Blog – Info for Contractors!

Bonds help Monticello Get new Hotel

See some of this below for some information on how a bond can help Monticello get a new hotel. http://www.whittierdailynews.com/business/20160513/montebello-council-approves-bonds-construction-contract-for-new-hotel Montebello council approves bonds, construction contract for new hotel MONTEBELLO – A second hotel on the city-owned golf course is becoming closer to a reality after the City Council voted this week to approve the sale of up to $51 million in bonds to fund the project. The 203-room, eight-story Hilton Worldwide Home2 Suites hotel will be built on the site of the city-owned maintenance yard at 988 Via San Clemente. “This is a very important project for the city,” said Mayor Art Barajas at Wednesday’s meeting. “We will own the building and it will be a great benefit to our budget in the years to come.” The hotel is expected to generate more than $1 million to the city’s general fund each year, said City Manager Francesca Tucker-Schuyler. Some resident spoke out against the deal, however. “The Hilton is a big corporation,” resident Margot Eiser said. “Why should the city of Montebello borrow money to pay for their hotel?” A second hotel on the golf course generates money for the city, but all of that goes to pay off the 2002, $15 million bond that financed it, according to city officials. But Councilman Bill Molinari said this project will be different. “This is a project we spent a lot of time going over and it will be very beneficial to the city,” he said. “There was a very thorough feasibility study done.” The actual bond, which will be sold in July, could be for a lesser amount and will depend on what the actual costs turn out to be, said Michael Kramer, a financial advisor for the city. While the vote on the bond issue was 5-0, it was 3-0 with two abstentions on the $36.3 million construction contract awarded to KPRS of Brea. Councilman Bill Molinari abstained, complaining that KPRS was the only bidder and the city only allowed 10 days to pass for companies to bid on the contract after the request for proposals was sent out. “I don’t know anytime we’ve had [a request for proposals] that had that short of a time period,” Molinari said. “Generally speaking, you have 30 days for a smaller project, and for one of this size, 45 to 60 days is usual.” City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman said the time period was unusually short. But he defended the legality of the bidding process and noted that the developer was talking to other general contractors before the bid documents went out. “There were six (companies) consulted by the developer,” Alvarez-Glasman said. “All of the contractors had an opportunity to bid…but no one did.” Councilwoman Vanessa Delgado abstained because her brother works for KPRS.

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Performance bonds lead to business

You know, we spend a lot of time talking all of the dangers when it comes to surety bonds, like performance bonds.  However, I think that we sometimes don’t spend enough time talking about the benefits of a performance and payment bond.  Take the story from below.  Renaissance has three new contract, all of which have surety bond agreements in place.  This shows that they are a responsible company that can fulfill these agreements.  It gives a bunch of assurance for others, which has led to three good pieces of business. See more from the story below. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/renaissance-announces-signing-of-three-license-contracts-and-enters-into-surety-bond-agreements-2016-05-13 Renaissance Announces Signing of Three License Contracts and Enters into Surety Bond Agreements VANCOUVER, May 13, 2016 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — Renaissance Oil Corp. (“Renaissance” or the “Company”) (ROE) is pleased to announce the Company has executed twenty five year license contracts with the Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos (the “CNH”) for the Mundo Nuevo, Top�n and Malva blocks, located in Chiapas, Mexico which were awarded to the Company in the December 2015 “mature fields” auction. Renaissance has now entered into a 90 day transition period where the operations of these permits, collectively producing approximately 700 Bbls/day, will be transferred from Petróleos Mexicanos (“PEMEX”) to the Company. Renaissance is pleased to announce it has entered into three surety bond agreements with a global financial company in aggregate of approximately USD $8 million as required by the CNH towards the guarantee of performance of the minimum work programs. Successfully securing the surety bonds from a third party allows Renaissance to meet the financial requirements to execute the license contracts without committing the Company’s capital or the requirement of additional equity financing. Renaissance is currently designing an appraisal plan for submission to the CNH, for each of the three Mexico blocks, and expects to receive CNH approvals in the fourth quarter of 2016, after which, Renaissance will have one year to complete the minimum work programs. The Company expects the majority of the development activities of the minimum work programs will be conducted in 2017. “Establishing Renaissance as an early onshore producer achieves a key objective and will play a pivotal role in advancing the Company’s operations throughout Mexico’s underdeveloped hydrocarbon base”, stated Craig Steinke, Chief Executive Officer of Renaissance. ”The provisions of the surety bonds provide Renaissance significant financial flexibility with regards to the current properties and future acquisitions.” Renaissance has recently received notice from the CNH that the Company has become eligible to acquire the license for the Ponton Block from the December 2015 “mature fields” auction. Ponton is approximately 12 km(2) (2,965 acres) and although not currently in production, has produced approximately 800,000 barrels of light oil (34° API) to date. Renaissance has approximately four months to exercise the option to acquire the Ponton block. Renaissance is a growing energy company focused on acquiring and developing mature producing fields and unconventional opportunities in Mexico. Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian […]

