Tension remains high years after shady lending practices at banks pushed America into a recession, and most recently, a class action lawsuit is going after Wells Fargo for allegedly colluding with insurance companies to rip off borrowers.
In a article posted on ProPublica Friday headlined "Banks Colluding with Insurers to Rip Off Homeowners, Lawsuit Alleges," Cora Currier explains that "More than 20,000 Florida homeowners can now sue Wells Fargo and an insurance company, QBE, for allegedly overcharging for insurance. More than $50 million in insurance premiums are at issue, according to American Banker."
What's notable about the case isn't so much the specific dollar amounts or companies involved, but rather, the somewhat standard practice of what's called "force-placed insurance." Currier continues:
The case sheds light on the world of force-priced insurance, an industry that has grownin the years since the housing crisis. Among all the suits and scandals related to the crisis, troubles with force-placed insurance have flown largely under the radar. … Force-placed insurance is just what it says it is -- insurance you are forced to buy. …
In some cases, American Banker reported, an insurance company appears to be paying a bank to do nothing except pass along customers. The bank, in turn, has an incentive to force insurance onto its borrowers.
Of course, cases like this tend to drag out for years and so, it's unclear (if and) when we'll learn exactly what Wells Fargo did. But force-placed insurance still exists. To learn more about the specifics read ProPublica's full report.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.