Recently, we made an announcement about partnering with Cottrell Title & Escrow. This news is starting to trickle out to the masses, and we’re excited about it! Our official announcement was featured in a recent The Title Report.
We are thrilled to see others taking interest in what we feel is a great move for the State of Florida.
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.
Last week, 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.
With features like secured chat, multi-factor authentication, and two-way document sharing, The Closing Manager reduces email exposure and the chances of clients becoming victims of cyber crimes.
To see the full feature on The Title Report’s website, click HERE.
Florida’s premier network of independent title agencies joins forces with the largest independent agency in North Florida to bring settlement services to real estate professionals throughout the state.
Tampa, Fla. – August 12, 2016 – Florida Agency Network (FAN), Florida’s largest network of independent title insurance agencies, announces that it is joining forces with SETCO Services, LLC,
headquartered in Destin, FL. This latest venture marks a new initiative by FAN to grow the Network through the creation of strategic relationships in certain key Florida markets where FAN is currently under-represented. As opposed to other FAN locations established through organic growth or formalized partnerships, the SETCO announcement represents FAN’s first non-equity relationship where the entities will support one another and avail themselves of each other’s locations, client relationships,
marketing, and other ancillary services.
Through these new relationships the network benefits by adding additional locations to its statewide footprint, and better service for its clients through additional brick and mortar offices with local
knowledge and expertise, while the new FAN agent partners gain access to vast resources and a robust menu of products and services.
“We are incredibly excited to announce the formation of this strategic partnership with SETCO Services, LLC, which is a first of this kind for us. It represents a new approach to true partnership amongst independent agents in Florida,” says Aaron M. Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network. “We are able to significantly expand our territory through additional brick and mortar locations while keeping that ‘boots on the ground’ local knowledge to better serve our client base. At the same time, both of our companies share the same vision and commitment to industry compliance through the completion of our SOC 1 and SOC 2 certifications. We plan to focus our combined energies and expertise on serving a broader range of customers and delivering more efficient solutions across the state.”
SETCO Services, LLC will utilize the back-office solutions provided by FAN. Centralizing the non-core title services will allow SETCO Services, LLC to better focus on providing exceptional service for every real estate professional while maintaining top-notch security and protection of NPPI via FAN’s compliance controls.
“The relationship with Florida Agency Network will allow SETCO to offer more diverse yet streamlined services which will only further improve the customer service to our clientele,” says George T. Brannon, Jr., Chief Operating Officer of SETCO Services, LLC. “The Leadership and goals of our companies are like-minded and this opportunity will provide all organizations partnered with Florida Agency Network to grow more efficiently and effectively in the markets they choose to lead.”
FAN’s tight security controls consist of SSAE 16 SOC 1 and SOC 2, ALTA Best Practices Certification (pillars 1-7 via 3rd Party), and support through its I.T. affiliate, Premier Data Services (PDS). PDS is a Managed Service Provider that offers solutions for unmet needs within the real estate and settlement services industry.
Tampa, Fla. – November 23, 2015 – The Florida Agency Network (FAN), Florida’s largest network of independent title agencies, is proud to introduce Andrea Somers as its Compliance Officer, helping to guide the Florida Agency Network and its embodying agencies smoothly through the current era of heightened compliance expectations and requirements.
“With all of the growth and expansion, as well as changes to our industry, it only makes sense to have a dedicated compliance officer on hand. Andrea is well versed in the underlying regulations within our industry. She will be a great asset to our team.” says Aaron M. Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network and its multiple brands. FAN includes Hillsborough Title, Trident Title, Paramount Title, Tampa Bay Title, Cornerstone Title, Homeplus Title, Uptown Title, Bella Title, Performance Title & Escrow, Stronghold Title and Progressive Title Solutions.
As a licensed title agent in the State of Florida for over 14 years, with established proficiency in creating, and training in, corporate policies and procedures, Andrea brings the knowledge, experience, and expertise necessary to ensure all compliance regulations are met within the Network. Entering the title world in 2001, she worked her way through the ranks to become National Vendor Manager at TransContinental Title Company. In that role, she managed third-party vendors nationwide, including all notary signing agents and title abstractors. In 2010, Andrea began managing several different departments within New House Title, LLC, including Contracts, Processing, Closing, Funding, and Post Closing.
“I am so thrilled and honored to be working with such a talented group of people at the Florida Agency Network,” Andrea remarked, “It’s amazing to see the dedication everyone has towards being the industry leader in the State of Florida. I’m proud to be a part of the FAN Family!”
As the Florida Agency Network’s Compliance Officer, she will monitor the application of compliance requirements throughout the FAN Network agencies, ensuring all employees and vendors adhere to established procedures in order to safeguard the Non-Public Private Information (NPPI) of all clients and partners.