ALPHA-OMEGA BUYS OUT FLORIDA TITLE INSURANCE
“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.
How to Get a Title Insurance License in FloridaBy Laura Hoffer
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.
- 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.