All posts by Eric Weisbrot

About Eric Weisbrot

Eric is the Webmaster of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.

Bonding Insurance Explained

People who use phrases like “bonding insurance” or “insurance bonds” are often referring to fidelity bonds whether they know it or not. If you’re interested in bonding but are unsure about what options are available to you and what the benefits of each are, this guide will help steer you in the right direction.

 

bond-insurance-explained

What is Fidelity Bond Insurance?

Fidelity bonds are a form of insurance that protect against employee dishonesty such as theft, and usually aren’t required.  There are a few different types of fidelity bonds that have their own benefits that are important to understand.

Business service fidelity bonds protect customers from employee dishonesty by those hired to perform services on their property. Cleaning services, pest control companies or moving services often get this type of fidelity bond because it protects the life blood of their business, which are the customers. For example, if an employee steals from a customer and is convicted in a court of law, the business service fidelity bond policy will cover the losses.

An employee dishonesty fidelity bond protects an employer from dishonest acts of their own employees. This bond is very similar to a business service bond, but the protection is meant for the employer, not the customer.

ERISA fidelity bonds are actually required by law (thanks to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) to protect participants and beneficiaries of employee benefit plans from fraudulent acts by those who manage the employee benefit plans (known as the fiduciaries). Read our article to find out more on what it means to be bonded with fidelity bonds.

 


What Are Surety Bonds?

It’s also possible that someone who uses a term like “bond insurance” is looking for information on surety bonds, which are very different from fidelity bonds. Surety bonds are required by the government or other third parties and provide guarantees. What the surety bond guarantees depends on the specific type; there are hundreds of surety bond types with guarantees that range from ensuring a mortgage broker won’t commit fraud, to guaranteeing a contractor will properly complete a construction job for a municipality. Check out our guide to learn more about how surety bonds work. If you’re still unsure whether you need a surety bond or fidelity bond insurance, please take a look at our bond insurance infographic guide.

Now that you understand the difference between fidelity bond insurance and surety bonds, you should be able to make educated decisions on how to protect and run a business with the correct bonds in place. As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Top 5 Freight Broker and Trucking Blogs

The past several months have been unpredictable and even stressful for many freight brokers due to the industry changes brought on by MAP-21. For a change of pace, we compiled a top 5 list of the blogs and resources to keep updated with freight and trucking industry news, equipment reviews and thoughts from real drivers on the road. We present you the “Top 5 Freight Broker and Trucking Blogs”.

 

top-5-freight-broker-blogs

#5: American Trucking Association

The American Trucking Association blog (ATA) is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Their website offers economic and safety updates affecting the trucking industry, and a variety of newsletters. The ATA also holds conferences around the country regarding education, policy discussion and more throughout the year.

#4: Dial-A-Truck

Dubbed the “original load board” DAT (Dial-A-Truck) and the DAT blog provides freight broker, carrier, driver and shipper news as well as supply and demand trends, forecasting and capacity planning. DAT also offers a weekly newsletter that provides freight and rate trends.

#3: Transport Topics

While this isn’t technically a blog, Transport Topics labels itself “the newspaper of trucking and freight transportation”. You can find their broad range of trucking and freight related articles on their website, as well as the print version of their magazine.

#2: Truckinginfo

Truckinginfo offers a selection of blogs with topics ranging from trucking industry updates to truck road tests. The All That’s Trucking blog provides industry news for drivers and fleet operators; and even maintenance advice. The Trailer Talk blog performs roads tests on a variety of trucks, but specializes in light and medium-duty, vocational and hybrids. The On the Road blog  provides expert advice and technical knowledge on equipment and applies real world experience to test drives.

#1: Overdrive Online

Overdrive Online also has a collection of three separate blogs on their website that covers a wide range of freight and trucking topics. The Overdrive Extra blog focuses on a large variety of trucking topics such as new gear releases, financial tips and on the road advice. The Channel 19 blog provides a wide range of owner-operator news and driver opinions. Lastly, the George and Wendy Show blog includes observations from Wendy Parker, who is new to the world of trucking and rides along her owner-operator husband George to report on their journeys.

If you have any freight and trucking resources that you find helpful, please feel free to leave a comment below to share.

How Do Bonds Work?

How do bonds work? This is a vague question that can be referring to many unrelated bond types. However, if you’re looking for a guide on how surety bonds such as license and permit, contract and court bonds work, or are looking for an explanation of how fidelity bond insurance works, you have come to the right place.

What Are Surety Bonds, and How Do They Work?

Surety bonds are guarantees and provide protection for the public. They are usually required by the government, but can also be required by private third parties. There are many types of surety bonds that provide a wide range of guarantees, such as ensuring a construction job will be completed properly, or guaranteeing an auto dealer will abide by the law while selling motor vehicles. If you would like more information on what it means to be bonded, please read our article about being bonded with surety bonds.

how-do-bonds-work

How Do License and Permit Bonds Work?

