Author, Matt Gaynor, Director of Surety, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
The majority of Rancho Mesa’s contractor clients have a fiscal year, end of December 31, for their company financial statements. During March, April, and May we collect a variety of financial information from our contractors to update the bonding company. The underwriting items we request include the 12/31 CPA financial statement, along with the work in progress and closed contract schedules. We also request an updated bank letter, account receivable/account payable schedules, and a personal financial statement from the owner.
Once this information is collected, submitted to, and reviewed by the bond company, they may follow up with questions or require additional information to explain what has been submitted. They will also ask the bonding agent to request single bond and aggregate bond program “parameters” based on the contractor’s estimate of work over the next 12 months. This information forms the basis for the bond agent’s line of authority that the bond company will provide to the bond agent.
The line of authority provides the agent with approval to execute the bid, payment, and performance bonds for their contractor client within the negotiated single and aggregate limits. The bond agent line of authority also includes certain conditions that would fall outside the agent’s authority to approve the bond request; therefore, the agent would need to submit the request to the bond company for approval. Some of the conditions that fall outside automatic approval include:
a.) a bid spread in excess of 10% between the first and second bidder.
b.) a project located outside the contractors’ normal geographic area for work.
c.) the contractor taking over work of a defaulted contractor, etc.
The agent line of authority is an efficient way for the bond agent to service their contractor client accounts without requiring approval from the bond company for every project. Upon receipt of a new bond request, the agent will review the project information to ensure it falls within their authority, and then they will execute the bid or performance bond and deliver the bond to their client. The line will usually expire on April 30th of the following year – which restarts the process to collect the financial information for the bond company to renew the agent’s line for another year.
If you would like a better understanding of how the bond line of authority affects your bond program, please contact Matt Gaynor, at (619) 937-0165.