CEO Comments


Sincere Appreciation to 2023 Federal Legislative Fly-in Participants!

I often have commented on the importance of maintaining visibility with elected representatives at all levels of government to foster awareness and understanding of surety bonding. Already this year, surety bonding requirements have been challenged by two unfortunate legislative introductions in Illinois and in Connecticut, both of which seek to increase the existing statutory bond thresholds inordinately and well beyond sensible levels (both bills seek state thresholds of $5,000,000). Fortunately, NASBP and active members in those and surrounding states, along with a coalition of other groups, are strongly opposing the measures. These are prime examples, however, of what can occur in a vacuum of awareness and understanding by legislators about the importance of surety bond requirements.

One of the ways we promote such awareness at the federal level is through hosting an annual Legislative Fly-in in Washington, DC, so surety professionals as constituents can be in front of their elected representatives or their staff to acquaint them with surety bonding and to remind them of its critical protections for taxpayers and others. This is critically important outreach, as it applies a face, a name, and a contextualizing discussion to an otherwise largely abstract product. 

My sincere thanks to those bond producers and surety underwriters who made the effort and put in the time to come to DC to participate in this year’s Fly-in, the first in-person Fly-in since the onslaught of the COVID pandemic. Their arrival corresponded to the peak point of the cherry blossoms, with lovely trees in bloom around the US Capitol. Almost 90 congressional visits occurred (further information is available here), both in House and in Senate offices. Participants were armed with materials to be used as talking points and “leave behinds” in their congressional office visits. The detailed materials as well as those specific to WIFIA addressed why surety bonds are important and two priority legislative goals for this congressional cycle; specifically, support for H.R. 1740, which was introduced immediately prior to the Fly-in and seeks to amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to ensure that recipients of loans and grants from the WIFIA program will require performance and payment bonds of entities performing construction work, and for introduction of legislation to ensure that broadband infrastructure construction projects undertaken under loan and grant programs administered by the Department of Agriculture, Rural Utility Service are protected by required performance and payment bonds.

From the results of a post-event survey, 2023 Fly-in participants reported high levels of satisfaction regarding their experience, with 100% of the respondents stating that they would plan to participate again based on their overall experiences. Respondents rated the quality of the materials they were provided with, the coordination services they received, and the quality of their congressional meeting experiences very highly. Also noteworthy was that 48% of respondents stated that congressional staff with whom they met had some familiarity with surety bonding, perhaps a testament to the fruits of repeated Fly-in visits over the years. Another benefit of member and affiliate Fly-in visits are the many leads generated for follow-up visits by staff to continue the dialogue and to cement the interests of individual congressional offices in matters important to surety bonding. 

With the satisfaction expressed by Fly-in participants regarding their experiences and the evident importance of being in front of decision-makers who can impact--negatively or positively--the welfare of the surety industry, the question arises as to why even more members and affiliates do not participate in the annual Legislative Fly-in. Our hope is to make this event as attractive as possible for the NASBP community, so we would particularly value hearing from those in our community who have NOT participated in past legislative Fly-ins to learn of the reasons for the non-participation. Please take the survey available here to share your reasons. Your information will remain confidential and will help us to continue to shape the Legislative Fly-in event in ways most attractive to you.

Thanks again to all those who advocate or will advocate in the future for the betterment of this important and cherished industry!