Program Development

Education & Seminars

Education or Continuing Education

SIO has several links on its Web site to organizations that offer classes, seminars, and continuing education courses for surety professionals.

Conducting Your Own Seminars

Checklist for seminar planning:

  1. Six months before the seminar: Decide the parameters of your seminar. Who is it for? On what topic(s)? When will you hold it? Where? Who will speak? How long will the seminar last? Will there be food? (A light meal is a great way to get people together.)
  2. Three months before the seminar: Finalize the arrangements with the speakers, the meeting place and caterer, etc.
  3. Prepare the invitations to the seminar (they can be standard formal invitations, an oversized post card or a letter) and develop the mailing list. Appoint someone to keep track of responses and answer questions.
  4. Decide who will be the moderator for the seminar. Have the speakers give you a list of their equipment needs (slide projector, overhead projector, etc.) and a copy of their presentation outline.
  5. Two months before the seminar: Mail the invitations and keep track of the responses. Arrange to have the appropriate equipment on hand (most hotels and conference centers have projectors and other equipment that you can use.)
  6. Send a press release to appropriate media announcing the seminar and featuring the speakers.
  7. One month before the seminar: Visit the site of the seminar. Determine what signs you might need. Check to make sure the facilities are adequate.
  8. Contact your speakers and reconfirm their commitment. Arrange for a thank-you gift for your speakers.
  9. Prepare information kits to give seminar attendees. Include an agenda, biographies of the speakers, information on the topic and on bonding in general, a description of your organization, an evaluation form and a list of contacts for further information.
  10. One week before the seminar: Prepare name badges for those attending the seminar. Contact the site and the caterer to inform them of the number attending. Recruit helpers for the day of the seminar.
  11. The day of the seminar: Arrive at the site as early as possible. Put your helpers in charge of placing signs in the appropriate places, staffing the registration/ welcoming table, and talking with any reporters who cover the event.
  12. Take photos during the seminar. Assign one helper to take notes or tape record or videotape the speakers’ presentations (with the speakers’ permission, of course).
  13. Ask the attendees to complete the evaluation form.
  14. Thank the speakers publicly and present the gift.
  15. The week after the seminar: Write thank you letters to the speakers. It’s also a good idea to thank your attendees for coming and ask them if they need more information.
  16. Within a month following the seminar: Evaluate the seminar and plan ahead.

Legislative Affairs


SFAA is active in federal and state advocacy on surety and fidelity issues both in a legislative and regulatory context. SFAA partners with the American Insurance Association (AIA) in a manner that draws upon the strengths of both organizations to affect surety and fidelity issues. The AIA has a significant state and federal legislative network, and the SFAA provides the AIA regional managers and state counsel with substantive analysis of and policy positions on legislation and any talking points, testimony and other materials needed to address pending legislation, as well as government affairs expertise and grassroots support as needed from the local surety associations. SFAA arranges for staff and member company representatives to testify as needed at hearings. SFAA participates in weekly joint trade calls with the AIA and the NASBP to coordinate legislative and regulatory activities. The SFAA provides legislative information to all LSAs and coordinates its legislative activity in any state with the LSA.

SFAA keeps its members informed about legislation and regulation affecting surety and fidelity. The SFAA Monthly Legislative Report is a comprehensive federal and state-by-state report that assists members in getting information about, and being proactive on, legislation of importance. The report lists new bills that were introduced since the last report and contains the status of bills that had significant movement since the preceding month, which means that the bills have either passed out of committee, passed one House in the legislature, or are on their way to the governor for signature. The monthly legislative report includes a highlights feature, which gives SFAA members an upfront summary of recent enactments of new bond enactments and reductions/eliminations of existing bond requirements.

The SFAA monthly legislative reports are sent electronically to the SFAA Government Affairs Advisory Committee and to the local surety associations. They also are available on the SFAA Web site to all SFAA members. These reports are presented by line of business – contract surety, commercial surety, and fidelity – so that SFAA members can more easily obtain and review the information of most interest to their companies. The monthly reports show the bills by state. During peak times in the state legislative sessions, SFAA may publish these reports more frequently than monthly.

In addition, SFAA publishes a monthly legislative overview, which summarizes state legislation by key issues and topics, rather than by state. These reports also are sent to the Government Affairs Advisory Committee and the LSAs and are available on the Web site.

The Monthly Regulation Report keeps SFAA members informed of the previous month’s federal and state proposed, final, and emergency regulations. In addition to describing any action SFAA has taken on these regulations, the report details how members can submit comments on regulations so that they can be proactive on regulations of importance to them.

SFAA uses a variety of sources for its legislative and regulatory information. SFAA staff welcome input and additional information from all LSAs.


