bid security

Increased Production

Ever wonder why a surety bond underwriter asks you for new business?

  • Is it because they are nosy and want to gauge your agency strength?
  • Does the surety has a loss ratio problem?
  • Has poor customer service caused the underwriter to fall short of goals?
  • Or maybe the underwriter has a sincere interest in deepening your relationship for mutual benefit.

FIA has been writing Site/Subdivision, Bid and Performance Bonds for over 40 years.  We are “A” Rated and having an excellent 2020!

“Can we help you with any new business?”

Call: 856-304-7348

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

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

Changing Horses: Site & Subdivision Bonds #169

Abe Lincoln said it.  And it’s mostly true.  But here is one time when it really does make sense to “Change Horses In Mid-Stream!”

When Developers and Home Builders start a new project, they give security to the city or township guaranteeing the construction of public improvements (streets, curbs, lights, water, sewer, etc.) The security may be in the form of cash, a bank issued irrevocable letter of credit (ILOC), or a surety bond.

They’re all the same to the township, but there are huge differences for the contractor. The most obvious is the loss of use of their funds. How long will the money be tied up? It can take much longer than expected to get these obligations released (the township is in no hurry!)

If a dispute arises and cash or an ILOC was used, the township just takes the contractor’s money.  It’s all over.  With a surety bond, there is a discovery process through the claims department.  The contractor has input and may affect the outcome.

So, back to the horses.  For clients that have already posted cash or an ILOC, they can swap it out with a surety bond!  Get their money back. Gain more control. Protect company assets.  Put the cash to good use!

How to start? Call FIA Surety.  Since 1979, we have been a steady provider of site and subdivision bonds.  We do little $20,000 site bonds for commercial property owners and have written multi-multi million dollar subdivision projects.  Come to the experts to swap in a surety bond, or to write a new project. We get them done!

Read expert analysis: Why Surety Bonds are the way to go here.

Call FIA Surety: 973-541-3417

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

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

 

FIA Surety: Turning “DUH!” into “TA-DAH!”

How it started: “Hi Steve, I have a strange scenario I hope you can help me with.”

Our agent had a performance bond client established with a surety and the SBA program.  They needed a P&P bond for a municipal project and the surety demanded payment in advance.  The client could not comply.

The award and notice to proceed were issued and the contractor commenced with the work – but the obligee forgot about the bond, until now. The contract is completed but the client cannot receive their final payment until they file a maintenance bond.  Due to weak credit, the surety is refusing to issue unless they add additional indemnitors.  The job is finished: DUH!

We gathered a file and asked for a status inquiry form from the obligee (to confirm the degree of completion and obligee’s satisfaction with the project.)  The contractor passed along the form, but the project manager refused to complete it, stating he “never saw one of these before.” DUH #2!

We made contact with the township engineer and after a friendly conversation, were able to verify everything was OK and they promptly completed the form for our records.  We evaluated the bonding requirements and determined that the Performance bond form contained an 18 month maintenance clause (no separate maintenance bond), so the P&P bond was still needed.  FIA Surety issued it, and with no SBA support or additional indemnity required: TA-DAH!

The agent is happy.  The contractor is happy.  The township has a completed project with maintenance coverage. We bonded a job that was completed and accepted.  Now was that so hard?

FIA Surety is First Indemnity of America Insurance Company, your go-to carrier for Site, Subdivision, Bid and Performance bonds. Call 856-304-7348

Making TA-DAH moments for our clients since 1979.

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

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

See Inside FIA Office

OK, that’s not really our office.  But we want to assure you – we’re here issuing bonds, underwriting new business and making new friends!

Be careful and safe like us (not like the picture!)  FIA wants to help with the surety bonds you need including Bid, Performance, Site and Subdivision.

FIA Surety: A bonding company serving independent agents and the construction industry since 1979.

Steve Golia 856-304-7348

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

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

#170: Why Developers LOVE Subdivision Bonds

When developers and home builders start a new project, they must give security to the local township. This guarantees construction of the “public improvements.”

