NASBP Panel at AGC Conference Focuses on How Producers Can Resolve Ethical Dilemmas

In February, NASBP delivered a panel presentation, “Staying on Track: Inside Perspectives on the Ethical Dilemmas that Frequently Confront Bond Producers and the Ethical Standards Expected to Guide Their Actions,” at the Associated General Contractors of America Conference on Surety Bonding and Construction Risk Management.

NASBP President Susan Hecker, (right) Executive Vice President and National Director of Contract Surety at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in San Francisco; NASBP Second Vice President Howard Cowan, President of Cowan-Hill Bond Agency, Inc. (not pictured); and John F. Welch, (lower left) President and Chief Executive Officer of the NASBP Affiliate, CNA Surety Corporation, presented to an audience of general contractors, subcontractors, surety underwriters, bond producers, and other risk management professionals, as well as lawyers, CPAs and other professional consultants.

The presenters described the difference between legal compliance and ethics and how NASBP members are guided by the NASBP Code of Ethics. Most of the 60-minute session was spent with the three panelists addressing a variety of real-life scenarios concerning information that a bond producer knows but the contractor may not want passed on to the surety, such as a health diagnosis, pending divorce, or potential sale of the company. Additional scenarios were discussed that involved information about an out-of-sync bid and whether to talk to the contractor in question; pressure placed on a surety by a highly valued contractor client to choose that firm to complete the work of another contractor; and disputes between a contractor and subcontractor that are handled by the same surety. Cowan and Hecker described to Welch scenarios bond producers frequently encounter, stopping at intervals for Welch to share his expectations as an underwriter given the circumstances of each scenario and closing with what actually happened in each case.

NASBP Online Ethics Course

Learn more about ethics by registering for the NASBP online course, Ethics for Surety Bond Producers, designed to address specific ethical issues that surety bond professionals face daily in their unique, tripartite relationships. The 3-hour course is the first ethics course designed specifically for bond producers and is focused on addressing ethical behavior. Anyone can access this NASBP course at any time from after registering for $75. 

Registrants can take the course at their own pace within 12 months of purchase. Because many states require a “closed-book” exam, the course is provided with unlimited test re-takes at no additional cost. To date, 50 states and the District of Columbia have approved the course for three or more CE credits. Learn more at