The Surety Bond Domino Effect
I have written many articles about the hard surety bond market. To my surprise many want to know more details as to how we got to where we are at. Like all industries the surety bond industry is heavily influenced by the economy. We can all remember the strength of the US economy at the end of the millennium; it seemed that businesses were flourishing with prosperity everywhere you turned. By the end of 2000 the economy began to slow down. The success of any contractor is directly effected by changes in the economy, thus more contractor's businesses began to fail. With the failing of the contractor businesses came an abundance of claims. This is not to say that the soft economy was the only cause for the increase in claims, but it was the start of the domino effect.
What actions set up the rest of the dominos to trigger the current hard market? In an attempt to generate more premium bonding companies used very loose underwriting practices. These loose underwriting guidelines allowed for contractors to be approved for bonds they should not qualify for. The sureties were not only writing bonds for contractors that do not qualify, they also wrote bonds that should not be written even for the best contractors. Maintenance bonds exceeding 5 years were a lot more common, these days anything over 3 years is pretty much unheard of. To put it simply the sureties grew too hungry for business and wrote what they should not have and got burnt because of it.
The bonding companies set up the dominos and the softening economy started the chain reaction of them falling. What was the outcome for the bonding companies? In the past, the surety bond industry will see losses around 25%. In 2001 the industry saw an staggering 82% loss for the year. In 2002 the industry produced $3.7 billion in premium, however the industry as a whole showed a 70% loss. The 2002 Insurance Expense Exhibit reported the industry losing more than $2.5 billion from 2000-2002. The end result of the losses was many bonding companies getting downgraded to junk status by AM Best other simply had to close their doors permanently. The rest of the sureties took note and quickly changed their ways. Underwriters have returned to more traditional underwriting guidelines and go through accounts with a fine tooth comb. The entire industry has become much more cautious about how to use capital. Contractors has since seen their bond lines reduced for single contracts and their aggregate capacity.
If you are a contractor and are discouraged with your current bonding limitations, keep in mind you are not the only one. Many contractors compare what they have today to what they had a couple years back and go looking for a new agency only to find similar terms elsewhere. Always keep in mind that every cloud has a silver lining. Bond lines have been reduced, however the value of a bond has improved due to the conservative underwriting practices in place; contractors can no longer obtain the bonding required to participate on contracts they are not financially qualified for (obviously this is only a plus for contractors that are financially healthy).
It is more important than ever for contractors to have an agent that truly understands suretyship. A surety bond agent should be able to give you sound advice to improve your financial situation and help your business grow. A good agent does not just write bonds, they consult contractors to make changes so the bonding companies have less of a risk, thus increasing bond capacity and lowering premium rates. A contractor must be comfortable that their agent is knowledgeable enough to help them make the right decisions, it is absolutely necessary in today's surety bond market.
We Dont Need Another Broker: How To Get The Best Liability Insurance Rates Available
Some business relationships are forged through blood and friendship. When you work for a company whose owner has a brother, sister, or best f...(related: Insurance)
How Much Can My Auto Rate Increase After One Accident?
Accidents almost always make your insurance rates increase. Whether or not the accident was your fault, your insurance company may have to pay for your involvement in it. Most 'at fault' accidents result in an increase in premium, because the accident will get...(related: Insurance)
Long Term Care Insurance - Low Cost Alternatives For Budget Conscious Seniors!
With Nursing home Cost's running $4,000 to $6,000 a month and outpacing inflation, it is a small wonder that most seniors cannot afford the Long term Care insurance premiums. Their are low cost Alternatives available for seniors who just can't afford the rising cost of these Premiums.Many Seniors even question if they need Long Term Care Insurance. Take a look at...(related: Insurance)
Health Savings Account (hsa): How Do I Invest It?