Let’s begin with how license and permit bonds work. They guarantee the terms of a business license will be followed, and are required by local, state or federal governments to get a license or permit for many occupations. To demonstrate how license and permits bonds work, we will use the common real world example of an auto dealer bond.

An auto dealer who wants to get their license to sell motor vehicles will likely have to get an auto dealer bond since these bonds are required in most states. The auto dealer bond guarantees the dealer will follow the terms of their license, along with any other applicable laws and regulations of the state. If the auto dealer breaks the rules, such as knowingly selling a defective vehicle to a customer, a claim can be filed on the auto dealer’s bond by the customer. The claim will be investigated by the surety company, and if found to be legitimate, the customer will be reimbursed by that company. However, the surety will go back to the auto dealer to recoup the claim they paid out.

There are also miscellaneous bonds, which are sometimes thought of as license and permit bonds, but they aren’t related to getting a license or permit at all. Like all surety bonds, miscellaneous bonds provide a variety of guarantees. For example, some states require health clubs to get a health club bond, which guarantees that if the gym is to close, any prepaid membership fees will be refunded. If the health club doesn’t refund prepaid membership fees, the same surety bond claim process will take place as described above. The customer will file a claim, the surety company will pay the claim (if it’s a legitimate claim) and then the surety company will go back to the health club for reimbursement.

As you can see, surety bonds protect the public, not the bond holder. To learn more about license, permit and miscellaneous bonds, please visit our license and permit bond center.

 


How Do Contract Bonds Work?

Contract bonds guarantee the terms of a contract will be followed, and are most often used to guarantee public construction jobs will be completed correctly. In order for a contractor to be considered to work on public projects, the contractor is required to get bid and performance bonds. When a contractor decides they want to work a on a public job, such as building a city bridge, they must first bid on the job using a bid bond. The bid bond guarantees the bid submitted by the contractor is accurate and complete.  If the contractor is the lowest bidder and awarded the project, the next step is to get a performance and payment bond.

Performance bonds guarantee work will be done according to the contract. Payments bonds are often joined together with performance bonds, and they guarantee that any laborers, suppliers and subcontractor will be paid. If the contractor performs faulty work, walks off the job or doesn’t pay subcontractors, a claim can be filed on the performance and payment bond. The surety company will investigate the claim, and if valid, will hire a new contractor to complete the project. The contractor who caused the claim isn’t off the hook because the surety company will go back to him for reimbursement.

Once again, surety bonds protect the public, not the person who is bonded. For more information on contract bonds, take a look at our contract bond center.    

 

How Do Court Bonds Work?

Court bonds guarantee that an individual or organization will fulfill their duties as ordered by the court. These duties vary depending on the specific type of court bond. For example, guardianship bonds guarantee a legal guardian of a minor or disabled person will manage their finances according to court orders. If the court orders aren’t followed and finances are mismanaged, a potential heir can file a claim directly with the surety company, or the court can be notified and handle the claim. In either case, if the claim is found to be valid, the surety company would pay any losses, and then go to the guardian for reimbursement. To learn more about court bonds, please visit our court bond hub.

How Do Public Official Bonds Work?

Our last surety bond category is public official bonds. They are often lumped together with license, permit and miscellaneous bonds, but are actually their own category. Public official bonds guarantee elected public officials such as treasurers, judges, mayors and sheriffs to name a few, will perform their responsibilities honestly and according to local or state laws.

If laws are broken and the public official causes financial loss, the local or state government can file a claim on the public official bond. Like with the other surety bond types, the surety company will investigate the claim and if legitimate, will repay the county any losses experienced. The surety company will then go back to the public official who caused the claim for reimbursement. For more information on public official bonds, please visit our public official bond general information page.

What Is Fidelity Bond Insurance, and How Does It Work?

Fidelity bonds are very different from surety bonds. They are a form of insurance that protect against employee dishonesty such as theft, and usually aren’t required by anyone. For example, if an employee of a cleaning business steals a customer’s personal property and there is a business services fidelity bond in place, a claim can be filed on the bond, but only if the employee who allegedly stole from the customer is convicted by a court of law.

The same goes for employee dishonesty fidelity bonds, which protect the employer from dishonest acts by their own workers. Once convicted, the claim can be paid out by the surety company who wrote the bond to reimburse the losses. For more information, read our in-depth article about what it means to be bonded with fidelity bonds. For information on all fidelity bond types, visit our fidelity bond center.

 


There are drastic differences between surety and fidelity bonds and how they work. A surety bond is a guarantee that protects the public, while fidelity bonds are not a guarantee, but an insurance policy that protects consumers against employee dishonesty. If you have any other questions about the world of bonds, please leave a comment below; we’d be happy to hear from you.

What Does It Mean To Be Bonded?

