Clearwater Title Agency Strengthens Fan Presence in Pinellas County
October 6, 2021 Plant City, FL— Florida Agency Network (FAN) has completed its merger with International Title Partners (ITP), a full-service title agency in Clearwater, Florida.
FAN is a strategic alliance of members and vendors assembled to provide a customized, streamlined closing experience. The merger brings the total number of FAN offices to over 30, with nearly 300 employees located in Florida. The network is also the developer of multiple proprietary, settlement services technologies.
“We are extremely excited about ITP, which is our newest venture in Pinellas County,” said Mike LaRosa, COO for FAN. “We have partnered with an experienced real estate team that has handled that area’s high-end residential and commercial real estate transactions for years. ITP offers us the opportunity to continue growing our footprint in the Tampa Bay Area real estate market.”
LaRosa notes the strategic location of the merger, which will not only allow FAN to leverage efficiencies in order to maximize customer service levels, but will increase the company’s presence in one of Florida’s leading residential and commercial markets.
Kelly Kepler, previously ITP’s CEO, will stay on with ITP. She is looking forward to the new relationship and the benefits it will have for clients. “FAN’s reputation for exceptional client service and responsiveness is recognized throughout the title industry,” she said. “I’m looking forward to bringing the FAN resources to our Realtor® and lender relationships as well. The partnership with FAN will allow us to serve and grow in more markets in the state of Florida while providing the amazing customer experience that International Title Partners is known for.”
Kepler also notes that ITP is well regarded for its strong support of the local chapter of Homes for Heroes, a non-profit network of affiliated real estate, mortgage and business specialists working to deliver easy ways for military, EMS, law enforcement, healthcare professionals and teachers to save money during home purchases.
About Florida Agency Network
The Florida Agency Network (FAN) is a statewide alliance of title agencies that share services, resources and technology. FAN has formed a strategic alliance amongst members and vendors, in addition to creating proprietary technologies, to better serve its clients, allowing it to provide customized solutions to protect and streamline the closing experience. Members share back-office services, pooled resources, access to industry-leading technology, improved efficiencies, and the ability to offer their clients greater geographic coverage throughout Florida with SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 security compliance solutions available. For more information, please visit www.FLagency.net.
Florida Agency Network recently appointed Amy Gregory as the Chief Administrative Officer.
Gregory began her career in title insurance in 1995 as a receptionist at an independent title agency in Brandon, Florida. Amy then joined Hillsborough Title (FAN’s flagship company) in 2007 where she directly assisted Aaron Davis in opening the company’s second office in Florida, which has now grown to over 30 offices statewide, in addition to multiple ancillary service companies.
As a licensed title agent, Gregory’s career progressed quickly from Branch Manager, to General Manager, to President of Title Operations, and now she has added the title of CAO to her resume. She oversees all title personnel and production, and the ancillary services divisions. Gregory regularly handles all types of real estate closing transactions, including residential, commercial, and construction. She has become an expert in streamlining and improving processes and procedures, and she is focused on mentoring and training staff in outstanding customer service. In 2019, Gregory won the “We Protect Award” from ALTA, and she obtained her ACAMS Certificate (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists).
Aaron M. Davis, CEO stated, “It is with the greatest honor that we name Amy as our CAO. She has been here from day one of my ownership, and I can’t imagine a better and more qualified person to lead us forward. Her dedication, knowledge, and loyalty are unmatched in the industry.”
McKinney, TX. – Alanna.ai welcomes Aaron M. Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network (FAN), as the newest member to the Alanna.ai Board of Directors. Davis has long been considered a leader in the title insurance industry, and he was an early supporter and proponent of the eClosing and Remote Online Notarization initiatives in Florida. FAN utilizes Softpro Select as its software platform for its title and ancillary operations. Davis brings his knowledge of Softpro Select, and familiarity with the other software providers’ products, to assist in further development of Alanna.ai’s product suite. He was introduced to Alanna.ai in 2019 and was immediately impressed by the product’s intuitive querying capabilities and its potential impact on the title and settlement industry.
Alanna.ai’s CEO, Randall Nelson stated, “We are thrilled that Aaron Davis will be joining Alanna. His industry experience along with his passion and energy will help propel Alanna to the next level.”
“I’m excited to join the Board with James Schlimmer of Cottrell Title & Escrow, and the team at Alanna.ai, to assist and advise in development and expansion of its products. I’ve experienced first-hand the technological evolution of the title industry, and I am humbled to be involved in the vision of its future direction,” says Davis.
Alanna.ai is a technology company whose sole mission is to provide innovative technologies to the Title Industry.
