“If you allow someone to do business on your behalf, it only stands to reason that you can be held responsible for what they do,” said Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.
In an order dated April 23, 2010, Superior Court Judge Paula Casey ruled that Chicago Title Insurance Company could be held responsible for illegal inducements offered to solicit title insurance business by one of its appointed agents, Land Title Company of Kitsap County, Inc.
The alleged violations included illegally “wining and dining” real estate agents, builders and mortgage lenders by providing them with such things as:
- hundreds of dollars in meals,
- thousands of dollars for a golf tournament,
- monthly advertising for at least one real estate agent,
- purchases at a Board of Realtors’ auction, and
- Seattle Seahawks playoffs game tickets.
In a consent order last October, the company said it would appeal the agent liability issue, but agreed to pay a fine of $48,334 if it did not prevail. Chicago Title has not yet exhausted all appeals.