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