“Bonded”, “licensed and bonded”, and “bonded and insured” are all phrases you might see on the side of a contractor’s truck or on an auto dealer’s billboard. Business owners use these phrases for a marketing advantage over their competitors to show they are safe to do business with, but they all don’t necessarily mean the same thing.  So what does it mean to be bonded, and how does it translate to being safe to work with?

Bonded Occupations

Bonded With Surety Bonds

A company that’s bonded has one or both of two very different bond types, surety bonds or fidelity bonds. Let’s begin with surety bonds. When a company or individual is bonded with a surety bond, it guarantees they will fulfill the obligations of their profession, which vary drastically as there are hundreds of different surety bonds required of just about every type of occupation. If those obligations aren’t met, the surety bond guarantees any negligence by the bond holder will be made right. Surety bonds are required by third parties, often the government, of many professions to legally operate, such as mortgage brokers, telemarketers and contractors to name a few.

Let’s use a common real world example to explain what it means to be bonded with a surety bond. A contractor in California who wants to get a license is required by the state to get a contractor license bond. The bond guarantees the contractor will follow the terms and regulations of the license. When the contractor gets their surety bond, they can be issued a license. The surety bond guarantees that if the contractor breaks the terms of the license, such as failing to complete the job or correct defective work on a client’s home, the homeowner can be reimbursed if they file a claim on the contractor’s surety bond. Take a look at our video to learn more about bond claims. The main takeaway here is the surety bond is a guarantee obligations will be met and acts as protection for the public.

Bonded With Different Surety Bond Types

The bonded contractor scenario above used a license surety bond as an example. There are other types of surety bonds individuals may be referring to when they use the term “bonded”, such as contract bonds. Contract bonds guarantee terms of a contract will be fulfilled, and are required to work on public construction projects.

There are also court bonds, which guarantees an individual or organization will fulfill their obligations as ordered by law or the court. For more information on the surety bond types discussed above, take a look at our license and permit bond center, our contract bond catalog or our court bond center.

 


Bonded With Fidelity Bonds

A bonded company or individual can also have a fidelity bond, which serves a completely different purpose than surety bonds. Someone who is bonded with a fidelity bond gas a form of insurance which can protect both themselves and their clients against employee dishonesty such as theft. Unlike surety bonds, fidelity bonds don’t guarantee anything and are generally not required. A common real world example of a company that is bonded with a fidelity bond is a cleaning company, as they are often in clients’ homes to perform their job. If the cleaning company has a business services fidelity bond and an employee steals a client’s personal property, the fidelity bond can cover the losses.

Bonded With Different Fidelity Bond Types

There is also an employee dishonesty fidelity bond, which protects the business owner from employee dishonesty by their own workers. If you would like to learn more about fidelity bonds, visit our fidelity bond center. If you are unsure about whether you need a surety or fidelity bond, you can take a look at our bond insurance infographic for guidance.  

Hopefully this guide has provided a better understanding of what it means to be bonded as well as clarified the distinction between the various types of bonds. If you still have additional questions, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us directly.

3 Reasons to Start a Freight Broker Business in 2014

Thousands of freight brokers have felt the effects of MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) since it went into effect on October 1st, 2013; whether they had to adjust to new requirements or leave the freight broker business altogether. However, if you’ve ever considered starting a freight brokerage, this could be a great time to gear up and start your own business due to three reasons.

 

three-reasons-start-freight

Reason #1: Decreased Competition

If you choose to start a freight brokerage in 2014, you’ll be competing with a much smaller number of brokers in the industry. When you compare the active licensed freight brokers in the FMCSA database for this year and last, that number is down from about 21,000 in 2013 to approximately 13,700 in 2014; that’s a huge 34.8% decrease. The major cause for the surge of freight brokers leaving the industry are the increased requirements they must meet in order to operate legally.

Reason #2: Improving Economy

75k-guide

Although there is still room for improvement, the U.S. economy has recently shown slow and steady growth. Economic growth  is a great sign for anyone considering taking on the challenge of starting a small business, and may be just the incentive they need. It will be easier to get your business established in the current freight broker industry and economic conditions if you decide to start a freight brokerage in the near future.

Reason #3: Affordable $75K Surety Bond

Even though thousands of freight brokers had trouble finding a $75,000 surety bond with reasonable premiums and terms, programs do exist. There are affordable surety bond programs available to many current and aspiring freight brokers that don’t require huge premiums, thousands of dollars in collateral or require business financials which can cost thousands to have prepared. Whether you’re interested in starting a freight brokerage, or you’re a current broker who desperately wants to keep their license and stay in business, there are bond agencies that offer freight broker bonds at reasonable costs:

• A+ rated, Treasury-listed surety
• No collateral
• Lowest rates in the country
• Approvals with good or bad credit
• 99.9% approval rate

 

 

Apply for a freight broker bond directly on our website to get an instant approval.