Title Insurance Rate Quietly Increased in Texas

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Texans started paying more last week for title insurance as a result of a price hike quietly approved in March by the state insurance commissioner.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the 3.8 percent increase is the first in 22 years.

The Texas Department of Insurance and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel recommended the rate hike.

Aaron Day, a lobbyist for the Texas Land Title Association, says the increase is justified by data submitted by the industry and the loss of business it suffered during the housing downturn.

But Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Austin-based Center for Economic Justice, which advocates for consumers, called it "absurd."

The increase will generate an estimated $53 million more per year for Texas title companies and their underwriters, the newspaper said.