The security can be in cash, an irrevocable letter of credit (ILOC), or a subdivision bond (surety bond).

Why is a bond the best method?

  • Developers retain the use of their cash. Keep it available to acquire and finance new projects. Use it to solve problems. Remember, cash is king!
  • More control if there is a claim: They are processed through the bonding company. There is a discovery process. The developer has input and more control than with an ILOC. With an ILOC they can simply grab the developer’s money!
  • Better long term protection. These guarantees are hard to close, may drag on for years. The township is in no hurry to give up their security. It’s easy to renew the bond and you’re good for another year.

Developers and home builders love subdivision bonds – especially if they obtain them from one of the industry’s strongest players: FIA Surety. We have supported developers and home builders with subdivision bonds since 1979.

Call us for your next one or to replace existing security you have already filed.

Steve Golia, Marketing Mgr. 856-304-7348

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

Developers and Home Builders: Important News!

Important news for Developers / Home Builders and their Surety Bond Agents:

“Now more than ever, you need to protect your cash position.

As you start your new project, do not use cash or a cash backed Irrevocable Letter of Credit (bank instrument) to secure your obligation to the township. Instead, file a Subdivision Bond. Preserve your capital!”

We have specialized in this area since 1979. Call us for immediate service.

Steve Golia, Marketing Mgr. 856-304-7348

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

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

Surety Bonds: Pay Raise or Title?

Enjoy this scene from Cheers “Woody: Raise or Title?”

We laugh at Woody being duped.  He went after the wrong prize, just like some agents when it comes to commissions.

Agents face this choice: Commission percentage or commission dollars?

You might think a higher commission percentage automatically means higher dollars, but slow down Woody: It ain’t necessarily so! Let’s do the math.

Example 1) Bond Amount: $1,000,000

Premium rate: 2% = $20,000

Commission Percentage: 30%

Commission Dollars: $6,000  

Example 2) Bond Amount: $1,000,000

Premium rate: 2.5% = $25,000

Commission Percentage: 25%

Commission Dollars: $6,250  

Interesting! A lower commission rate can yield higher commission dollars when the premium rate is higher.  When the premium rate goes lower, the commission dollars drop even more.  A 1% rate with a 30% commission yields only $3,000 commission!

What about sliding scales?  At 30% commission, the 25/15/10 rate delivers only $4,050 in commission dollars.

OK so here’s the conclusion: Focus on commission percentage and you may end up being Senior Bartender like Woody. When calculating income, the bond rate makes you a winner!

Since 1979 FIA has been a dependable provider of Bid, Performance, Site and Subdivision Bonds.  Call us with your next one.

Steve Golia, Marketing Mgr. 856-304-7348

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

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

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Godzilla Surety

He’s big.  And for Godzilla, that works!

But when you’re dealing with bonding companies, do you want big, or would you rather have responsive, nimble, flexible…?

At FIA Surety, we have had the same senior management staff in place since 1979.  Tons of stability and experience.  Compared to the big “monsters,” we’re a smaller surety. How does that help you?

Example: This week we got in a Site Bond, a type of bond many sureties do not support.  It was a little complicated.  The title to the property changed hands and the names on the documents didn’t match up.  It took some digging but we still approved it within a day. Why?  Because we can.

Nimble.  Responsive.

For some transactions you need Godzilla.  But for many others, you want the flexibility and willingness of FIA Surety.  Call us!

  • Bid Bonds
  • Performance and Payment
  • Site and Subdivision Bonds
  • Deposit Bonds for Home Builders

Steve Golia 856-304-7348
FIA Surety is First Indemnity of America Ins. Co.  (a carrier)
We are currently licensed in: NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, WV, TN,  FL, GA, AL, OK, TX

Working Capital Magic!

Working Capital: It is a key element for contractors when they apply for Bid and Performance Bonds.  Too low, and the bond or entire account may be rejected by the bonding company.  Primarily, this number is calculated once a year on the fiscal year-end financial statement.  If the Working Capital (WC) comes out low, you’re STUCK with it all year… or are you?  Are there ways to “poof!” magically find more working capital on an existing financial statement?  Why yes!

