Secrets of Bonding

How To Do a Surety Conference Call

What could be easier, right? You ALREADY know how to do it.

Well, here are the 10 steps and see if maybe you are leaving some out:

  1. Determine the goals of the call. Doing so will involve a review of the file and consultation with other interested colleagues. Create a list and share it with your group. “Here is my list of questions and topics for the call. Have anything to add or delete?” Share the final written list with your colleagues. Decide if you want to give the complete or a partial list, to all participants. “Here’s what we want to cover.”
  2. Contact the participants, identify a convenient day / time and share the call in info. Send the list or any other documents they may need for the call.
  3. When the conference starts, say hello and invite some chit-chat while everyone gathers “How’s the weather today in Sheboygan?” Be sure all participants can hear / see each other.
  4. The host should introduce everyone and indicate their role.
  5. After re-stating the purpose of the call, the host will start to work through the list. The host and colleagues should make notes on the discussion. Write down the relevant comments and who said them. What are the critical points you want to rely on going forward? “Remember during the conference call you stated there was no open litigation, etc…”
  6. Give everyone an opportunity to talk and ask questions, including the client.
  7. Before ending the call, review any action steps that were identified. “Billy will send us the Subdivision Bond app tomorrow.”
  8. After the call, share the meeting notes with your colleagues to see if you missed anything important. Everyone now has a written copy of the meeting results, including action steps for which they may be responsible.
  9. Send an email to the participants thanking them for the call and reciting the actions steps and timetables.
  10. Set a diary for follow up.

Notice how we worked Subdivision Bonds in there? That’s because Site and Subdivision is our specialty. We love ’em and provide them in all states. Call us when the next one pops up. 856-304-7348

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company, Morris Plains, NJ

Rated A- by AM Best

Surety Bond CE Webinars = Hens Teeth?

We know CE courses about suretyship are as hard to find as… you know.

FREE courses that you can take from your home computer, no exam, are even harder! That’s why we fixed it.

At FIA Surety, we’re problem solvers. We nailed this one! 8 accredited CE webinars, 3 credits each. Next one is on Misc. and Commercial Bonds, 3/1/22. Join us for the info. Join us for the credits. Join us for the FUN.

Click for info and to register.

A free service of your best Site and Subdivision bond carrier

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company, Morris Plains, NJ

Need a bond? Call now! 856-304-7348

Rated A- by AM Best

LAST CALL FOR 2/1/22 FREE CE

It’s not too late to get in on our Free CE Zoom webinar on 2/1/22

“ADVANCED FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS.”

Attend from your home or office computer for 3 credits. No exam. Register or watch one minute video about our accredited CE school.

Brought to you by your best carrier for Contract SuretySite and Subdivision Bonds:

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company
2740 Rt. 10 West, Suite 205
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Office: 973-541-3417

Rated A- by A.M. Best

Visit us: www.fiagroup.com

We are currently licensed in: NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, WV, TN,  FL, GA, AL, OK, TX

Solve This Surety Case!

What’s wrong with this conversation?

Client: “I need a bid bond for this upcoming project.”

Agent: “OK, the following list of items will be needed to process your request.”

Client: “Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! I may not be bidding all 6 categories of work. If I only bid 4, how much info will you need?”

Ugh! This client doesn’t get it. The conversation got off on the wrong foot. It is important for clients to understand that surety bonds are not insurance. Underwriters approve bonds when they are CONFIDENT regarding the applicant’s ability to perform without causing a loss. Part of reaching that level of confidence depends on having Full Disclosure. If we feel the applicant is holding back, we worry about what may be concealed (loss of confidence), aka no bond approval.

Independent agents offer a valuable service, “I will survey my sureties and find the one that can give you the best capacity and terms. That one will be your best long-term partner.” Notice that rate was not mentioned b/c they vary little from one carrier to the next. The amount of info was also not important. Every underwriter has questions. The most stable, long term markets probably ask more questions than the newbies.

Conclusion: Avoid wasting your production time on rate shoppers and those who don’t appreciate the relevance of having a strong surety partner. They’ll probably leave you to save a dime, anyway…

Call us for Bid, Performance, Site, and Subdivision Bonds 856-304-7348.

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company
2740 Rt. 10 West, Suite 205
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Office: 973-541-3417

A- rated by A.M. Best

We are currently licensed in: NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, WV, TN,  FL, GA, AL, OK, TX

The Clock is Ticking…

Two reminders for you:

  1. One week until our next Free CE Zoom Webinar. On Monday 11/1/21 you can attend “Surety Bonds 101” from your home or office computer. Three free continuing education credits for you. Check it out: Click for info and to register.

