Category: Press Releases


FAN and Cottrell Title & Escrow Join Forces Bringing Statewide Solution

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.


Florida Agency Network Closes First Refinance E-Closing Using Remote Online Notary

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.

 


Welcome Chris LaChance to the FAN Family

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.


Florida Agency Network Closes Florida’s First Fully Electronic Closing

Left to right: Kathy MacKinnon of Century 21 Beggins, Barbara Ferrell, Maria MacNeil of Century 21 Beggins, and Shawn Pugh, Regional Manager of Paramount Title.

 

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!”


FAN Announces Closing of Florida’s First Completely Digital Transaction

 

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.


FAN Announces New Chief Information Security Officer Matthew Froning

Breaking news from The Network!

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.

 

To read the full announcement, click here.


Florida Agency Network’s Closing Manager Featured in TitleNews

Did you hear the news?

Today, Florida Agency Network (FAN) announced its launch of The Closing Manager. Partnering with Premier Data Services, the secure collaboration portal combines wire fraud security best practices with the benefits of a consumer-friendly closing experience.

“The Closing Manager minimizes the cyber footprint of a transaction and extends industry best practices through to the consumers at a time when it is needed most,” said Chief Technology Officer of Premier Data Services, Jay Roberts.

To see the full feature on ALTA’s website, click HERE.

To see the original announcement, click HERE.

 

 

For more information on how the Closing Manager can help your agency, contact Jay Roberts at jay.roberts@premierdataservices.com

 

 


Florida Agency Network Announces New Collaboration Portal

Tampa, Fla. – January 18, 2018 – The Florida Agency Network announces the completion of its Closing Manager collaboration portal with the help of their IT partner Premier Data Services.  The Closing Manager has features that bridge wire fraud security best practices with the benefits of a consumer-friendly closing experience. Consumers, real-estate agents, and other parties to the transaction can minimize their email exposure when utilizing the Closing Manager.

“We surveyed and gathered data on Florida Agency Network’s clients to see if portal sentiment in the real-estate community had shifted. With the recent spike in wire fraud activity, we received overwhelming support from both directing and non-directing agents,” says Jay Roberts, Chief Technology Officer for Premier Data Services. “In fact, the percentage of those in favor continually increased each quarter over the past year. The Closing Manager minimizes the cyber footprint of a transaction and extends industry best practices through to the consumers at a time when it is needed most.”

Traditionally, collaboration portals have struggled to gain adoption by real estate agents who direct most transactions and have become the primary target of cyber-crime. However, with the rampant escalation in business email compromise (BEC), the security features associated with the Closing Manager provide clients with a safe-haven to conduct business and protect all components of the transaction. These features include:

  • Secured Chat allows parties to discuss sensitive, transaction-specific items without the exposure of traditional email.
  • Multifactor Authentication strengthens all parties’ control of information. This is currently a standard in the state of New York and its adoption is anticipated industry-wide.
  • Infosheets allow buyers and sellers to submit information requested by title insurance companies without the need for traditional email.
  • Two-way Document Sharing provides all parties associated to the transaction the ability to upload or receive documents without email delivery.

With fraud and cyber-crime increasingly impacting the real estate industry on a national level, the market has welcomed the adoption of collaboration portals with security tools like those offered by the Closing Manager.

Mike LaRosa, Chief Operating Officer for Florida Agency Network says, “With cyber fraud rampant in the title insurance industry over the past few years, the only responsible reaction appears to be securing transactions at the individual level. Compromised email attacks and social engineering have become highly sophisticated, and we in the industry have too much to risk. We deal with non-public personal information (NPPI) and significant amounts of escrowed funds on a daily basis. The move to individually-secured, portal-based communications seems like the most logical step in countering the current barrage of daily cyber-attack attempts.”

 

 

 

PREMIER DATA SERVICES is an IT/Managed Service Provider that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and end-user systems with the highest level of security. Its intelligent remote monitoring and security tools provide expert, cost-effective IT management ensuring a company’s system operations are not only healthy, but also optimized for performance. For more information, please visit http://www.pds-1.com.

Hillsborough Title Family of Companies Proudly Announces New President

Tampa, Fla. – Hillsborough Title Family of Companies (HTFC) is pleased to announce the promotion of Amy Gregory to President of the organization. HTFC consists of Hillsborough Title, Paramount Title, Tampa Bay Title, Cornerstone Title and Stronghold Title. HTFC is the founding title conglomerate of the Florida Agency Network (FAN). Amy brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position and has been with Hillsborough Title for 10 years.

“This is a natural fit and progression for Amy. There has never been a more committed or deserving person for this opportunity. She has been my right hand since the day she started, and has been the anchor for this organization for many years. There is no other person I would trust taking over the reins of our family business than Amy,” says Aaron M. Davis, former President of HTFC and current CEO of the Florida Agency Network.

