Closing A Title Insurance Agency
You have decided to close your title agency. Regardless the reason, proper planning can facilitate the process and minimize the potential for troublesome issues down the road.
Contact the Insurance Companies
Contact the insurance companies that you represent and advise them of your decision to close the agency and ask them for guidance on the proper handling of the records for the policies issued for their company. The Florida Statutes require the title agent or insurer to maintain records pertinent to the issuance of the title policies. If your title agency will be closed, the insurer may need to make arrangements for maintaining your files.
The title agency escrow account needs to remain open until all outstanding checks have cleared. You should contact your attorney to arrange to transfer the funds in any open escrow accounts to the appropriate underwriter, or for remittances outstanding for over five years, to the Florida Unclaimed Property Fund.
Notify the Department of Financial Services
Once you have made the arrangements noted above, send a letter on your title agency letterhead to the Department of Financial Services, along with your license. The letter must indicate you want the title agency's license terminated, the last day business was conducted by the title agency, and should include the location of your records and contact information for the records custodian.
The letter of termination can be mailed to:
Florida Department of Financial Services
Bureau of Licensing
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee FL 32399-0319
Submit a Change of Address
Florida law states that every licensee must notify the department within 30 days after a change of name, phone number, e-mail or residence address, principal business or mailing address. Closing an agency indicates that you have relocated your principal place of business and possibly changed your mailing address as well. Simply log in to your MyProfile account and submit the change.
Agency Files And Records
Florida law requires every licensee to preserve books, accounts and records pertaining to a premium payment for at least three years after payment. Any agent closing an insurance agency must make provisions for the records to be available for inspection in accordance with law. You can comply with the law by transferring the files to a new servicing agent or returning the files to the appropriate insurance company. Keep detailed records of any files you have transferred. Do not throw documents containing confidential or personal information into the garbage without following the appropriate destruction methods.
Notify the department’s Division of Consumer Services of your agency’s closing in the event any of your clients contact them. You can do this by going to AskFLDFS and selecting "Consumer Services" as the recipient.
Contact Your Landlord
Any lease or rental agreement entered into by you for conducting your agency business likely remains binding until both parties agree to end the contract. Closing the agency doors and not returning to the location does not end your obligation to pay rent. This is true of all rental agreements, including those for computers, postage machines, copiers, telephone systems and fax machines. You are responsible for paying all utility bills until the utility company terminates or transfers the account. If you have any questions regarding these matters, seek private legal counsel.
Submit a mail forwarding order to the United States Postal Service for the agency mail and your personal mail.