Wells Fargo Force-Placed Insurance Class Action. Himmelstein Law Network represents homeowners with mortgages serviced by Wells Fargo who were "force-placed" into hazard and flood insurance. Mortgage lenders generally require that homeowners maintain adequate hazard and (where applicable) flood insurance, to protect the lender's interest in the property. If the homeowner allows the coverage to lapse, new coverage is obtained by the mortgage servicer, who passes the cost on to the homeowner. This is called "force-placed" insurance.
Plaintiffs allege that Wells Fargo and American Security Insurance Company (ASIC) engaged in a "kickback" scheme to overcharge homeowners for force-placed insurance. Instead of purchasing the insurance on the open market at commercially reasonable rates, Wells Fargo refers all such business to ASIC or another insurance company, QBE Insurance Corp., who kick back a portion of the premium to Wells Fargo disguised as a "commission." Wells Fargo also charges borrowers for carrying out its insurance-related responsibilites, for which it has already been paid by the mortgage owner, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. As a result, homeowners are charged two to ten times the cost of regular insurance.
In January 2014, in a pivotal opinion, the Court denied the defendants' motions to dismiss plaintiffs' claim for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO").