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JPMorgan $300 Million Accord Over Kickback Claim Approved

A $300 million settlement by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and insurers with homeowners who accused the bank of taking kickbacks in exchange for sticking them with overpriced insurance policies was approved by a judge.

U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami today approved the accord. It requires JPMorgan, Assurant Inc. (AIZ) and other insurers to pay refunds valued at 12.5 percent of annual premium costs to homeowners who had certain policies placed on their properties by the bank starting in January 2008. JPMorgan and Assurant didn’t admit wrongdoing.

The homeowners sued New York-based JPMorgan last year, claiming the bank placed required hazard and wind coverage with Assurant and other insurers at inflated rates. Some of the excess costs were kicked back to a JPMorgan unit, the homeowners alleged in their class-action, or group, lawsuit.

JPMorgan is among several large banks facing claims by homeowners that they overcharged mortgage borrowers for lender-placed insurance. Last year, New York-based Assurant agreed to pay $14 million to resolve similar allegations by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

In his ruling, Moreno rejected objections to the settlement and approved $20 million in fees to lawyers for the class.

The case is Saccoccio v. JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, 13-cv-21107, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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