SPOTLIGHT ON: HGAR 2022 Affiliate of the Year Brian Tormey
Mary Prenon | November 15, 2022
When Brian Tormey, President of TitleVest Agency in Manhattan, attended HGAR’s Members Appreciation Day in October, he had no idea it would end with him being named the Association’s Affiliate Member of the Year. “I was completely surprised, and I am truly honored,” he said. “I really never expected this.”
Tormey has been an Affiliate Member for just a few years, but in that time, he has provided many informative programs to HGAR members and has supported the Association through various sponsorships of programs and events.
He became very well-known to members during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, when all of the association’s events were suddenly forced to switch from live to virtual. Tormey was one of the first to step to the plate and offer interesting and compelling virtual content that helped fill the void created by the lack of in-person events.
It was actually before OneKey MLS launched that Tormey was introduced to HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty. “We were discussing an MLS solution for New York City, and then at the beginning of the pandemic, we developed a program to help fill the gap in live events,” he said. That was the beginning of TitleVest’s “Be Your Best” series, geared toward real estate professionals in the New York City metro area and the Hudson Valley.
Over the past two years, TitleVest has offered dozens of virtual seminars dealing with everything from selling during a pandemic to analyzing market stats to forecasting next year’s interest rates. Once live events began to resume, Tormey also jumped on the bandwagon with events in Manhattan, helping tremendously with HGAR’s growth in New York City.
How he landed in the title insurance business is an interesting twist of events. “I started out as a young kid washing trucks outside of a timber company in Oregon,” Tormey recalled. “People there liked how detail-oriented I was and thought I might be good working inside the office.”
At age 14, he began digitizing property holdings and helping to review change of title land easements. He worked after school, on weekends and during the summer, earning a reputation as “young whippersnapper.” “I learned a lot, but I didn’t have any thought about doing this as a career,” he admitted.
After graduating from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, Tormey had all intentions of going to law school. After working at a law firm as a paralegal, he decided to take the opportunity to join a small title company in 2003, and that was the beginning of a successful career in the industry.
“The thing I love about title insurance is that I get to work with the same customers on a routine basis,” he explained. “I deal with Realtors, loan officers, attorneys and other professionals and support them in their transactions.”
Tormey eventually bought into that small firm, which is now TitleVest. In 2015, the firm became part of First American Title. TitleVest, however, maintains its own identity and brand but has the added support of a corporation that has been in business for 133 years.
The company is involved with both residential and commercial real estate and is licensed in 44 states. The Manhattan office has also handled transactions across the country including shopping malls, hotels and hospitals. “People should think about title insurance as the partner with you to ensure there are no challenges after the closing as it relates to ownership,” explained Tormey.
Titlevest has been named one of the Top 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies by Inc. Magazine, and also won “Best Title Agency” in the New York Law Journal’s reader rankings every year since 2013. In addition, the firm has been honored as the ‘Best Title Company” by the National Law Journal.
Tormey himself is often quoted in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and was the second person in New York to receive the prestigious “National Title Professional” designation by the American Land Title Association.
Tormey lives in Garrison with his wife Sarah and their children—Jameson, 12 and Annabelle, 10. The family often spends time hiking together and Tormey is a big fan of rock climbing and mountain biking. He has also coached soccer and become involved with the Boy Scouts. An unexpected pastime for the busy company president, Tormey relaxes by taking glass blowing classes.
He and his family also return to his native Oregon to visit family and friends, and his personal passion is his involvement in a book by local author Seth Godin called “The Carbon Almanac.”
“It’s a non-partisan look at the facts about climate change and what individuals can do about it,” he said. The book is actually a collaboration among hundreds of writers, researchers, thinkers and illustrators. “It’s stepping away from the political focus and pulling people from all over the world together to deal with this important subject.”