Florida Agency Network (FAN) expands into key Florida markets! Today, April 15, marks the first day of a new merger between Total Title Solutions (TTS) and FAN.
“As a team, we are excited about the services and products that FAN has to offer. We all believe that the TTS way is already above and beyond the standards of the Title Industry,” says Angie Haddon, Chief Operating Officer of TTS. “However, the merger with FAN will make a superior experience! Anyone involved in the real estate transaction will continue to be in GREAT hands.”
FAN will take control of TTS’ operations. Angie Haddon will become a Division Manager for FAN, while Lisa Jahr will be promoted to Regional Manager and will oversee offices throughout the Tampa Bay Area. The merger will bring 27 new team members to the FANily and grow FAN’s geographical footprint by 5 additional offices, which include two in Pinellas, two in Pasco, and one in Hernando County.
“We are so excited to have TTS become part of FAN and continue to grow our footprint in the Tampa Bay Area. Abe, Angie, and the team have a like-minded culture to FAN, and we are grateful for the opportunity to service our clients together,” stated Amy Gregory, President of Title Operations for FAN.
Naples, Fla. – May 9, 2018 – Florida Agency Network (FAN) is joining forces with Cottrell Title & Escrow located in Naples, Florida. This partnership amongst independently-owned title insurance agencies aims at expanding the organization’s footprint into certain key Florida markets.
“We’re excited about bringing Cottrell Title & Escrow into the FAN family. We appreciate the way their organization does business, and feel Cottrell will make an excellent addition to our team,” says Aaron M. Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network. “Both of our companies share the same vision and commitment to industry compliance standards. Combining our energies and expertise to serve a broader range of customers will help deliver more efficient solutions across the state.”
“After having in-depth conversations with FAN Management about where the title industry is headed over the next 3-5 years, it was evident that both of our companies have similar goals and missions to provide the best closing experience for our clients,” stated Justin Cottrell, Esq. Founding Partner of Cottrell Law Group.
Cottrell Title & Escrow will use multiple back-office solutions provided by Florida Agency Network (FAN), with the goal of centralizing non-core title services and allowing for a sharper focus on servicing their clients and maintaining industry-leading security and protection of NPPI via added compliance controls. This relationship marks the second independently owned and operated partnership of its type for FAN, the first being SETCO Services in North Florida’s panhandle region. Both strategic partnerships provide valuable services to the partner entities, while providing FAN with additional geographic coverage throughout key Florida markets.
“Even more rare, and ultimately what attracted us to this opportunity, is that both brands have proven the ability to execute their ideas and innovations at a high strategic level. We are grateful to be able to put our resources together through the Florida Agency Network affiliation and continue to raise the bar and provide enhanced peace of mind for our clients and industry partners.” Stated James P. Schlimmer, Managing Partner of Cottrell Title & Escrow
About Cottrell Title & Escrow
Cottrell Title & Escrow is a settlement service provider located in Naples, Florida. Cottrell Title & Escrow’s mission and primary goal is to save real estate agents, brokers, lenders, and their clients time and provide enhanced peace of mind during the closing experience.
Tampa, Fla. – April 3, 2018 – Florida Agency Network announced the completion of its first 100 percent paperless, fully-digital real estate refinance transaction with United Wholesale Mortgage and Florida Mortgage Firm. The closing was completed at the office of Florida Mortgage Firm. All closing documents were executed electronically, and the Electronic Notarization of mortgage and affidavits was performed by Notarize via an online interface.
“After completing our first fully-digital purchase transaction using an online notary earlier this month, we knew the next step would be utilizing the technology for a refinance transaction,” said Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network. “Our borrower was thrilled at the efficiency throughout the entire process. This transaction was a key breakthrough in providing our clients the option of a fully digital remote closing at the time and location of their choosing.”
Hillsborough Title completed the transaction utilizing remote online notarization via Notarize, the first notary public platform allowing any person or business to get their documents legally notarized online, and Westcor Land Title Insurance Company, who underwrote and issued the title insurance policy.
“It is exciting to be a pioneer in the Florida market with the e-close experience. The days of long drives to title offices, scheduling time off work for the sole purpose of signing docs, and overseas clients searching for U.S. notaries will soon be a distant memory with this platform. Physical closing attendance will always be an option for consumers, but this added convenience will be a solution to a multitude of scenarios that will benefit our customers,” said Nate Davis, Owner of Florida Mortgage Firm.
Florida Agency Network Welcomes Chris LaChance as its New Sales Manager
Florida Agency Network is pleased to announce the addition of Chris LaChance as its Sales Manager. Chris will oversee the sales initiatives within the Tampa Bay area and throughout the State of Florida.
