Fidelity National Financial has agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine to the state of New York, following an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General that discovered the top U.S. title insurance company had “no-poach” agreements with rivals.
Jacksonville-based Fidelity is the fifth large national title insurance company to sign an agreement to end no-poach practices in New York, followed by Old Republic National Title in September 2021, AmTrust and First Nationwide in July 2022, and Stewart Title Guaranty Corporation in December 2022.
Like its rivals, Fidelity issues title insurance policies either directly through its own agency or indirectly through independent title insurance agencies. In this model, both channels are competitors in the labor market. However, according to the AOG investigations, no-poach policies prevented that from happening, reducing career opportunities and wages for workers.
“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,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “My office will continue standing up for workers’ rights by stopping no-poach agreements and holding companies accountable for their bad actions.”
A spokesperson for Fidelity did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The agreement announced Wednesday says that Fidelity will terminate any existing no–poach agreements with its competitors and will cooperate with OAG’s ongoing investigations in the industry.
The agreement comes as Fidelity’s volumes are declining due to fewer real estate sales. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the closed title purchase order volume dropped 36% year over year and the number of closed refinance orders fell 79% compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
However, Fidelity still managed to record a strong financial performance to close out 2022. Fidelity’s title segment delivered a revenue of $1.9 billion for Q4 and a net income of $198 million. Executives said the company responded with disciplined cost actions amid a decline in mortgage originations last year.