Articles from The Massachusetts Focus
Newsletter of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Massachusetts Offices
Fall 2004, Volume 2, Number 4
by Thomas M. Flynn, Vice President and New England Division Manager
Banks Want to Sell Insurance
Recently a coalition of eight banks and the Massachusetts Bankers Association filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Boston against the state Insurance Commissioner (Case No. 1:03-cv-11522-JLT) to overturn parts of a 1998 state law they say restricts their ability to sell insurance. According to court records, the bankers are asking the court to rule that the Gramm Leach Blilely Act trumps a Massachusetts state law that prohibits banks from several business practices involving the sale of insurance. The bankers claim the state law puts them at a competitive disadvantage because it contains restrictions that don't apply to other businesses. There are approximately 70 banks approved to sell insurance in Massachusetts.
Title Industry Busiest Ever
The American Land Title Association (ALTA) released figures in September which reveal a strong financial picture for the title insurance industry from the first half of 2003 - the busiest half in history. Gross revenue for the industry was up 36.5 percent over 2002 at $7.49 billion. The level of pre-tax profit was $454 million in 2003 compared to $156.1 million during the same period in 2002.
Radian Lien Protection Update
On November 7, the Superior Court of California will hear Radian's petition for a writ of administrative mandamus to overturn the Insurance Commissioner's decision that mortgage impairment insurance is title insurance. The California Department of Insurance ruled this summer that RLP is title insurance according to California statute and has upheld the cease and desist order of June 19, 2002. Radian has long maintained that RLP is a mortgage pool insurance policy and not title insurance.
Stewart Revenues Skyrocket
Stewart Title reported record revenues and earnings for the second quarter of 2003. Total revenue for the first half of 2003 was $1.0 billion, up 33 percent from the same period a year ago. Earnings for the first two quarters totaled $60.9 million compared to $29.1 million for the first six months of 2002.