Constancy Nationwide fined $three.5M for no-poach offers
The New York Attorney General’s office has entered into a settlement with a third national title insurance underwriter regarding “no-poach” agreements.
Fidelity National Financial consented to pay a $3.5 million penalty, end any existing pacts and assist in the state’s ongoing investigation of title insurance infractions. Fidelity is the largest underwriter of title insurance in the U.S. based on several metrics, including premiums written and order counts.
Previously, Stewart Information Services settled for $2.5 million in December, while Old Republic International’s title unit agreed to a $1 million penalty in September 2021.
In addition, one of the smaller underwriters, AmTrust Title Insurance, consented to a $1.25 million fine in July 2022.
Fidelity National neither admitted nor denied the findings, the settlement agreement stated.
“New York has always been a place for individuals to achieve their dreams, but when companies illegally collude to deny workers the opportunity to pursue better jobs, they hamper those dreams,” said Letitia James, the state’s attorney general, in a press release. “New Yorkers deserve fair pay for their hard work and experience in their fields, and their career growth should never be threatened by a company’s desire to save money on wages.”
The investigation found Fidelity National entered into no-poach agreements with both other underwriters as well as independent title agencies.
“These agreements have been both verbal and written, and some are intended to last even after the term of any business relationship has ended,” the legal filing said.
It also calls on Fidelity National to notify the attorney general’s office of any potential violation of the agreement either by itself or a competitor for a 10-year period.
Another clause put in place a potential $1-million-per-incident penalty if Fidelity National “knowingly withheld documents” related to no-poach contracts, even if it was not a participant in that agreement.