Bail Agent Insurance Minnesota Policy Information
Bail Agent Insurance Minnesota. Many people who come into trouble with the law don't have the means necessary to post their own bail. In order to secure their release, these individuals often turn to a bail bondsmen agent.
A MN bail agent provides surety bonds to persons who have been arrested and must appear in court later to face the charges against them. Bail agents are licensed by state insurance departments and usually represent one or more surety companies. These agents can issue bonds within the guidelines established for them by each surety.
When an individual is arrested, the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution requires that bail be set by the court so the individual can stay out of jail while awaiting trial. Bail can be denied for capital crimes if the individual is a flight risk, or for other significant reasons. The amount of bail can be paid in cash or by pledging owned assets to the court. The bail amount is returned to the individual after all court proceedings have concluded and the individual has appeared as required.
If the individual does not appear as required, the bail amount becomes the property of the court. If an accused or their family cannot afford to provide the bail amount, they can purchase a surety bond from a bail agent.
The agent will post the bond on behalf of the accused and charge a nonrefundable fee of 10% of the bond amount for the service. If the individual does not appear at scheduled court proceedings, the surety company pays the bond amount to the court and the bail agent reimburses the surety company.
In many states, the bail agent has a great deal of latitude in the methods used to guarantee that the individual appears as required. The individual or their family may be required to provide collateral that is held by the bail agent until all court ordered obligations are met. If the accused does not appear as required, the bail agent may hire a recovery agent (bounty hunter) to find the individual and return him or her to the authorities.
Bail bond agents post bail for those who are detained after receiving a fee or other form of collateral from a defendant or his or her family or friends. In return, you cover the remaining amount that the defendant owes the court should the defendant fail to appear. But how do bail bond agents serve as a surety for the defendants that they represent and answer for countless dollars in bail without going out of business or running into legal trouble themselves? The answer: insurance.
If you're thinking about going into the bail bond business, carrying the right type of insurance is crucial; not only does bail agent insurance Minnesota protect your business, but it also protects you in the event that the defendants that you are acting as a surety for do skip their bail.
Bail agent insurance Minnesota protects your bail bonds business from lawsuits with rates as low as $97/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Insurance is Crucial For Bail Bond Agents
Owning and operating any type of business is risk; but for bail bondsmen agents, the risk is particularly high. Despite the fact that you charge your clients a nonrefundable fee or collect collateral from them, there's always a chance that they will skip out on their bail and fail to appear in court. If that happens, you are liable and will be responsible for paying the court the remaining amount that the defendant you served as a surety for owes.
Depending on the number of people you post bail for and the amount of people who fail to appear in court, you could be responsible for millions of dollars. If you don't have insurance, you will have to pay the courts out of your own pocket. In other words, insurance protects you from potentially crippling financial damages should your clients fail to uphold their end of the bargain.
There are other aspects of your business that you need the protection of insurance for, too; the commercial property you operate your bail bondsmen business out of, the staff that you employ, the clients and vendors that you work with... There are so many issues that can arise that could result in serious financial hardship if you don't have the right type of bail agent insurance Minnesota coverage.
What Type Of Insurance Do Bail Bond Agents Need?
The specific types of bail agent insurance Minnesota coverage that bail bondsmen agents need to carry depends on a variety of factors; where their business is located, the number of clients they represent, and the size of the company are just a few of the factors that will affect the type of insurance bail bondsmen require. However, regardless of the specifics of your business, most MN bail agents will need to carry the following coverages:
- Bail Insurance Coverage - In most states, bail bondsmen agents are required to prove that they have the means available to pay for any bail bonds that may be forfeited. That's where bail insurance comes in. Basically, bail insurance acts as a bigger bond that serves as proof to a court that you, the bail agent, can back the bonds that you write for defendants.
- Commercial General Liability - This type of coverage protects you from any third party personal injury or property damage claims. For example, if a client slips and falls on the premises of your office, sustains an injury, and files a lawsuit, commercial general liability insurance will pay for any related medical care that the individual needs, as well as the legal fees that are associated with the lawsuit.
- Commercial Property Insurance - With this type of insurance, the physical structure of your business, as well as the contents within it, will be covered from various types of damages, such as fire, water, or storm damage, as well as vandalism and theft. If someone were to break into your office and steal any of your property, for example, commercial property insurance would pay for any repairs that your building needs, as well as the cost of replacing anything that was stolen.
