Friday, January 2, 2009

ALPHA-OMEGA BUYS OUT FLORIDA TITLE INSURANCE

Fewer real estate closings and a continuing credit squeeze has prompted Alpha-Omega Title Insurance Co. to purchase full control of Florida Title Insurance Agency LLC.
“We want people to know that Florida Title Insurance Agency didn’t just disappear, and that Alpha-Omega Title is serving the former clients of Florida Title,” said Byron “Gibbs” Wilson Jr., founder and president of Alpha-Omega Title, in a release.
Terms of the deal were not released, but Florida Title would be dissolved by the end of the year, Wilson said.
Until its buyout Thursday, Alpha-Omega owned 25 percent of Florida Title and served as its managing partner through an affiliated business arrangement. Florida Title was launched in 2002, and was formed through investments by Realtors, mortgage brokers, developers and other real estate professionals.
Investors had been earning dividends from Florida Title through the third quarter of 2008, with revenue doubling every year between 2002 and 2007, Wilson said. But the housing market crash eventually took its toll on the company, as did new regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requiring affiliated business arrangements to carry six months of operating capital on their balance sheet. That made maintaining Florida Title separately less attractive.
Florida Title had eight employees at the beginning of 2007, the company told the Tampa Bay Business Journal at the time, but it was unclear how many of those employees would join Alpha-Omega. In a release, the title company said it would hire “most of Florida Title’s employees.”
Alpha-Omega reported 1,950 closings in 2007, primarily in residential, behind only Sunbelt Title Agency in Clearwater, Stewart Title of Pinellas Inc. in St. Petersburg and Members Title Agency LLC of Tampa, according to the Business Journal ’s Book of Lists. Alpha-Omega had 2,360 closings in 2006.
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How to Get a Title Insurance License in Florida

By Laura Hoffer  
eHow Contributor


In the state of Florida, title insurance agents are licensed through the Florida Department of Financial Services. A title agent's duties are to perform the closing for the purchase of a home or property. This can also include preparing and obtaining title searches, examining the title, preparing and issuing title insurance, preparing closing documents, and disbursing funds.

Instructions

  • Be a legal resident of the State of Florida, over the age of 18 and a United States citizen or a legal alien with a work authorization from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services to pursue getting a title insurance license in Florida.
  • Submit an application online (a link is provided in the Resource Section below) and pay a $10 application fee.
  • Obtain fingerprinting information online (a link is provided in the Resource Section below). If you are a non-resident of Florida, two fingerprinting cards will be mailed to you. If you are a resident, pick the provider in your county. Fingerprints can also be taken at sites on the list marked "Pearson VUE". Click on the green icon to register for fingerprinting and pay the fee of $58.25.
  • Provide within three years a Letter of Clearance if licensed in another state.
  • Complete one of the following state exam qualifications within four years of application date: a department approved 40-hour classroom insurance course in title insurance; responsible title insurance duties for at least one year while working for a title agent, agency, insurer or an attorney; at least three completed semester hours of credit in real estate or real property law from an accredited college or university; or as an exemption to the state exam, you must have a letter of clearance stating that you had a title insurance license for at least one year in your previous state of residence and you are applying for a license within 90 days of becoming a Florida state resident.
Source: http://www.ehow.com

FIRM SELLS TITLE INSURANCE DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS.

An Ohio-based company now markets and sells title insurance directly to consumers.

Entitle Insurance Co. is using its digital platform, Entitle Direct, to educate and empower consumers to monitor their home closings and save on their title insurance.

Typically, title insurance companies and their agents work directly with Realtors, attorneys or lenders, who order the title search and title insurance on a customer’s behalf early in the closing process. This insurance is required by most lenders before they will lend money (for either purchases or refinances). Consumers typically pay for the insurance at closing.

Timothy Dwyer, president and chief executive officer of Entitle Direct Group, said “Numerous federal and state regulatory authorities and consumer advocates are vocally critical of the high cost consumers pay for title insurance and a real estate process that keeps consumers in the dark.

"Entitle Direct was created for consumers by consumers to address these concerns. Whether people are purchasing a home for the first time or refinancing a home, they can work with ENTITLE DIRECT to organize the entire closing process and know what to expect at closing,” he said.

Title insurance and other closing costs are listed on the HUD-1 settlement statement that is provided at closing.

Entitle Direct allows consumers to monitor their closing process on a daily basis using the Control Panel, which has a patent pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Control Panel provides interactive tools such as the ability to upload and store closing documents, as well as download a HUD-1.

The HUD-1 is updated in real time throughout the closing process, eliminating surprise charges at closing. Consumers can also use the Control Panel to communicate with other parties involved in the closing process and store important messages, in addition to utilizing a checklist, contact list, task list, notes and a calendar

Dwyer said, “Entitle Direct will help home buyers, sellers and refinancers feel confident and knowledgeable about the closing process, freeing them of closing anxiety, and saving them hundreds or thousands of dollars. Entitle Direct offers consumers a choice."

For more information about ENTITLE DIRECT, please visit www.entitledirect.com.