SFAA Government Affairs: Lenore Marema, Vice President of Government Affairs, (202) 778-3637, (202) 463-0606 fax,; Daniel Wanke, Associate Analyst, (202) 778-3631, (202) 463-0606 fax,


Founded in 1942, the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) is the voice of surety bond producers with government and industry, assuming a vital leadership role in promoting and defending suretyship in the functioning of government and commerce.

The strength and fulfillment of NASBP’s government relations initiatives rests with the many efforts of its volunteer members, who work with professional association staff to accomplish NASBP’s government relations agenda at all levels of government. NASBP staff regularly develop grassroots tools, such as model letters and educational articles on surety topics, for NASBP members’ use in educating their legislators, clients and others. NASBP mobilizes its grassroot networks at federal, state, and local levels to address legislation and regulations impacting surety bonding and other related issues.

NASBP works tirelessly to preserve and defend bonding requirements, such as the Miller Act and state “Little Miller Acts.” Throughout the year NASBP staff track and comment on legislation and regulations at state and federal levels.

Another aspect of NASBP’s government relations efforts includes the support and management of NASBP’s Political Action Committee, the SuretyPAC. The SuretyPAC supports Congressional candidates who understand the value that surety bonding brings to the efficient functioning of government and commerce, benefiting their communities and constituencies.

NASBP also complements its government relations efforts with outreach to key industry groups. NASBP works closely with surety companies, construction industry partners, and other key organizations to advance the use and understanding of surety bonding. NASBP also pursues partnering agreements with key groups, such as construction industry associations. These strategic partnerships enhance and expedite communications between the organizations on a variety of important issues, including the state of the surety market, the importance of bonding requirements to preserve payment protections, and effective risk management practices.


Kathy J. Mapes Hoffman, Assistant Director, Government Relations & Communications, (202) 464-1175, (202) 686-3656 fax,

Community Outreach & Special Events

Special Meetings

In addition to regular meetings, LSAs may offer study groups, workshops, and other special functions to members. Any fee usually covers the cost of a featured speaker, handout materials, a meal (if appropriate), room rental, etc.

Other meeting ideas include:

  • Social & Networking Opportunity – Golf Tournament, Christmas in July, Jobsite Tour, Holiday Party.
  • Community Services – Habitat For Humanity, Toys For Tots, National Association of Women in Construction Block Kids Program, American Red Cross, food drives.
  • Education – Scholarships, guest lectures at high schools and colleges, Career Day.
  • Legislative – State Department of Transportation, state Department of Development, meetings with state Representatives and Senators and/or their offices, state Contractors Board officials, or other public agencies.

Assisting Emerging Contractors (MCDP)

SFAA is actively involved in a variety of programs and activities to assist LSAs and their respective contractor communities to further the goals of access to bonding and increased bonding capacity for emerging contractors.

The Model Contractor Development Program

Launched in 2001, the Model Contractor Development Program (MCDP) is an SFAA program designed to increase access to and availability of bonding to minority, women, and other emerging contractors. The Model Contractor Development Program objectives include:

  • Educate small, minority, and women contractors about surety bonds and help them become bondable.
  • Identify resources available to small, minority, and women contractors in obtaining their first bond, such as the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program and similar federal, state, and local programs.
  • Provide assistance and referrals to small, minority, and women contractors in obtaining appropriate accounting, project management, and financing expertise.
  • Assist small, minority, and women contractors with increasing their bonding capacity.

The MCDP is composed of two interrelated components: 

The educational workshops component offers a set of eight comprehensive workshops, each of which is designed to provide information to the contractors related to improving their company’s operations and thereby making it easier to be bonded or to increase their bonding capacity. Specific seminars or workshops are available on: 

  • Business Planning and Management for Construction
  • Construction Accounting and Financial Management
  • Banking and Financing for Contractors
  • Bonding and Insurance for New and Emerging Contractors
  • Marketing, Estimating, and Bidding
  • Project Management and Field Operations
  • Claims and Dispute Resolution
  • Success Stories: Why Some Contractors Succeed and Others Fail

The bond readiness component consists of one-on-one interactions with surety bond producers, underwriters, and other professionals who work with the contractors on a case-by-case basis in assembling the materials necessary for a complete bond application and in addressing any omissions and/or deficiencies that might deter the successful underwriting of a bond. In this component, SFAA uses the network of local surety associations to identify one or more surety professionals in the various local areas to volunteer to assist these companies in becoming bondable or increasing their bonding capacity.

