t-list

171. HOW TO Replace an ILOC with a Subdivision Bond

 

The Land Developer’s money is tied up because an ILOC* was used to secure the township instead of a Subdivision Bond. It’s not too late to fix this critical error! (Why an error?)

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Have your insurance agent contact us or the land developer can call us directly to start the process.
  2. We’ll get to know you and find out about the project.
  3. We approve the bond, and normally no collateral (security deposit) is required!
  4. Contact the planning board and request permission to replace the ILOC with a Subdivision Bond.
  5. We issue the bond. The developer’s ILOC, and the funds that back it are released!!

It’s just that simple…

Let’s go! 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

*Irrevocable Letter of Credit issued by bank

 

 

Graduate from the SBA

Congrats to the kids!!  They finally made it.  Now its their time to move on and move up.  What about contractors in the SBA Bonding program?  Is it their time to graduate?

The SBA program is a great help, and the people are awesome: dedicated, helpful.  But the program has a down side.  It costs time and money to obtain their bonding support.  So if a contractor could get federal and other projects without this extra step, why wouldn’t they?

Here’s what you gain, more or less, by graduating into a regular surety relationship:

More

  • Time to pursue productive activities – new projects, strategic planning, employee training, educational opportunities, etc.
  • Time for other personal and family priorities
  • Profits on your projects and financial statement overall
  • Increased profits can lead to higher bonding limits and bigger projects
  • Credibility – a graduated company no longer needing extra help

Less

  • Bonding expenses (bond premium plus SBA fee) on each project
  • Time spent filling out double forms for the surety and the SBA
  • Answering questions to both
  • Waiting for approvals

OK, so if graduating sounds great, how do you do it?

Step one: Ask the current bonding company to provide bonds without the SBA program.  If they do it, you can thank us later!

Step two: If they refuse, call FIA Surety!  We provide bonds for federal and local projects without the need for SBA support.  It takes a creative, experienced surety to graduate contractors.   FIA has been providing Bid, Performance & Payment, Site and Subdivision Bonds since 1979. We’re steady.  We’re willing.  We’re creative.

It’s time to graduate!

For Site, Subdivision, Bid and Performance Bonds call 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

Get to Know FIA Surety: Paul Alongi, Sr., Claims Manager

When was the last time you spoke to a personal friend of Joe Pesci and Frankie Valle? Ok, never? Well, meet our Claims Manager, Mr. Paul Alongi, Sr.

Paul was born in Newark, the oldest of four children and graduated from Barringer High School.  Joe Pesci and Frankie Valle were among his friends. Born with a love of music, he learned to play tenor sax at age 7.  As a big band member, his group backed up Connie Francis, Dion and the Belmonts, Tony Bennet, Xavier Cougat, Al Martino and others.  To this day, Paul is an active musician playing in several venues.

He was athletic, too!  Paul tried out for the NY Yankees in these early years.

Paul started his insurance career in the actuarial department of U. S. Life and studied for his law degree at night. In five years, he graduated from Seton Hall Law School and started his law practice.

While running for public office, Essex County Freeholder, he met a fellow candidate, Patrick Lynch.  Years later this would result in Paul joining Pat’s young company “First Indemnity of America Insurance Company / FIA Surety” to become our first Claims Manager.  He’s been a valuable asset all these years.

Paul has served on the Bloomfield Board of Education (President), the New Jersey Commission of Investigations, and has also been a long-time leader in many community organizations, including: the Bloomfield Federation of Music and Civic Band, the Garden State Concert Band, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and Finance Councils, Holy Name Society and Circle of Friends.

Paul is a highly experienced problem solver and, he is accessible to our agents and clients!  973-541-3414

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

 

Site and Subdivision Bonds – The Sequel

In March we told you why Home builders and their Bonding Agents love Site and Subdivision bonds.  (Click to read prior message)  But don’t take our word for it.  Here’s what the International Risk Management Institute has to say about it:

“Corporate surety bonds are far and away the most preferred option for most owner/developers when you consider the potential disadvantages of the alternative guarantee forms.” (Click for entire article)

Clearly, the smart move for home builders and their bond agents is a surety bond.  And the bonding company you want is the specialist, long devoted to this market.  Unwavering since 1979.

Call FIA Surety.  It’s the smart move.

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

 

This is NOT about the virus!

We know you’re sick of hearing about the virus! Here is some good news for a change:

FIA is open to help you with Site and Subdivision Bonds!  Most sureties won’t write these but at FIA, it’s our specialty.