In her new role as President, Amy will work in evaluating and improving overall operation effectiveness as well as implementing the organization’s culture, vision, mission and values. Her knowledge and leadership will help HTFC’s organic growth in an effective and successful manner.

As a licensed title agent in the State of Florida, with established proficiency in leadership and company policies and procedures, Amy has the experience, and expertise necessary to ensure all operations and compliance regulations are met within the companies. Entering the title world in 1995, she worked her way through the ranks to become the General Manager for Hillsborough Title, later transitioning to Operations Manager for HTFC and FAN’s Title Support Services.

“I am honored for this opportunity to lead such a talented group of people in this new role. Since starting almost a decade ago, I knew Aaron had an excellent vision for the company’s future and I felt it would be a great fit for my career goals. Amy remarked, “This company is truly a family to me. We have the most amazing team members and I am excited for what the future holds for all of us.”


Florida Agency Network Completes SOC 1, Type 2 Assessment Report

November 3, 2016 — TAMPA, FL  — Florida Agency Network (FAN), the largest network of title agencies in Florida, has completed a rigorous third-party examination of its policies and procedures under the Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1 Type 2 standards, demonstrating its commitment to data security and privacy at all levels of its operations.

The demanding third-party examinations were administered by the professional IT assurance and compliance staff at 360 Advanced, a respected national Qualified Security Assessor, HITRUST CSF Assessor and Certified Public Accountant firm based in Tampa, FL.

Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”), the Trusted Service Principles (TSP) Framework is based on criteria geared towards technology and cloud-based computing systems, and the TSP Framework is comprised of five standards by which a practitioner is required to examine and report on when analyzing the security of a candidate’s system.

Companies who complete annual SOC 1 assessments are able to demonstrate a substantially higher level of security assurance and operational visibility as compared to those companies who have not yet received their assessment. The assessment focuses on the internal controls impacting customers and the protection of their non-public personal information (NPPI).

Through its partnership with Premier Data Services, FAN is able to avail itself of a SOC 2, Type 2-assessed hosted environment with co-location backup and the most rigorous security controls in the industry. Premier Data Services is able to provide security measures as they relate to non-financial controls of an organization such as its IT network and processes, as well as protection of confidential data. As an IT/MSP, Premier Data Services specializes in compliance and security, overseeing its clients’ infrastructure and network solutions, and ensuring their software systems are not only healthy, but also optimized for performance.

“We are proud of this accomplishment and we feel our company has made a statement to our lender and real estate partners about how serious we take protecting and safeguarding our clients’ information. We value and protect NPPI as though it were money. Our goal is to become a vault for our clients,” said Aaron M. Davis, CEO of FAN.

“Having the SOC 1 Type 2 assessment completed puts us in the top one percent of agencies to reach this standard in our industry,” said Andrea Somers, Compliance Officer for FAN. She added that, “successfully completing the rigorous assessments provides FAN with a competitive advantage.  Lenders are asking more frequently for standards of protection for consumers’ NPPI.”

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ABOUT FLORIDA AGENCY NETWORK

The FLORIDA AGENCY NETWORK (FAN) is made up of a network of title agencies that have formed a strategic alliance to provide shared back office services, pooled resources, and greater geographic coverage throughout the State of Florida. Resources of FAN include multiple on-staff attorneys, access to private title plant and ancillary services, IT company, centralized processes & post-closing, agency administration, compliance management and financial oversight. Powered by multiple national underwriters, FAN offers residential, commercial, builder, lender and investor services, experienced escrow staff, personalized customer service, offices throughout the State of Florida, and much more. For more information, please visit http://www.FLagency.net.

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ABOUT 360 ADVANCED

Known for its responsiveness, experience and professionalism, 360 Advanced has clients in more than 35 states that are major service providers in various industries, including cloud and SaaS based organizations.  360 Advanced is one of only a few specialized firms in the U.S. that assist service providers as their independent IT assurance and compliance assessor in maintaining and communicating security and compliance to their clients.

360 Advanced’s services are provided, but not limited to, the following industries: Title Services, Hosted and Managed IT, Data Center and Colocation, Software as a Service (SaaS), Healthcare, Financial Services, Insurance, HR | Payroll | PEO, Legal and Collections, Bulk Mail Printing and Distribution, Background Screening, Business Process Outsourcing and Marketing.

Services provided by 360 Advanced include SOC 1 (SSAE 16), SOC 2, SOC 3, PCI DSS, HIPAA Security/HITECH, Microsoft Vendor Policy and other security and compliance services.

Contact:         Eric Ratcliffe

eratcliffe@360advanced.com

866.418.1708 ext.710

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