Archive for November, 2011

Ohio Surety Bond Thresholds and Waivers on Ohio Public Projects

Written by JoAnn Smith on November 30th, 2011. Posted in Ohio, Surety Bond Blog

Ohio Surety BondsThe State of Ohio enacted HB 153 late this summer, which laid out some changes to when and how surety bonds are required for Construction Management (CM) at risk projects as well as design-build projects. The statute authorizes projects to be let for both the CM at risk and design-build methods. Surety Bonds are required in CM at risk and design-build projects in an amount determined by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) in regulations. As introduced, the Governor’s version of the bill would have required a surety bond of at least the combined contract values of any work under contract prior to the establishment of the guaranteed maximum price or in the amount of the guaranteed maximum price as agreed to by the public authority. The statute also eliminates the existing requirement for multi-prime contracting, which becomes an option. In addition, single-prime contracting requirement is eliminated. It also allows the use of all these methods regardless of the size and scope of the contract and the type of public entity letting the contract.


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Freight Broker Bond Requirement Set to Increase Ten-fold

Written by JoAnn Smith on November 25th, 2011. Posted in Surety Bond Blog

All surety bonds are available, such as freight broker bond, icc bond, property broker bond, and bmc 84 bondThe Fighting Fraud in Transportation Act of 2011 (H.R. 2357) is a recent bill introduced to combat the increasing amount of load board scams, situations where a phony “freight broker or carrier” double broker’s freight dealers in internet load boards and pockets all the money without paying the carriers. Introduced in June, this bill is designed to enforce laws and regulations that already exist in the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995. And while it created new policies that should make transportation regulation more effective, and thus protecting freight carriers and brokers from the scammers, it does contain a bit of controversial regulation that significantly affects the surety bond industry. The problematic portion of this bill as far as the surety industry is concerned is the increase in the freight broker surety bond amount that brokers and freight forwarders are required to carry, from $10,000 to a whopping $100,000. Obviously, the greater the surety bond amount, the greater the surety liability. On the plus side, this increase causes surety companies to be more strict while also raising the bar for the freight brokers, and thus makes it much harder for scammers to persist. On the down side, however, it also makes it much more difficult for small brokers to survive.

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OFF BEAT: Are You At Risk?

Written by JoAnn Smith on November 25th, 2011. Posted in Surety Bond Blog

Every now and then we like to write about topics that are not directly related to the surety bond industry. We hope you find these informative. Identity theft, surety
Are You at Risk of Identity Theft Online?
The web is mostly used for three things – searching, sharing, and shopping. In just a few short years, the internet has opened up a whole new world of communication is that would have never been possible before. It’s all great and fun to have that power available, but when it’s used for bad things – it can be very bad for you!
Online identity theft is a real and serious issue.
You may not realize it yet, but criminals spend day after day looking for new ways to steal your information- including your birthday, address, social security numbers, and any other information that would allow them to pass themselves off as you. They’re also constantly looking for ways to access your credit card numbers, so they can buy that big screen TV they’ve been eying up – on your dime. They’re skilled, they’re sneaky, and they’re steadfast. They are continually looking for ways around the protection systems that the good guys have put in place. Unfortunately, since the good guys have a hard time thinking like criminals — oftentimes the criminals are a step ahead of the security. Our goal here is not to scare you out of using the internet altogether but to make you aware of the most common dangers when it comes to online identity theft. That way you can be net-smart and hopefully avoid some of the mistakes that could cost you a ton of hardship, heartache and headache! So what I have for you today is a quick checklist you can use to provide surety that you are at minimal risk of identity theft online. To protect yourself, make sure that you do the following:
  • Use a different password for every online account you have registered.
  • Make each password impossible to guess.
  • Maintain up-to-date virus protection on your computer.
  • Only store your private passwords in a password protected area on your computer or away from your computer completely.
  • Avoid storing private information (such as banking, credit cards or anything sensitive enough to be used against me) on your computer.
  • Avoid accessing WI-FI to login to secure areas such as email, banking accounts, etc.
  • Avoid posting personal information (such as email, phone, address, etc.) on public websites for the whole world to see.
  • Use due-diligence to ensure that the websites you purchase from are trustworthy and that the shopping cart is secure.
  • Clear your computer’s history on a regular basis.
  • Keep a separate email account for anything that will be visible publicly.
  • Be very skeptical of any ‘too good to be true’ offers online and protective of giving out your name and email to every offer that you find?
One of the main reasons why people don’t practice these surety measures is that they are short on time, money and the technical know-how to set things up. It’s extremely critical that you take note right now and take this seriously. You MUST figure out a way to get this done, even if you have to hire an expert to do it for you. No matter how little time or money you have right now, it will be child’s play compared to the time, cost and frustration you’ll experience if your identity is stolen. Protect yourself now so you won’t regret it later.

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Troubled Economy Affecting Surety Company Risk

Written by JoAnn Smith on November 22nd, 2011. Posted in Commercial Bonds, Contract Bonds, Surety Bond Blog

Unfinished construction projects contributed to mounting surety lossesAs the economic struggles continue in the construction industry, surety companies are faced with growing losses stemming from construction problems. According to a recent article in the Engineering News-Record, those contractors with marginal financial resources are turning up in different markets and low-balling project bids in order to win business. Surety bond companies are getting stuck when these companies fail to finish the work and/or just go out of business. Several states are struggling to manage the problem, including Ohio, where a contractor initially was denied by the surety company, The Travelers Indemnity Company, for a construction defect involving a subcontractor providing inadequate materials. Although the surety company won the initial lawsuit filed by the contractor, the contractor successfully appealed in US District Court.

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New Jersey Fidelity Bond Legislation Update

Written by JoAnn Smith on November 16th, 2011. Posted in New Jersey, Surety Bond Blog

New Jersey Surety BondNew Jersey Dental Plan Organization (DPO) officials, under N.J.A.C 11:10-1.11, are now permitted to obtain crime insurance to satisfy fidelity bond requirements. This is significant because the requirement for any office, director, partner, or employee of the DPO is to have a $50k fidelity bond. For a proper consultation on fidelity bond requirements for New Jersey or any other state, please contact today at (800) 600-9240.


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