2. It’s not too early for your contract bond clients to start thinking about 12/31, which may be their fiscal year-end.

What are the key points?

a. CPA year-end financial statement or in-house prepared FS? Larger bonds require a CPA statement (i.e. starting around $1,000,000) Make sure the CPA has other construction clients – knows how to prepare these documents correctly.

b. Compilation, Review or Audit? Larger bonds require at least a CPA Review (starting around $2,000,000)

c. Accrual and Percentage of Completion are the most common accounting methods we see. Cash method is not acceptable for surety underwriting or banking. Leaves out too much relevant info.

d. Profits, taxes, net worth increases: Your clients need to think about the importance of bonding (growing the balance sheet) vs. controlling the tax bill. These are opposite goals.

e. Don’t borrow money from the company. Pay back borrowed money ASAP. “Stockholder Loans Receivable” directly hurt the bond account.

f. Preview the 12/31/ FS: Important to instruct the accountant to make a “draft fiscal year-end statement” for discussion with the surety. This is the best opportunity to manage the year-end numbers to assure the desired amount of surety credit will be available in 2022.

And one more reminder: FIA Surety is THE Site and Subdivision Bond Market. Need one? Call us! 856-304-7348.

A.M. Best vs. Demotech: You decide

Insurance companies are often rated by Demotech and A.M. Best. They both claim to be superior.  So which one is actually better?

A.M. Best has a 100 year history.  There are no bikers with A.M. Best tattoos, but they must be doing something right.

Demotech is also a force in the ratings war. In 1990 they were acknowledged by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.  After hurricane Andrew in 1993, Demotech rose to prominence when they filled a rating void in the southern states.

They both have their fans.  Both are relevant.  That’s why we are especially proud that FIA Surety is highly rated by both!  A.M. Best says Excellent and Demotech says Exceptional!”

Might be an awesome tattoo?

Find out why A.M. Best rates us Excellent!  Call FIA Surety with your next Subdivision Bond.  We’ve been a steady provider for more than 40 years.

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company
2740 Rt. 10 West, Suite 205
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Office: 973-541-3417

Visit us: www.fiasurety.com
We are currently licensed in: NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, WV, TN,  FL, GA, AL, OK, TX

BIG News! A.M. Best rates FIA Surety

We’re pleased to announce the newest addition to FIA’s credentials.

We now are rated by A.M. Best.

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OLDWICK – SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 03:21 PM (EDT)

AM Best has assigned a Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-”(Excellent) to First Indemnity of America Insurance Company (FIAIC) (Morris Plains, NJ). The outlook assigned to the Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect First Indemnity’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.”

Read the entire announcement here.

For more than 40 years, FIA Surety has been an enthusiastic writer of Site and Subdivision Bonds.

Stability. Fast, flexible underwriting. A “can-do” attitude, plus an A- rating from A.M. Best. You get it all over here. Call us!

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company

2740 Rt. 10 West, Suite 205
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Office: 973-541-3417

Check out the surety webinars in our Free CE School: https://fiasurety.blog/2020/08/16/free-ce/

Next webinar: 10/1/21

We are currently licensed in: NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, WV, TN,  FL, GA, AL, OK, TX

Sub-D Bonds: Like Pulling Teeth?

Cringe when your client’s need subdivision bonds? Why is that? Why is it so hard?

Probably because you’re going to a market that doesn’t write them, or basically dislikes writing them. So getting an approval is like. Well… you know.

The solution OBVIOUSLY is to use a market that loves them, thinks they’re fun. OK, maybe we don’t think they’re fun, but we do like to write them, all sizes and shapes.

For more than 40 years, FIA Surety has been an enthusiastic writer of site and subdivision bonds. We handle one shot deals and big regional developers.

FIA Surety provides A rated, T-listed bonds in every state with the support of our national partners.

Stability. Fast, flexible underwriting. A “can-do” attitude. You get it all over here. Call us!

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company
2740 Rt. 10 West, Ste. 205
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Office: 973-541-3417

http://www.FIASURETY.com

Check out the surety webinars in our Free CE School: https://fiasurety.blog/2020/08/16/free-ce/

Surety Bond “F” Words

When you think of Surety Bonds, what “F” word comes to mind?

Is it Financing,
Funds Control or
Factoring?

After reading this article, it might be!

Let’s sort these out:
Financing is premium financing which is typically not available on most surety bonds b/c of their non-cancelable nature.
Funds Control is a procedure the surety may require. A 3rd party paymaster handles all the contract funds, pays all the bills to reduce the possibility of a Payment Bond claim.  
Factoring is used to speed the contractors receipt of monthly payments. The factor is an intermediary that fronts each payment to the contractor immediately, then waits to be reimbursed when the money is released in due course.

Out of these three, Funds Control is the one you may run into. Sureties don’t like Factoring b/c it can result in the loss of dollars needed to complete the project.

Premium Financing is typically not available. However, Funds Control will guarantee the surety’s prompt receipt of the premium, if such an assurance is needed.

Wait! Here’s one more: FIA Surety! Your best carrier for Contract SuretySite and Subdivision Bonds

FIA Surety / First Indemnity of America Insurance Company
2740 Rt. 10 West, Suite 205
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Office: 973-541-3417
Visit us: www.fiagroup.com

Free CE course on 9/1/21: Advanced Financial Analysis Click
We are currently licensed in: NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, WV, TN,  FL, GA, AL, OK, TX