New York-based title underwriter AmTrust has come under fire from New York Attorney General Letitia James for business practices that “hurt workers and limited their earning potential.”
An investigation by James’s office found that for years AmTrust entered into illegal no-poach agreements with their competitors, thwarting labor competition.
AmTrust Title, which is controlled by insurance giant Amtrust Financial Services Inc., issues title policies through First Nationwide or independent title insurance agencies that it works with.
“Workers should be free to make their own career choices without illegal corporate limitations,” James said in a statement. “AmTrust’s no-poach agreements made this impossible and denied workers access to a fair labor market.”
According to James, direct agents and independent agencies are competitors in the labor market and should compete for employees on the basis of salaries, benefits, and career opportunities, however, due to the insurer’s “no-poach” policies, this did not occur.
The investigation concluded that AmTrust entered into no-poach agreements with other title companies, stifling competition for employees between AmTrust and its competitors, potentially impacting New York workers. James’ investigation did not identify any pro-competitive reasons for these no-poach agreements.
As a result of the investigation, the company said it will terminate any existing no-poach agreements, pay the state $1.25 million and cooperate with any ongoing investigations into the industry.