There are other coverages to consider, the best thing to do is to speak to a commercial insurance broker to help you find the right package to protect your operations.
MN Bail Bondsmen's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures are moderate as clients may visit the bond agent's premises. They must be kept in customer waiting areas and designated conference areas to prevent them from overhearing conversations regarding other clients' confidential information. Flooring must be in good condition, with no frayed or worn spots on the carpet and no cracks or holes. Exits must be sufficient in number, be well marked, and have backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls.
Courts may deem the security of visitors in parking areas to be the responsibility of the owner or operator of the premises. Factors affecting the risks include the exterior lighting, fencing, and any other security measures in place. The off-site exposure may be extensive as agents may travel to courtrooms, prisons, or clients' homes to negotiate contract terms. Policies concerning employee conduct should be established with periodic training provided.
Whether on premises or off, client transactions may be difficult due to emotions surrounding the circumstances for needing bail. Personal injury exposures include assault, battery, libel and slander, and invasion of privacy. Prisoner recovery presents a very unusual exposure from a personal injury standpoint. Although there is considerable latitude in the tactics that can be used in recovery activities, there are still civil protections for innocent parties that might be injured accidentally. If subcontracted recovery agents (independent bounty hunters) are used, certificates of insurance should be obtained.
Workers compensation exposures include the office, jail, and court exposures. Office exposures include ergonomic concerns such as eye strain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. As many bail agents operate on a cash-only basis, the potential for hold-up due to the money on premises can be high. Clients may threaten and physically attack employees.
Procedures to avoid and prevent confrontations must be in place. If the bail agent engages in recovery operations, the exposure increases. Subcontractors used for recovery operations should be required to provide certificates of insurance for workers compensation coverage.
Property exposures are often limited to that of an office. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems. The considerable storage of customers' records adds to the fire load. Coverage on the property of others is needed as bail agents often hold property of others in their care, custody, and control as collateral for the bonds written. This property must be maintained in its original condition and returned to its owner once the trial is concluded.
Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty and theft of money and securities. Hazards increase without proper background checks, separation of duties, and monitoring procedures. Bail agents may conduct business at all hours of the day or night, so large amounts of cash can accumulate on premises. While many accept only cash for their fees and services, a few of the larger firms now accept credit card and installment payment plans.
Inland marine exposures consist of accounts receivable if the agent offers credit, computers, and valuable papers and records for customers and court records. The agent should keep valuable papers and disks in fireproof file cabinets to protect them from smoke, water, and fire. Power failure and power surges can result in large losses to critical documents. Duplicates must be made and kept off site. Blank bonds are particularly valuable; access must be controlled to prevent unauthorized use.
Business auto exposures may be limited to hired and non-owned for travel to and from the court, jail, or to monitor client activities. If vehicles are furnished to the agents, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All employee drivers should have valid licenses with their MVRs regularly checked. All owned vehicles must be regularly maintained with records retained.
If vehicles are used in recovery operations, the exposure increases substantially due to the necessity of quickly changing directions during an attempted apprehension and the presence of children or other bystanders. All drivers involved in apprehensions should be required to take emergency maneuvering courses.
Bail Agent Insurance
To find out exactly what type of bail agent insurance Minnesota you need and how much coverage you should carry, speak to a reputable insurance agent as soon as possible.
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An insurance contract is an agreement where one party obligates itself to make good the financial loss or damage sustained by a second party when a designated event occurs. The event must be fortuitous and happen by accident. The named insured must have insurable interest at the time of loss. One final point is that in order for any contract to be considered insurance, there must be a risk of loss.
Fortuitous Event - An occurrence largely beyond the control of any involved party; happening by chance; accidental; for example: fire, lightning, windstorm, explosion or flood.
Insurable Interest - In order to recover from a loss to property, the holder must have an insurable interest in the property at the time of the event or occurrence. An insurable interest is any right, title or interest in property where the holder of that right, title or interest sustains financial loss if the property is damaged or destroyed. Any lawful and substantial economic interest in the safety or preservation of the property from loss, destruction or damage also constitutes an insurable interest.
An entity does not have to be the property owner to have an insurable interest in it. Examples include, but are not limited to, mortgagees, trustees, vendors, lessees and bailees. Insurable interest for any entity must exist at the time the loss occurs.
Risk Of Loss - If property could never be destroyed, there is no risk of loss. If property must necessarily disintegrate or be destroyed, there is no risk of loss. Between these two extremes is the exposure of risk that can be insured.
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