2015 Awards For Excellence In Surety Bond Promotion and Advocacy
The Tiger Trust is an elite honorary society of surety industry professionals who work with private construction project owners and lenders to ensure that contract surety bonds are specified on their projects.The Gold and Silver awards recognize Local Surety Associations (LSAs) for conducting at least ten and five public relations and educational activities, respectively, in a calendar year to promote the use of contract surety bonds in construction to non-surety audiences. The Advocacy Award is for LSAs that conduct significant activities advocating for suretyship, such as fighting legislative efforts to waive bonds or increase bond thresholds, or advocating for reasonable bond forms. Listed below is a sample of the activities that earned these LSAs their awards.
SIO Tiger Trust Award Winner
Mike Battenfield of Berkley Surety Group persuaded the Board of Directors of the Nautilus Condominium to require a performance bond for their construction project for concrete repairs and water-proofing in their under-building parking garage. The Board then voted and approved that all future construction contracts must be bonded as well.
Additionally, Battenfield convinced the neighboring condo boards to also require bonding on future construction contracts. Battenfield accepted his Tiger Trust Award at the Surety & Fidelity Association of America meeting held in early May. Pictured at left is Battenfield who accepted his Award at the Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) meeting last month.
SIO Awards for Promotion
SIO Gold Award Winners
Florida Surety Association (FSA) members presented at several workshops aimed at small and emerging contractors including a presentation on bonding during a USDOT/SFAA Bonding Education Program (BEP) for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority South Airport Intermodal Terminal Project. A presentation was also given at the Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association Seminar to landscaping contractors to educate them on the benefits of bonding and how to obtain bonds. A member presented during a Florida 8A Alliance Bonding Webinar on “Bonding . . . The Basics, Benefits and Best Practices,” promoting the benefits of bonding and how to obtain bonds.
Surety Association of San Diego (SASD) performed numerous activities that qualified it for a Gold Award. A member presented “Surety 101” at a “Small and Emerging Contractors Workshop” held by SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) which included a roadmap for small and emerging contractors to take the first steps necessary to obtaining surety credit. Several members presented “Bonding 101” presentations, sharing the nuts and bolts of bonding with contractors and sub-contractors. Three members gave a presentation at the local school district’s summer expo, offering insights into the prequalification process and what the surety is looking for when evaluating the qualifications of the contractors in order to provide a bonding program.
Surety Underwriters Association of Southern California (SUASC) members hosted several booths at outreach events and conferences to spread the word about bonding to the contractors and other attendees. Educational sessions were given at many locations to small and emerging contractors on obtaining bonding, along with resources available for contractors. Multiple presentations were given by members including a presentation in regards to bonding at the Mid-Coast Project for the Mid-Coast Transit Corridor Trolley Service project in San Diego and a presentation at the Build LACCD Spring Boot Camp for small contractors looking to get into LACCD contracts.
SIO Silver Award Winners
Several Carolinas Surety Association (CSA) members spoke at the Charleston Chapter of the American Subcontractor Association about the awareness of onerous general contractor and owner bond terminology, such as the automatic penal sum increase as well as promoted the use of standard forms, such as AIA, ConsensusDOCS or surety company preferred bond forms. In addition a member participated in a 10-week program with Mid-South Atlantic Chapter of the Small Business Transportation Resource Center. Her involvement included hosting a session on bonding, which included how to develop surety credit as a small business and utilizing bonds as risk management tools. A member also met with small and emerging contractors to discuss the preparation of financials to assist with surety credit and how those financials are evaluated by the surety.
Surety Association of Kansas City (SAKC) members held a lunch and learn for a group of contractors at the Blue Hills Contractor Incubator to share information on insurance and surety related topics, including an overview on bonding, underwriting guidelines and on the submission process and other factors such as good financials. A member worked with several contractors, banks, and CPA firms to begin a Construction Financial Management Association chapter in West Missouri/North West Arkansas to allow for better communication and collaboration between the construction industries.
A Surety Association of Ohio (SAO) member presented at a USDOT/SFAA Bonding Education Program on the basics of surety as well as on credit based markets available in addition to participating in the Q&A answering individual questions from contractors in an effort to assist them in securing surety credit. In addition he presented at a “Surety Bonds Basics for Contractors” event on the importance of surety bonds and the steps that need to be taken by contractors in order to qualify for surety credit. Several members presented and participated in the Ready for Ohio Conference, presenting the essential elements of qualifying for surety credit and ways to increase bonding capacity. They also provided valuable resources and non-standard surety program options.
Rocky Mountain Surety Association (RMSA) members participated in several USDOT/SFAA Bonding Education Programs in Denver providing individual interviews and guiding business owners on the surety bonding process, to help them earn a Silver Award. In addition, a member facilitated two seminars on contract surety bonding for classes sponsored by the USDOT Small Business Services, created for small and emerging contractors. Members also gave several presentations on bonding and underwriting and the importance of bonding.
SIO Advocacy Award Winners
Florida Surety Association (FSA) members wrote several letters in response to surety related issues in Florida, including a letter to the Madison County School Board explaining the challenges that their 20-year warranty requirement presented to the surety industry and offering to help find another solution agreeable to all parties, a letter to Lee County advising of the challenges associated with the onerous demand feature in their performance bond that allowed the surety only three days to respond, and a letter to the City of Titusville regarding issues with its performance bond. In addition members participated in the SFAA Congressional Action Day and the annual Legislative Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Surety Association of Kansas City (SAKC) worked with the NASBP and SFAA to have the surety rating requirement removed from the City of Columbia, MO. Letters and communications were sent and thanks to a joint effort, the provision was removed from the city’s specifications within a week. Several members also participated in the NASBP Legislative Fly-in and held individual meetings with all three Kansas Senators/Representatives to discuss what surety is, its importance to the public, and maintaining the integrity of the surety bond product.
Several Surety Association of Nevada (SAN) members wrote several opposition letters in response to Nevada’s AB345 on the individual surety allowance for the state of Nevada. In addition, a member submitted testimony to retain the $100,000 bonding threshold requirement to SB108, which would increase the bonding threshold to $1 million on state of Nevada Public Works projects.
A Surety Association of Ohio (SAO) member wrote a letter on behalf of the SAO raising concerns about a desired arrangement where the engineer on the project wanted to enter directly into a contract with the awarded contractor and also be listed as the oblige on the bid, performance, and payment bonds rather than the owner. The letter pointed out the additional risks and the lack of protection for tax payers causing the engineer and owner to alter the contract and bond requirements and extend the bid, allowing the contract documents to be re-written. Members have continued to write letters and make phone calls in response to a recent policy that waives “costly” performance bonds in order to help small and minority businesses secure work.
Surety Association of Wisconsin (SAW) members worked to ensure the required P&P bond on school project was provided to the school by the contractor. A member took the lead on lobbying efforts on behalf of the SAW in partnership with the SFAA to replace the inflammatory indexing the minimum bond requirement for state projects. In addition, members met with the Wisconsin DOT to educate them about how extended warranties work, how they affect the bidders list and affect bid costs.