The Health Savings Account (HSA) is an amazing tool that a lot of people have been talking about. It is meant to help you save money on insurance and make your life simpler, maybe even help you be healthier.A Health Savings Account is an investmen...(related: Insurance)
Home Insurance Rates In Northern Ireland
A recent survey took the most popular type of home in the UK, the three-bed semi, and compared the quotes given by insurance companies for different postcodes around the country. Northern Ireland came in top for buildings cover with an average of £119.The premiums are affected by such variables as the amount of subsidence in the area, and the size and rebuild costs of the house. Some policies were based on the number of bedrooms in the house, but there is also the issue of the cost of rebuilding, which vary due to local construction standards, the cost of labour and the availability and cost of materials. When buildings and contents cover are assed together for a three-bed semi all over the UK, the cheapest average is in Lisnaskea in Northern Ireland, which has ...(related: Insurance)
Types Of Life Insurance
There are different types of life insurance policies available. Shop around and compare policies to ensure that you receive the best deal possible. This sounds obvious, however, there are dozens of different types of life cover plans available and it is important that you select the right one for your circumstances.Life Insurance is insurance that provides protection against the economic loss caused by the death of the person insured. There are several types of Life Insurance, each having different characteristics. Some of the key types of Life Insurance are: Term Life, Whole Life, Burial Insurance, Survivorship Life, Universal Life, and Variable Life Insurance. Outlined below is a useful description of each type:Term Life InsuranceTerm Life Insurance is the lowest cost and simplest product available. Term insurance is a...(related: Insurance)
Medical Bankrupticies: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
First the bad news: about 2,000,000 personal bankruptcies each year are caused by unexpected medical expenses. Of all those people, 1,500,000 have (or had) health insurance before they ran into difficult financial straights.But wait a minute. Isn't the whole idea behind health insurance - security? The financial security that comes from knowing that you're covered if something goes wrong with your body? You say you're covered, but what if your medical "situation" exceeds your policy limits? Then what?No one wants that to happen, so the question is: are there other options? For instance, is there a way to "insure" against getting sick in the first place? Most peo...(related: Insurance)
Which Car Should You Own To Keep Your Insurance Rates Most Affordable?
Do you consider the cost of insurance before you buy your dream car? You should. The Highway Loss Data Institute analyzes the cost to insurance companies from theft, collision, and injury claims as they relate to cars. They look at the color of the car...(related: Insurance)
Do Discount Fees For Medical Service Programs Really Work?
Having a health insurance policy provides a great sense of security for many families. Most people with health insurance usually have it through their employer and the employee and the employer may share the responsibility on paying the premium. Even though health insurance coverage provides a great benefit, it also provides a great fear that looms over our heads. The fear of not being able to afford health insurance or not having health insurance can provide great difficulty to many people.We can also see a trend that more people ...(related: Insurance)
What To Do When You Suffer An Injury On The Job?
For over 30 years I have been representing injured workers in workers compensation proceedings and there are some basic errors that injured workers make time and time again.First, it is common for injured workers to ignore a serious injury for a day or even for a couple of days. This can be a serious mistake because the workers compensation insurance company will often deny a claim that is not promptly reported to an employer.Seco...(related: Insurance)
Senior Life Settlement-uses And Applications
In a recent article in the National Underwriter (April, 2005) a Senior Life Settlement is depicted as an ingenious financial planning option available to consumers by providing access to secondary life insurance market through life insurance valuation ? a new trend, tool in the financial advisory services industry unlocking opportunity for many.Sound investment practices require diligence and regular appraisal and valuation of assets. To date insurance policies were excluded from said valuations, due to the perceived absence of market for them. However, the landscape, opportunity and choices open to seniors, retirees etc. faced with a life settlement issue has changed significantly and people are taking notice.The premise and principles seem to be simple and back ...(related: Insurance)
What Does Buildings Insurance Cover?
You will find that your lender will insist that you have this cover when you take out a mortgage. The lender, remember, owns your home until you have paid off the mortgage. However, because they don't live in it, you are responsible for it, thus you need to insure the building. Should the property fall down, the lender wants it to be covered for the catastrophe.But buildings insurance cover permanent fixtures and fittings as well. It will also cover toilets, baths and fitted kitchens, your interior decorations and bedroom cupboards. To know what your buildings insurance will cover, try this simple test ? can you reasonably remove the fixture and take it t...(related: Insurance)