Oxendine: Company Overcharged Georgians

Monday, December 7th, 2009

ATLANTA (MyFOX ATLANTA) – State insurance commissioner John Oxendine said Monday that thousands of Georgians may have been overcharged for their title insurance over a four year period.

Oxendine said the state has identified about 180,000 Georgians who were unknowingly overcharged for title insurance when they bought their homes between 2003 and 2007.

“It doesn’t surprise me too much, closings are complex things, but then again I can’t say that I’m not happy to hear I might get some money back,” said Marietta resident Curt Spinney.

The state insurance commissioner’s office says Spinney is among thousands of Georgia homeowners who were overcharged for title insurance by a Texas company when they closed on their homes.

Spinney said he got the call from the state insurance officials Monday.

“I was contacted by John Oxendine’s office today and they asked me to confirm some numbers on my closing documents,” said Spinney.

According to the state insurance officials, Spinney was overcharged by close to $200 for his title insurance by Stewart Title Guaranty, a title insurance company based out of Houston, Texas.

“If you cheat someone out of a few hundred dollars here or there, you start adding it up you are talking about a lot of money real quick,” said Spinney.

Oxendine charged Stewart Title Guaranty with violating Georgia’s insurance laws more than 600,000 times during the examination period. Oxendine ordered the company to explain the apparent discrepancies during a show cause hearing.

“We have evidence of 180,000 victims. Possible victims could be a million or more,” said Oxendine.

In a written statement, a spokesperson for Stewart Title Guaranty responded to the charge saying company officials had just received the notice from the state, and would respond at the appropriate time.

A company spokesperson went on to say, “Stewart is confident it conducts its business in accordance with the applicable statutes, rules, and regulations governing its doing business in the state of Georgia.”

 

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