This Handbook has been written to provide Local Surety Associations (LSAs) with a central source of information related to development, stewardship, expansion of their associations, and the resources that are available through the Surety Information Office (SIO), The Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) and the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP).
It is designed to be particularly helpful to the LSA leadership as officers plan and implement programs for their members. This Handbook is not meant to provide legal advice on any issue, and each LSA should consult counsel on matters such as incorporation, tax status, antitrust issues, etc.
This Handbook will be updated regularly via the SIO Web site and comments or suggestions for additional information to be included in the Handbook are welcome. Contact SIO at email@example.com with your ideas.
SIO is the information source on contract surety bonds. SIO was formed in 1993 with the mission:
“To increase the use of corporate surety bonds in the private sector and
promote the value and importance of contract surety bonds in private and
The Surety & Fidelity
Association of America
www.surety.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
of Surety Bond Producers
www.nasbp.org | email@example.com
SFAA, NASBP, and SIO – Providing Strength, Solidarity, and Support to the Industry
Today’s surety professionals enjoy the support of the three national organizations whose primary objective is the success of the surety industry.
By the turn of the 20th century, surety bonds were required on all federal, and many state, construction projects. There were several corporate surety ventures during the time, but high failure rates of early corporate surety companies created the need for unified efforts at strengthening the surety industry. In 1908, The Surety Association of America (SAA) was formed to regulate the industry, promote public understanding of and confidence in the surety industry, and to provide a forum for the discussion of problems of common interest to its members. At the same time, the Towner Rating Bureau was formed to collect statistics and set rates for surety bonds. The SAA and the Towner Rating Bureau merged in 1947. In May 2006, the Board of Directors approved a name change to The Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA). Since its inception, SFAA has been instrumental in strengthening the role and position of the surety industry by collecting and filing statistical data, tracking industry trends, handling regulatory concerns, lobbying political issues, and serving as a unifying force for surety companies.
As the SFAA helped strengthen the role of surety companies, surety producers began to recognize the need for providing the same type of leadership and organization to its side of the surety business. In 1942, the U.S. War Department developed a plan, which was released in a bulletin by the Towner Rating Bureau, to cut surety premiums up to 19% and agents’ commissions by as much as 86% on contracts let by the Army and Navy relating to the war. Word of the proposed cuts spread quickly through the surety community. A group of surety producers met with Colonel Reece Hill – who was in charge of the War Department Insurance and Bonding Office – and convinced him to settle on a maximum adjustment in the General Agents’ commission of no more than 2.5%. In anticipation of future problems, this group agreed that surety producers should be organized permanently, and on April 9, 1943, the National Association of Surety Bond Producers was chartered “to promote the general welfare of those engaged in the production of surety bonds; to further a closer fraternal relationship among its members; to obtain and disseminate helpful information; to adopt expedient rules and regulations and secure advantages of united action, plans, and procedure among its members so as to promote their general welfare; to safeguard and protect public interests; and inspire public confidence.”
SIO Is Created
In 1993, NASBP and SFAA joined forces to establish a promotional office to represent the members of both associations. The Surety Information Office would develop and distribute information to educate the construction industry and general public, as well as present a positive image of the surety industry. SIO is governed by a Policy Board comprised of NASBP and SFAA members. The objective of the SIO is to increase the use of corporate surety bonds in the private sector and promote the value and importance of contract surety bonds in private and public construction.
SIO maintains a list of Local Surety Associations and their officers by state at SIO’s Local Surety Association Officers Directory Web site. LSAs are responsible for maintaining accurate contact information for their officers and can update their rosters at www.sio.org/Access_Surety_Pros/LSA_Directory/Update_Form.cfm.
Several Local Surety Associations have created their own Web sites where members or interested parties can obtain information about surety bonds or learn more about activities, meetings, or special events held by the Association.
- Carolinas Surety Association
- Florida Surety Association
- Minnesota Surety Association
- Surety Association of Arizona
- Surety Association of Georgia
- Surety Association of Houston
- Surety Association of Illinois
- Surety Association of Indiana
- Surety Association of Kansas City
- Surety Association of Ohio
- Surety Association of Oregon
- Surety Association of San Diego
- Surety Association of St. Louis
- Surety Association of Washington
- Surety Underwriters Association of New Jersey
- Surety Underwriters Association of South Texas Inc.
- Surety Underwriters Association of Southern California
- Texas Surety Federation