More good news: We also write Down-Payment Bonds for Home Builders, freeing up cash and credit for new projects.

Virus or no virus, projects are moving forward, and surety bonds are needed by developers and home builders. If you have an immediate need for a Site/Subdivision bond or want to replace an existing ILOC with a bond, call us at 856-304-7348.

FIA Surety: We’re OPEN for business!

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

Free CE Update

Love, Love, Love!
Love is in the air! We know you love free stuff, so get some here.

FIA Surety provided two free CE seminars in North Jersey recently. We’re doing one this week at an agency in Hatfield, PA.
It’s time to get your agency on our calendar. We have dates available in March. How do you set it up? Just give us a call. It’s that simple!

Speaking of simple, when you need a surety bond, we can make that simple too! Since 1979, First Indemnity of America (a carrier) has been making agents look great.

We’re your “can-do” market for:

  • Site and Subdivision Bonds
  • Bid and Performance Bonds
  • Deposit Bonds for home builders

What’s not to love?

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

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

Be A Code Breaker! (Surety Bonds)

The Enigma Machine was a famous encryption device used by the Germans during WWII to transmit coded messages. It allowed for billions of ways to encode a message, making it incredibly difficult for other nations to crack German codes during the war.

Enigma Machine

In this article, You will learn how to break a code, how to solve a mystery in 20 seconds or less – every time. It is a surety bond mystery: The key element that determines the nature of the bond and predicts the successful underwriting path.

Here are your clues.

  1. “KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:”  These words are the common beginning of surety bonds.  You’ll see them over and over.
  2. “WHEREAS” will start one or more paragraphs which describe the circumstances in connection with the bond need.
  3. “NOW THEREFORE, THE CONDITION OF THIS OBLIGATION…” is the beginning of the promise in the bond.  It is the point of the bond guarantee and it determines the underwriting path.

Find the “NOW THEREFORE” paragraph and you can break the code.  What does it guarantee?  If it is the correct performance of a contract, the underwriting will concern the applicant’s ability to complete the work.  If the guarantee is to pay money when due, the underwriting will concern the applicant’s credit history and financial strength.  It makes sense.

Test your new skill

Ever hear of an ARC bond?  Probably not, but here is the “Now Therefore” clause for you to analyze:

NOW THEREFORE, THE CONDITION OF THIS OBLIGATION IS SUCH that if the Principal shall duly comply with the provision of said Agreement with respect to all amounts owed to the Obligee, as in said Agreement provided, during the term of this bond as hereinafter provided, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and effect in law…

OK Code Breakers, what can we conclude?

  1. It promises compliance with an agreement, so we’ll want to review that document.
  2. The applicant must comply with respect to “all amounts owed to the Obligee,” so the bond is guaranteeing the payment of money in the future.
  3. How can we determine if they are likely to do that?  Need to get financial and credit info on the client.

So there you go!  In 20 seconds you scoped it out and already have an idea about the underwriting, difficulty in placing, and potential markets that may have an appetite.

The underwriting path always follows the nature of the guarantee, which you will find in the NOW THEREFORE clause.  It’s that simple to break the code!

What a great feeling when you deal with the real experts.  You know you’ll get fast, efficient processing by folks who really care.  Call FIA Surety with your next surety bond.

FIA Surety is First Indemnity of America Insurance Company based in Morris Plains, NJ.  We provide site, subdivision, bid, performance and other forms of surety bonds.

Steve Golia, Marketing Mgr.  856-304-7348

 

Surety Bonds: How I Voted

Last Tuesday was the big day: 

  • “The most consequential mid-terms of our lifetime!”
  • “Your mid-term vote is a chance to affirm / reject (choose one) the president’s agenda!”
  • “The end of life as we know it!”
  • “Blah-blah-blah!”

I’m not making a joke about voting.  I think it is a privilege.  As citizens of a democracy, we owe it to all who have suffered and died defending this noble right.

So on Tuesday, I awoke bursting with patriotism and planning to cast my ballot.  But I decided to do it differently.  You’ve heard the expression, “Vote With Your feet.” This time I’ll do it!

I identified myself to the voting lady and she sent me to booth #2.  I quickly removed my shoes and socks.  It was hard getting the curtain open.

I entered the booth and reviewed all the choices.  Here it comes.  I steadied myself and placed my big toe on the lever.  I need to flip the lever, slippery, hard to turn it… I got it!