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Surety Bonds – The most important tool you have never heard of

Being in the surety bond industry, we are very familiar with how surety bonds work. Heck, we are detail nerds when it comes to all types of bonds, including some pretty focused bonds, like fuel tax bonds. However, sometimes it is a good idea to remember that not everybody is as aware of surety bonds like we are. Below is an article from the Huffington post where they go through what surety bonds actually are and how they can protect your business. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toby-nwazor/surety-bonds-the-most-important-consumer-protection-tool-youve-never-heard-of_b_9885838.html Every time we read news about fraud or unethical business practices, the topic of consumer protection comes to the forefront. We all have different ideas about how the consumer can best be protected, but did you know that a very effective protection tool already exists, yet few people know about it? Enter Surety Bonds What is a Surety Bond? This is a regulatory requirement for a number of industries, among which automotive, construction, mortgage, freight and a lot more. Surety bonds are not just another empty guarantee, but are a legal binding agreement without which many businesses cannot operate and their specific purpose is to protect consumers. They can be compared to insurance, except that it is insurance for the public and not the business owner. Sounds interesting? Read on to find out more about surety bonds and why they are beneficial to both businesses and the public. How exactly do surety bonds help you? You probably don’t know it but when you are driving your car or enjoying a beautifully renovated park, you got surety bonds to thank. How so? Let’s say you go and buy a car from a dealer but it breaks down on the next day. Or you find out that the dealer has not disclosed all the information about it they are required by law. The surety bond that the car dealer had to post in order to get licensed can come into play. You have the right to file a claim and if your claim has grounds, the dealer is required to reimburse you. And what if the dealer refuses to pay or goes bankrupt? Surety bonds cover you in that scenario as well. Because the surety agreement is backed by a bonding company, that company has to reimburse you no matter what. A no less important instance of the protection surety bonds offer is during public construction projects. There is a special category of surety bonds required from a contractor selected for a particular job. In case they fail to execute it properly or go into default, the bonding company has to interfere. They can replace the contractor or help them financially, so they can finish the project or reimburse the project owner. Ever since 1894, when the Heard Act was passed, surety bonds have been required on most federally funded projects as a way to protect taxpayer money. Since then, a lot of different trades started being regulated through […]

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Probate Bonds – For All Estates