To support this program, SFAA has prepared a handbook for locals surety associations, Increasing Access to Surety Bonding – A Handbook for Establishing a Local Contractor Development Program, which is available in the Development & Diversity section of the SFAA Web site at

Technical Assistance to Federal, State and Local Jurisdictions

An outgrowth of the Model Contractor Development Program is SFAA’s increasing role in the provision of technical assistance to federal, state, and local governmental entities in developing programs of bonding support for emerging contractors that want to do business with these jurisdictions. Generally, SFAA works with the relevant LSA in the particular area and these joint efforts have ranged from informational and educational programs for contractors to formal bond guarantee programs. These efforts demonstrate that early involvement of the surety industry in the development and implementation of bonding support programs has been and will continue to be an important contributor to their success.


SFAA Development & Diversity: Samuel A. Carradine, Director of Development and Diversity, (202) 778-3638, (202) 463-0606 fax,

Small Contractor Brochures

The SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program brochure published by SIO summarizes the U.S. Small Business Administration’s program, which helps small and emerging contactors obtain bonds. This publication examines:

  • Program eligibility;
  • Prior Approval Program;
  • Preferred Surety Bonds Program; and
  • The necessary application forms and documents.

Click here to view and print this brochure.

Helping Contractors Grow: Surety Bonding for New & Emerging Contractors provides
information on surety bond assistance and support programs and mentor-protégé

Click here to view and print this brochure.

Why Do Contractors Fail? outlines the events that lead to contractor
failure and the warning signs that a contractor is in trouble.

Click here to view and print this brochure.


SIO Awards for Excellence in Surety Bond Promotion

The SIO Awards for Excellence in Surety Bond Promotion honor Local Surety Associations (LSAs) with two levels of achievement and individual NASBP and SFAA members with one level of achievement:

Local Surety Associations

  • Silver Award—for LSAs that conduct at least five public relations activities in a calendar year to promote the value and benefits of contract surety bonds.
  • Gold Award—for LSAs that conduct at least 10 public relations activities in a calendar year to promote the value and benefits of contract surety bonds.


  • Platinum Award—for an individual NASBP or SFAA member whose efforts to promote contract surety bonds have had a significant impact on the construction industry. This award is not based on the volume of activities, but on the successful outcome of the individual’s actions in promoting the value and benefits of contract surety bonds.

Examples of Public Relations Promotional Activities

Outreach (To private owners, public owners, lenders, government agencies, risk managers, contractors, subcontractors, minority contractors, architects, engineers, attorneys, CPAs, universities, and their respective associations)

  • Give presentations on the value and benefits of contract surety bonds.
  • Conduct meetings/seminars to discuss the protections surety bonds provide.
  • Organize an initiative to inform audiences on the benefits of surety bonds.
  • Set up a surety display and distribute information at expos, conventions, meetings, career fairs, or other gatherings.
  • Sponsor, develop, or present non-compensated continuing education courses to a non-surety industry audience on contract surety bond-related issues.
  • Inform Legislators and their staff on how surety bonds protect taxpayer dollars, prequalify contractors, and guarantee project completion.

Media Relations (Please provide publication clippings, PDFs, or audio/visual files to support the nomination)

  • Write articles on surety bonds for external magazines, newsletters, or other publications.
  • Produce Public Service Announcements on the benefits of contract surety bonds.
  • Participate on a TV/radio program, talk show, or news story.
  • Distribute press releases or provide information to the media on the value and benefits of contract surety bonds.

Community Outreach (Must promote the value and benefits of contract surety bonds in the name of the LSA or bring public relations value to the LSA’s name. The weight given to these secondary activities will be determined by the judges.)

  • Spearhead a community service or volunteer initiative.
  • Provide a scholarship to a student or endowment fund in a construction-related program.
  • Serve as a surety mentor to students at construction trade schools/college programs.
  • Participate in a career fair to promote surety as a career or raise awareness of the importance of contract surety bonds in construction.

View SIO Awards for Excellence in Surety Bond Promotion Criteria & Nomination Form.

Tiger Trust

In 1984, the very elite group known as the Tiger Trust was formed to recognize SFAA and NASBP members who persuade a private construction project owner or lender to require surety bonds on a project. Today, the Tiger Trust continues to be one of the most prestigious honors SFAA and NASBP members can earn. Tiger Trust members demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the principles of suretyship and have achieved individual distinction by educating private owners about the value of contract surety bonds.

Because the private sector offers the greatest potential for contract surety growth, it is important for surety professionals to become actively involved in persuading private owners and lenders to specify contract surety bonds on their projects. SIO proudly confers upon all qualified applicants the distinction of the Tiger Trust. To apply for the Tiger Trust and join the other members of this elite group, simply fill out the nomination form and send it to SIO with the requisite documentation. All winners will be inducted to the Tiger Trust and receive their certificate and pin at the SFAA and NASBP Annual Meetings.

View Tiger Trust Criteria & Nomination Form.

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