A Tampa Bay native, Chris began his professional career in 1994 working for First American Title. He went from bicycle Courier, to scanning files, to front desk Receptionist, to processing files, to “almost” becoming a Closer, but decided instead to transition over to Agency Sales in 2005. Chris excelled in his Agency Sales position, ultimately reaching a level of national recognition reserved for the few top salespeople within the company nationwide. In 2015, Chris was promoted to Gulf Coast Agency Manager in Florida, where he was responsible for training additional sales staff to assist in servicing the agency network he had helped build over the years, in addition to managing the local title production staff supporting the agent base.
“We are thrilled to have Chris join the team. His proven success and growth within the industry will propel FAN and its members to new heights, and help us achieve some lofty sales goals we have set for the company over the next few years,” said Mike LaRosa, COO of the Florida Agency Network
In his new role as Sales Manager, Chris will work on improving long-established relationships and gaining market share for the members of Florida Agency Network. With over 20 years of experience, Chris brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position.
It’s 5:07PM on March 7, 2018. Shawn Pugh, Paramount Title’s Regional Manager, is seated in the office of Century 21 Beggins on Madeira Beach, FL with Barbara Ferrell, a seller in her 60’s, born and raised Florida, who is selling her St. Pete Beach condo. After completing a series of questions to authenticate Ms. Ferrell’s identity (including examination of her Florida Identification), and reviewing all documents to be signed, the online Virginia notary, Jacqueline Smith, appears on the laptop screen. With the provided information, Jacqueline, the online notary, verifies Barbara’s identification. As an added measure of security, Barbara is asked to scan the room with the web camera to make sure nothing is abnormal. After revealing her surroundings and taking an oath with the online notary, Barbara begins the process of digitally signing documents in the Notarize portal. History was made as Ms. Ferrell began to sign the FIRST E-Notarized documents in the State of Florida!
Once signing was complete, Ms. Ferrell was informed that she just participated in the very FIRST fully-paperless, fully e-notarized digital closing in the State of Florida. This was a culmination of weeks of effort ensuring that the proper organizations were involved. Florida Agency Network’s leadership, along with their IT provider, Premier Data Services (PDS), completed various tasks before the transaction could be completed, including a thorough test of networks, ensuring wireless capabilities worked properly, and making sure all devices were up-to-date.
Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network (FAN), was introduced to Notarize.com over a year ago during a title conference. They brainstormed what a fully digital, e-notarized closing would look like, and how to bring online notarization to the State of Florida. Through that process a partnership and friendship with Pat Kinsel and Adam Pase of Notarize developed. Notarize was impressed with the technical capabilities, size, drive, and passion within the FAN organization. FAN was equally impressed with Notarize’s vision and innovative pursuit in the online closing space with revolutionary, one-of-a-kind technology, readily available in the app store. As the final component to the relationship, Westcor announced it would underwrite these transactions, and soon the partnership caught the attention of the lender community. One of the largest non-bank lenders, United Wholesale Mortgage, then became part of the equation.
FAN and Notarize closed the first transaction with a cash deal. During this transaction, parties were guided through the closing with the seller utilizing Notarize, and the buyers utilizing Venture Sign for electronic signatures on all documents. Once the closing was complete, each parties’ closing packages where saved in FAN’s secure portal, Closing Manager. The portal was customized and developed by PDS and offers safe document sharing and storage, secure wire instruction distribution, easy order submission, and full access to all transactions.
“This is a historic transaction, not just for Paramount Title and the Florida Agency Network, but also for the State of Florida and the real estate and settlement industry. We have long dreamed of the day of having a truly paperless closing, including documents requiring notarization. We literally prepared, closed, and recorded an entire transaction digitally, without printing anything on paper. Our goal is to make this an option for all our clients. Not only does it streamline the process, but now reduces our industry’s impact on the environment. Paperless, digital closings offer many advantages versus the slower, traditional paper-based system. The paperless era has officially arrived!” said Aaron M. Davis, CEO of FAN.
Both the buyer’s agent and the listing agent were thrilled to take part in this historic event. The Buyer’s Agent, Lisa Coflin Heisner with RE/MAX All Star said, “Being a part of the first paperless transaction in Florida’s history was truly exciting. As a Realtor, I greatly appreciate such use of digital technology that offers our customers a smooth, convenient, comfortable experience at closing. My buyers were quite pleased with the process.”
The Seller’s Agent echoed the same sentiment; Maria MacNeil of Century 21 Beggins said, “For the busy person, this is going to be a fantastic product. It will save a lot of time for travel and allow them to close at their home or office.”