Prince’s death has left many of us in shock, including those of us in the surety bond industry.  We are accustomed to other not knowing everything about probate bonds, but it is sometimes a stark reminder that probate can come up on anybody, including the wealthy and famous. We offer probate bonds for all sorts of estates. http://www.startribune.com/prince-s-estate-highlights-the-value-of-creating-a-will/378423311/ Probate Is Needed When Prince died with no known will, many were shocked that a man who exercised so much control over his music and the rights to it ignored who would take over his estate. “He was such a private guy who fought for the rights to his music that you would think he would want to avoid a public battle in probate court,” said Mike Smith, a partner and estate planning attorney at Larkin Hoffman in Bloomington. Individuals who work with a lawyer to create a revocable trust can usually avoid probate court, where records are public knowledge. But if Prince, with a reported $100-million-plus estate, didn’t see the need for a will, what about us mere mortals? Do we really need a will? Financial planning experts say the taxes and financial hassle of probate ought to be enough to convince anyone, even those with average-sized estates. Dennis Bakken, 53, said several factors led him to an estate planner recently. His wife’s father died a year ago without a will, and the estate is just coming out of probate more than a year later. “My wife and I finally reached a tipping point. Yes, we’d rather buy a Harley, go shopping or go to the lake than do a will and trust,” he said. “It’s not fun or glamorous, but I expect a sense of peace when it’s done.” What are the consequences of dying without a will? Steve Helseth, a wills and trust attorney for Bolt Hoffer Boyd in Anoka, describes it as missed opportunities for control and assets, support for charities that can decrease a tax bill, and an avoidance of challenges to the estate by family members and oral contracts. “Like the guy in California claiming a $1 billion interest in Prince’s estate,” Helseth said. For the typical person, the worst consequence is siblings, spouses from second marriages and adult children elbowing for control. Laura Zwicker, an estate attorney with Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles, said that stars are really no different from the rest of us. “Their estate numbers are bigger, but it goes back to the something we can all relate to — our own mortality — and it’s hard to face that,” she said. Prince put himself in good company among celebrities who have died without a will — Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse and Pablo Picasso. More than half of Americans are believed to die without a will. And nearly 40 percent of those with investable assets of $1 million or more have not established an estate plan, according to a survey of 750 millionaires conducted last year by Spectrem […]

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Protecting yourself from Home Repair Rip-offs

There are many bonds that exist.  These bonds are around to help you keep your risk down.  What a bond does is protect you from contractors that are unwilling, or simply unable, to perform the job that is contracted. See below for some tips on how to spot a home repair rip-off and protect yourself. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trulia/i-was-scammed-how-to-spot_b_9830730.html How to spot a Home Repair Rif-Off Imagine: You’re having lunch and a contractor knocks on your door. He has extra driveway sealant left over from a job around the corner and offers it to you at a discount. Your driveway could use a refresh, so you agree. He “seals” your driveway, and then one rainfall later, it washes away. Clearly, that wasn’t leftover sealant, and you just spent hundreds of dollars on what was essentially watered-down black paint. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for homeowners from Boca Raton, FL to Seattle, WA to find themselves in a similar predicament. Because of the nature of home repair work, horror stories are more commonplace than you might think: If you’re often running off word-of-mouth recommendations, there’s no paper trail, and it’s frequently one person’s word against another’s. But there are steps you can take to avoid entering a work agreement with shady repairmen and contractors. “There is a difference between a scammer and substandard work,” explains Katherine Hutt, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau (BBB). “Scammers will take off with your money without ever completing the job, while substandard work is just that: substandard.” To avoid encountering either, heed these words of advice to avoid contractor fraud and being a home repair scam victim. Rule 1: Always have a contract Sure, maybe you’re an honest, legitimate, my-word-is-my-bond type of person. But let’s face it: there are plenty of people out there who aren’t. That’s all the more reason a written contract is recommended — preferably not written on a napkin or scrap piece of paper — regardless of how many friends, family members, or co-workers swear by a contractor’s work. “Verbal agreements do not supersede a written contract,” explains Hutt. “Make sure it’s in writing.” No contract? You risk an experience like Vicki Glembock’s. The Westmont, NJ, homeowner skipped the contract and hired a neighborhood handyman to shave off the bottom of a cabinet to make room for a larger fridge. “He came, took the cabinets down, and left with them to do the work in his shop,” Glembock explains. “A month went by. I called him, and he said he needed to take another measurement, came back, and then left. Again, nothing for a month. Finally, I called again, and within a day or two, I came home one day to find the cabinet sitting on our front porch. He had cut off the bottom in such a way that we couldn’t attach doors. So he just left it there. No note. No mea culpa. Nothing. I ended up fixing them myself and buying new doors.” Rule 2: Research your contractor Afton Campbell, a […]

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E&O Insurance versus a Surety Bond

