Sometimes people won’t listen to solid advice unless it directly effects them. Unfortunately, some people simply need to learn the hard way before they make more sound decisions. This can be seen almost every time suretyship makes its way to the news. Since surety bonds are not the most exciting thing in the world, you typically only hear about them when there is a problem, especially when it comes to contract bonds.
The Westchester, New York School District is a prime example of city officials learning the importance of requiring bonds. In the article “Westchester Schools’ Dumping Deals Costly To Taxpayers”, the contractor hired to do the work never submitted a surety bond guaranteeing the work. The district allowed the contractor to begin work prior to submitting the bond. The end result was the contractor running out of funds and defaulting on the project. Had the job been secured by a bond, the surety could have hired another local company to complete the work.
Why would an obligee not require a bond? There are numerous reasons why, sometimes the government simply lets it slide by due to red tape. Often, private obligees and sometimes public, simply do not want the cost of the bond to be included with the bid and therefore do not require it. Sure this keeps costs down, if everything goes right that is. By that logic, there is no reason to have any type of insurance product at all. However, we all know gambling is not a wise decision if you plan on being fiscally responsible.
Tax payer should be pleased to hear that most articles found in the news regarding suretyship are situations where a bond was obtained. Jackson County, Indiana required a bid bond for the demolition of a building to make way for a new police station. The lowest bidder was unable to do the work at the amount submitted. The city attorney stated: “I am not sure how they think they could do this job with that low of an amount,” and “They might as well have written their bid proposal on a napkin and submitted it.”Â”. The Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Maryland, Colonial American Casualty and Surety Co., and Zurich American Insurance Co. had to assume control of a project for an addition to a Dallas courthouse after the contractor walked off the job.
Surety associations are making a great effort to show the private sector the importance and benefits of surety bonds. I do not know of any statistics regarding increases in surety requirements requested from the private sector. However, personally I have seen little difference. Hopefully businesses nationwide will open their eyes to the benefits of suretyship.