“In keeping with the culture of Century 21, and our focus on technology and the consumer experience, it was exciting to be a part of history. Innovation is key to success in the real estate business. As an industry, we must develop a speedier and more efficient closing process. This was a strong step in the right direction, and we look forward too many more,” said Craig Beggins, the Broker/Owner of Century 21 Beggins.
Paramount Title electronically recorded the documents and issued a title policy within 4 hours of closing. After the closing, Barbara Ferrell, the seller said, “I had a great experience! It was a first for me, to do a closing without paper. I enjoyed being a part of it!” In a funny twist, Barbara had miscommunicated with the person designated to drive her home from the closing, so Shawn, our Manager, volunteered to drive her home. Barbara said, “Now that’s the best service I have ever had from a title company!” Shawn laughed, “That’s what we do, go above and beyond. We close electronically and safely deliver our sellers to their home!”
Tampa, Fla. – March 8, 2018 – Florida Agency Network announced the completion of Florida’s first 100 percent paperless, fully-digital real estate closing transaction. The closing was completed by Paramount Title, a member of the Florida Agency Network, on March 7 in the Century 21 Beggins’ Madeira Beach office. All closing documents were executed electronically, and the Electronic Notarization of deeds and affidavits was performed by Notarize via an app interface utilizing a Notary in the state of Virginia.
“This is a historic transaction not just for Paramount Title and the Florida Agency Network, but also for the State of Florida and the real estate and settlement industry. We have long dreamed of the day of having a truly paperless closing, including the documents requiring notarization. We literally prepared, closed, and recorded an entire transaction digitally, without printing anything on paper. Our goal is to make this an option for all our clients. Not only does it streamline the process, but now reduces our industry’s impact on the environment. Paperless, digital closings offer many advantages versus the slower, traditional paper-based system. The paperless era has officially arrived!” said Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network.
Paramount Title partnered with Notarize, the first notary public platform allowing any person or business to get their documents legally notarized online. Notarize’s propriety software system enables a completely paperless process via any mobile device. The Notarize platform saves time and money, reduces fraud, and provides a better customer experience by improving efficiency and convenience.
“In keeping with the culture of Century 21 and our focus on technology and the consumer experience, it was exciting to be a part of history. Innovation is key to success in the real estate business. As an industry, we must develop a speedier and more efficient closing process. This was a strong step in the right direction, and we look forward to many more,” said Craig Beggins, the Broker/Owner of Century 21 Beggins.
About Paramount Title
Paramount Title is a consumer-focused independent title agency. Its goal is to deliver superior title services with exceptional competence, communication, professionalism and service. Paramount Title has multiple national underwriter relationships and works with the largest real estate companies, developers and banks in the country, and closes transactions statewide. To learn more, visit http://ptitlefl.com.
About the Florida Agency Network
The FLORIDA AGENCY NETWORK (FAN) is a conglomerate of independent title agencies, settlement service providers, and innovative technology companies within the State of Florida. FAN has formed a strategic alliance amongst members and vendors, in addition to creating proprietary technologies, to better serve its clients, allowing it to provide customized solutions to protect and streamline the closing experience. Members share back office services, pooled resources, access to industry-leading technology, improved efficiencies, and the ability to offer their clients greater geographic coverage throughout Florida. FAN resources include first class executive management and oversight, multiple on-staff attorneys, access to an in-house title plant, lien and permit search division, title ancillary services, IT/Cloud hosting company, cyber-security consulting and solutions, centralized order entry, processing and post-closing, agency administration, compliance management and financial oversight. FAN’s networked agencies service residential, commercial, builder, lender and investor sectors of the market with SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 security compliance solutions available. For more information, please visit http://www.FLagency.net.
About CENTURY 21 Beggins Enterprises
CENTURY 21 Beggins is a special and diverse place driven by passion and integrity to empower, educate, and encourage our Agents, Staff and Clients to live the lifestyle of their dreams. We service West Central Florida with 10 locations from Clearwater to Sarasota. To learn more, visit http://C21Beggins.com.
Florida Agency Network is proud to announce Matthew Froning as its new Chief Information Security Officer.
With over 20 years in the Information Security industry, Matt brings a unique background that includes a deep technical experience along with an understanding of balancing security and operations. Matt has led the charge for improving security processes and procedures for organizations while tightening controls to protect from cyberattacks.
“We are pleased to welcome Matthew to our team. His reputation, expertise and intimate knowledge of industry best practices will allow us to design and deploy a best-in-class, global security strategy,” said Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network.
Matt will drive FAN’s existing information security program, and collaborate with the industry to implement best practices on information security. These complex cyber strategy solutions and partnerships will ensure Florida Agency Network has the most effective, broad security postures.
For more information on how FAN and Matt can help your agency, contact us.