Alpha-Omega buys out Florida Title Insurance

Dec 18, 2008

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.