February 27, 2008 

Settlement reached in TDI Rate Hearing Case
Commissioner signs order – No change in rates


The Texas Land Title Association is very pleased to announce that all parties to the 2006 Biennial Rate Hearing, including the Texas Department of Insurance and OPIC, have agreed to a Consent Order that provides there will be no change in title insurance rates. Click here to read official order. Parties to the rate hearing became concerned by the uncertainty in the real estate market over the last several months and agreed that no change to the rates should be made at this time. At a time when the industry is experiencing difficulties because of the real estate climate, we are very pleased that TLTA could be a part of the settlement agreement that keeps the premium rates unchanged. The TLTA legal team, Board of Directors, staff and other industry parties worked very hard to bring about this result, and we appreciate the cooperative effort by all involved.

In terms of other agenda items for the hearing, some items in the ratemaking phase of the Biennial Hearing were adopted as part of the Consent Order and some were withdrawn but may be resubmitted at a future hearing. We are working on a more detailed analysis of the adopted agenda items and will provide that soon in a Dateline Austin, but until that is complete, here is a summary.

The Consent Order is only applicable to the ratemaking phase of the 2006 Biennial Title Insurance Hearing.  The Commissioner has not yet officially adopted agenda items pending in the rulemaking phase of the Biennial Hearing.  We are awaiting a separate final order dealing with the agenda items in the rulemaking phase.  Some of the agenda items in the ratemaking phase have companion agenda items in the rulemaking phase.  As part of the Consent Order in the ratemaking phase the Commissioner adopted the following Agenda Items which make non-substantive changes to the rules and regulations governing the business of title insurance: 2006-55, 2006-56, 2006-57, 2006-58, 2006-59, 2006-60 and 2006-61. However, adoption of Agenda Item 2006-55 is contingent on the Commissioner also adopting the companion agenda item in the rulemaking phase, Agenda Item 2006-07.  In addition, adoption of Agenda Items 2006-56 and 2006-57 is contingent on the Commissioner also adopting the companion agenda item in the rulemaking phase, Agenda Item 2006-10. Parties agreed to withdraw Agenda items 2006-52, 2006-53, 2006-54, 2006-62, 2006-63, 2006-66, and 2006-67 from the ratemaking phase of the Biennial Hearing.  The parties additionally agreed to withdraw the following items from the ratemaking phase of the Biennial Hearing because they were previously addressed in the rulemaking phase of the Biennial Hearing: Agenda Items 2006-64, 2006-65, and 2006-67. Click here to view all Rate and Rule hearing agenda items.

We expect that the Rate hearing, scheduled for March 31, 2008, will be cancelled as a result of the adoption of the Consent Order. Official dismissal of the hearing is pending with the administrative law judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

As part of the settlement, the Texas Department of Insurance has also agreed in the Consent Order to issue a Notice of Public Hearing for the 2008 Texas Title Insurance Biennial Hearing after July 1, 2008.

If you have any questions, please contact Mindy Carr.