There are many surety bonds that exist.  Some of these bonds are in some serious niche industries.  However, a good surety bond can really reduce the amount of risk to your company.  These risk mitigators, along with specific types of insurance, can be really beneficial to your overall financial well being. See the article below for some good advice on the difference between a surety bond and E&O Insurance. How Protected Is Your Business? Learn How to Safeguard It With Bonds and E&O Insurance How Protected Is Your Business? Learn How to Safeguard It With Bonds and E&O Insurance When I first started my freelance career, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake (didn’t we all?). Once I got into the thick of things I noticed that every question I received an answer to only caused me to ask 10 more questions. Sound familiar? This is commonplace for anyone going into business for the first time. One of the most confusing things for me in the beginning was understanding what it meant to be “bonded and insured”–or at least the difference between being “bonded” and being “insured.” I knew of both, thanks to my business career, but did not fully understand each until later on in my freelance career. I have to admit, I had both a surety bond and insurance (errors and omissions insurance, or EOI for short) before I fully understood the purpose of each one. Thankfully, I have never had to use either, but will continue to have them in order to protect myself and my business. Hopefully I will be able to help you out here by providing my understanding of each. So What Is a Surety Bond? Lucky me. Years ago I received a job inside a new government agency and was given the keys to the castle. Only problem? I had no blueprints, instructions, or anything to go on. Hell, I wasn’t even sure where the front door to the castle was. I won’t bore you with my job description, or make you feel sorry for me for working long hours. I’ll simply let you know that my agency needed a notary to assist with what we were doing. Again, lucky me, I got to become a public notary. I figured I just needed to complete a simple form and I would be good to go, right? WRONG! One thing about business you learn from the start is that government involvement is always accompanied by mountains of paperwork. My “simple form” turned out to be several pages of questions, personal information, and a checklist for additional forms needed to accompany my application. One of those additional forms? You guessed it. A surety bond. I had no idea what one was or why I needed it, other than the fact it was on the list of items I had to turn in with my application. My company paid for my bond and off I went to turn in my application. I […]

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How to avoid a bond claim for an auto dealer bond

There are many types of surety bonds that exist out there.  Some of these bonds are in some serious niche industries, such as the auto dealer niche.  Like all other types of surety bonds, these bonds can have claims on them, which will require the auto dealer to pay back the surety.  So, instead of getting a claim made on the bond and then having to come up with extra money to pay the surety back, it is a much better idea to have a compliance system in place to avoid the claim in the first place. See the article below for some good ways to avoid a bond claim for an auto dealer bond. http://wardsauto.com/dealer/how-auto-dealers-can-avoid-bond-claims How Auto Dealers Can Avoid Bond Claims Even if you’ve never faced the threat of a claim against your auto dealer bond, learning what may bring about such a claim – and how to fight one if it does come – is an essential part of protecting your business. You may already be bonded, but that only means you’ve fulfilled your legal requirement: a bond claim can still be ruinous. Fortunately, there are several relatively simple things that can prevent claims from being filed and ensure any unwarranted claims successfully are fended off. That process starts with understanding what a surety bond is. The first step is getting a firm grip on what we mean by a bond claim. Dealers are legally required to obtain a surety bond to obtain a dealer license. But what do you really know about that bond you purchased? In essence, the surety bond is a legally mandated insurance you purchase for your customers. It protects them against you, not the other way around. The guarantee of the bond is to pay any claims brought by customers against your dealership. One important thing to understand is this doesn’t mean a bond claim is no big deal because money is already set aside – far from it. Ultimately, if a claim goes through, you’ll still need to pay it: the bond simply covers the cost in the short term. Furthermore, if a claim is found to be valid, you are unlikely to be able to get bonded again. That means you’re liable to lose your dealer license and your business in the process. The most important thing you must do to protect yourself is to be aware of the circumstances that can bring a claim against your dealership. This means becoming very familiar with all relevant state and local regulations pertaining to dealing with customers. Ensuring you operate within all of these regulations is the best way to prevent claims from being filed. However, it still doesn’t guarantee protection. Many claims filed against bonded businesses are unfounded. If an unfounded claim is filed, several things become important, including your bonding agency. If the agency issuing your bond didn’t underwrite the bond itself, it may not be involved in the claims process. If, however, the bond was obtained through an agency […]

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