Here are three ways contractors and their insurance  / bonding agents may overcome a WC deficiency:

  1. Stockholder loan: The owner can Subordinate an existing loan to the surety.  This means the owner / creditor will not demand that the company / debtor repay funds the company has borrowed.  The Subordination removes the stockholder loan from current liabilities, thereby increasing WC.
  2. Underbillings: Accrual Method financial statements do not include the current asset called Costs and Estimated Earnings in Excess of Billings, or for short: Underbillings.  If a net Underbilling Asset is calculated, it will directly increase the WC analysis.
  3. Bank line of credit: Many analysts will add available bank credit to the WC analysis.

Note: All three of these ideas can be applied to the recent fiscal year-end statement.  You don’t have to wait for a new statement to use them!

Bonus Poof!

How to immediately increase the Net Worth (NW) analysis: Fixed assets, such as heavy equipment, are depreciated each year resulting in their declining value on the Balance Sheet. The carrying value of the asset may eventually be less than the actual “street value” of the machine.  This lost net worth can be re-captured by finding the current appraisal value.  For big and old companies, this can give a major boost to the NW calculation – and therefore the bonding.

We hope you find these four tips helpful.   They can literally improve the analysis of an existing financial statement.

Do ALL bonding companies want you to know these secrets?  Hmmmm…  We do!  FIA is a bonding company (carrier) that has served contractors and their agents since 1979.  We are flexible and creative surety bond experts.  Call us for Bid and Performance Bonds.  Call us for Site and Subdivision Bonds – our specialty!

Steve Golia, Marketing Mgr.  856-304-7348

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

Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them: Bonding Companies

  • “I don’t know what you want unless you tell me.”
  • “Nothing is ever enough for you.”
  • “No, those pants don’t make you look fat.”

Sound familiar?  Have you uttered these words?   Were you talking about your romance life, or your bonding company (except for the pants comment.)

It turns out that much of the frustration we have in life arises from a failure to see things from another point of view. Husbands and wives know this.  But the good news is that there is a common solution.  Open communication and good listening skills are the key.  Can this be applied to suretyship?  (For mood music, Click!)

“What’s with all the Questions?!”

This is a good place to start.  Why do bonding companies ask so many questions?  And just when you get to the end of round one, they think up more.  It’s like they don’t ever want it to end!

Answer: To a degree, it doesn’t ever end.  That’s because the credit analysis a surety performs is based on info that constantly changes – and will do so without notice to the surety. They have to keep a finger on the pulse to be confident when issuing bonds.

“Why do I have to give my personal indemnity AND pay a premium for the bonds?”

It seems like the bonding company is taking no risk and they get paid for it!

Answer: Actually, personal indemnity does not guarantee that a surety will not have a net loss on a bond claim.  When a claim occurs, the company owners may already be depleted (trying unsuccessfully to resolve the problem.) When the “stuff” hits the fan, the surety has to foot the bill and the indemnity may be worthless.

“Do these pants make me look fat?”

When contractors start to pursue an excessive work load the bonding company may put the brakes on. They don’t want the company spread too thin with insufficient management and financial resources. Actually, dying from an excessive amount of work (too fat) is more prevalent than the opposite.

The surety wants to be sure the client remains stable and able to perform their work – and thus avoid any possibility of a bond claim.

Conclusion

Are bonding companies unfathomable, impossible to understand? No, it’s just that, unlike insurance companies, they are risk averse.  They operate on a very thin margin and problems (claims) of any size can hurt them.  Their very survival depends on being prudent and conservative.  This means ask questions and move forward with caution.

So now, can you love your surety?  Maybe a little bit…

FIA Surety is a NJ based bonding company (carrier) that has specialized in Site Bonds since 1979 – we’re good at it!  Call us with your next one, Bid and Performance bonds, too.

Steve Golia, Marketing Mgr.: 856-304-7348

First Indemnity of America Ins. Co.

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