It became easier as I proceeded.  At the end you push a button to register your choices.  My big toe wouldn’t fit so I used the side of my “pinky toe.” Awesome!

I must admit, voting with your feet is harder than I expected, and a lot less fun. Why do people like it so much?  Eventually… it dawned on me what the expression means.  My “foot voting” was a fiasco!

You don’t have to make the same mistake. It’s not too late for you to vote with your feet – the right way.  Choose what’s better for you.  You can do it on Surety Bonds:

  • Circular 570, T-Listed bonds in excess of $10 million
  • Increased commissions
  • Superior, 365 service.
  • Same day response on new submissions.

You can have all this.  You should have it all! Vote with your feet and come over to KIS Surety for all these benefits.  Give us a call with your next Bid or Performance Bond.

Steve Golia, National Surety Director, KIS Surety

856-304-7348

Secrets of Bonding: #163: Financial Statement Fraud!

You know the old adage, “Financial statements don’t kill people, people kill people.”

While it’s true there can be misrepresentation and deception in a financial statement (FS), the document is not inherently bad, it is the poor intentions of the preparer or company that is to blame.

As credit analysts, we always review and rely on FSs when underwriting surety bonds. We know there may be attempts to mislead our judgement or even downright deception. But the need to evaluate the financial report is unavoidable. It is considered a valuable “report card on the quality of management.”

There are three levels of financial presentation by Certified Public Accounts (CPAs):

Compilation – a properly organized report where the numbers have not been verified or evaluated by the CPA

Review – includes some checking “Review” of key elements

Audit – is the highest level and includes the CPA’s statement that they have checked and believe the numbers are correct

The reader of the FS is entitled to certain expectations: A candid and complete presentation that informs the reader. Are they entitled to more than that? Does the reader sometimes expect too much?

Let’s consider what the FS actually says, and what it doesn’t… 

The Balance Sheet

This shows assets and liabilities. It describes the dollars in the company (assets) and who owns them (liabilities and stockholder’s equity). You know many of the normal entries: Cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, bank debt, the net worth / stockholder’s equity section, etc.

The balance sheet always has a date, such as 12/31/2017. It shows the status of these accounts on the one day. Credit analysts calculate the Working Capital aka Net Quick (NQ) which is considered a measure of short term financial strength. You find the NQ by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. When the bond underwriter has the NQ number, it can then be incorporated in the decision making.

“What size bonds will be approved for this applicant?”  “How much total capacity can they be allocated?” The NQ figure becomes a benchmark that is used for the remainder of the year.

For many analysts, this one number carries a huge importance for the following 12-15 months.

Let’s move forward one day in time, to 1/1/2018. “Happy New Year!” and let’s check the bank account. Some money has come in! The accounts receivable and cash have changed. Other elements are also different and so, if we calculate the NQ based on the 1/1 balance sheet, the NQ will probably be different from 12/31. Again, that’s because the balance sheet shows the state of these accounts on ONE DAY. It is always changing!

The reality is that the working capital number is only correct for one day, then it is subject to revision. This is not to say the number is not important or relevant. And certainly decision-makers must have annual benchmarks and a method for their determinations. It is very important, but so are other elements.

Financial Statement Fraud

The most common FS fraud is not committed against us by others. It is the self-deception we commit by over relying on these “one-day numbers.” To do so is to miss the big picture!

Underwriters love to see a big cash account sitting on that top line (of the balance sheet). But that’s a one-day number. Isn’t it even more important to determine the average funds on deposit for the prior six months or year? Many analysts fail to ask for this.

Accounts Receivable and Payable – here is another key area where the “one-day number” can easily be given a historical perspective. Aged schedules of A/R and A/P are easy to obtain and they give a view over more than one day. These documents are not automatically included in FSs, and underwriters may fail to ask for them.

Another example: A broader understanding of the banking relationship is accomplished by looking beyond the balance sheet bank debt.  A reference letter can reveal if the client has bounced checks, broken loan covenants or defaulted.

Conclusion

As readers of these documents and analysts, let’s not cheat ourselves by over relying on the balance sheet or thinking it is more than a one-day snapshot. It should be scrutinized and viewed in harmony with other key underwriting factors such as mid-year financial reports and supporting documents.

In this manner underwriters can make realistic, well-informed decisions.

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

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

First Indemnity of America Ins. Co.