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Although Missouri Bondsman encourages debate on topics of interest to the bail industry, please be aware that comments are moderated. Please observe the posting rules. No comments will be printed that contain spam, profanity, or libelous comments. Please post comments in a civil, professional manner.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Website Poll

For those of you who read Missouri Bondsman by email or feed reader, now is your chance to interact. Missouri Bondsman is hosting a poll on a proposal to increase the general agent’s assigned CD to $25,000 and to also require a $5,000 CD per agent working under a general agent’s authority. You can visit Missouri Bondsman to register your vote.

For those of you who have asked for a forum to discuss the issue, here’s how you can register your thoughts. Click on the “COMMENT HERE” link below this post. You can post by several log in IDs or post using your name, or anonymously. Comments are moderated for profanity or spam. There are pros and cons to any proposal, so if you have thoughts you would like to share, let the rest of the bail bond community know how you feel.

UPDATE: Please observe the posting rules. Although Missouri Bondsman encourages debate on topics of interest to the bail industry, please be aware that comments are moderated. No comments will be printed that contain spam, profanity, or libelous comments. Participatory democracy works, please do so in a civil, professional manner.

24 comments:

  1. Mo Bondsman...who wants the law changed? is this mpbba or somebody else

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  2. DOUGLAS MEEKS1/26/2009 5:39 PM

    I THINK IT IS THE NO GOOD CROOKED BAIL AGENTS AND GENERAL AGENTS THAT ARE THE ONES WHO WOULD WANT SUCH A PROPOSAL TO PASS. AND AS USUAL IT IS ONLY TO THIER BENEFIT TO TRY TO PASS SUCH A THING AND TRY TO WEED OUT THE REAL BAIL AGENTS AND GENERAL AGENTS THAT ARE NOT ROBBING THE PUBLIC OR CORRUPTING,OR BRIBING THE JAILS OR JUDICIAL SYSTEMS.I HAVE WITNESSED THIS CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY PERSONALLY WITH MY OWN EYES.

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  3. Dear Anon,

    First let me be clear, this is not sponsored legislation, but an idea that has been suggested by some in the industry. The proposal is not endorsed by MPBBA or any other association or group that I know of. I have not editorialized on the issue, but would rather engage the industry on your individual thoughts on the pros and cons of this proposal. Please take the time to organize your thoughts and let us hear from you.

    Angela Park
    MO Bondsman

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  4. Even though I feel restrictions should be tighter, the 25,000 and 5,000 is a bit much. Besides placing a burdon on smaller companies and the ones doing it right, the only thing it might do is slow down the number of mindless drones being hired by the larger and insurance backed companies.The ones that write anyone with a pulse. Mike

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  5. Sounds just like anything else the insurance industry does,
    "make it harder for the small guy to operate" just to eliminate the competition,not to improve the business.

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  6. In my opinion this idea is worth very little. I think it should either be left alone or the assignment ought to be at least $200,000. The unsatisfied judgments that have caused companies to merely close shop and re-open under some other name are usually on bigger bonds.These are the kind of acts that have given the industry a bad name with some courts. $200,000 would solve this problem.

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  7. Dave Strassner1/27/2009 8:55 AM

    I assume the thought behind this proposal is to weed out unsavory agents. The $5000.00 theory is full of unanswered 'what-if's'. I have never seen a problem solved by randomly throwing money at it. The people that would have to struggle with 5000 are not the problem. Maybe generals should be held partially liable for agent's unsavory practices. That might entice generals to get rid of problems and not just enjoy the money these problem agents make for them.

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  8. I don't think this idea is going to help this industry. I suppose the thought is to weed out the bad or criminal agents through finanial means, as we all know this does not work(regardless of the amount imposed they will come up with it). I am sure there are some parts of the state that the business is very lucrative, but for the vast majority of us investing 25,000 we would not see a quick return of that money. This idea does not address any type of acountability, it seems to be a form of punishment for the smaller business's.

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  9. As a General Agent, I would not support this kind of legislation. To me this would benifit no one. A agent can either pay a forfiture or they can't. Most of the ones who can't do not last very long anyway.
    This proposal I am sure would be welcomed by the insurance companies and half the MPBBA who write for insurance companies.
    This industry has long been self destructive due to a few companies and thier business practices. From companies and agents who premium write, finance and payment options, to sending out rebate letters to defendants.
    I would just like to see the DIPF simply enforce the laws already on the books and maybe see an indipendant bondsman association form to combat all the continuous efforts by some, who keep introducing uneeded legislation every year.

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  10. Stricter guidelines would definately weed out the generals that employee the unsavory agents, however, I see many generals imposing the agents pay the 5000.00, making if a bit difficult for agents in smaller areas to stay in business. Maybe the DPI should just ENFORCE the guidelines and restrictions already set in place. Why keep issuing licenses to generals and agents that do NOT meet the state requirements

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  11. I'm not sure of the intent behind this idea but it seems to me that it addresses Generals and not bad agents. The Mo Supreme court has ruled that surety must be financilly solvent, meaning, have enough assets to cover all debt, outstanding bonds, and the bond for which you are about to write. Bogus financial satements and judges reports are the problem here. requiring $25,000 as apposed to $10,000 does little to correct this problem. A truly solvent General should be able to easily move this money and cause no burden.
    Maybe Generals should keep the $10,000 assignment for Insurance backed Companies and a much higher amount for property bond companies, say $250,000 or $250,000.

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  12. Using higher deposit requirements would be an attempt to limit competition by generals being challenged by the new guy. If the new guy is a problem he is forced out of business by current statutes. Good Luck.

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  13. It seems to me it is almost always agents from the larger insurance backed companies hiring the felons and crooks.The smaller property backed business is usually more careful and keeps a tighter reign on his agents, simply because he is his own backer and doesn't want to lose his livelyhood. Alot of these small companies are families and have pooled their resources to conduct business, they have more at stake and will keep each other operating legally and with reason.We should judge a company or agents by their history not with random "fixes".

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  14. an idea it maybe however what is the thought behind the idea. To make it harder for the good and weed out the bad--There is other ways to do that without forcing the reputable out of business. How about enforcing the laws already on the books, just that alone will weed out many of the bad. Why alienate this industry even more in Jefferson City?

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  15. The idea in question would simply be a stepping stone for the larger Generals, companies and insurance companies to put the smaller individually owned companies out of business and just make them bigger and stronger.
    Why should myself and other General agents who operate relatively small companies be penalized for actions of others when we have never had unsatisfied judgments or complaints.
    I have done my part in Jefferson City before to kill new legislation that would do us more harm than good, and I will do it again. The smaller companies like me, need to pay attention to whats going on, while we are still in business.

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  16. Does anyone know what other states requirements are?

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  17. As a small family agent/company, teh only thing a rule like this would simply put me out of business. Writing enough bonds now to pay my bills is a struggle. I have a hard enough time making my mortgage (sp) payment. There is no way I could come up with $5,000.00 to be able to write bonds. I would be very interested to know where or who came up with this idea. Was it the Dept. of Insurance, or was it someone else. Maybe the same people who were trying to make it so that THEY were the only ones who could qualify a person to be a bondsman. Curious!

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  18. To the person who asked what other states' requirements are:

    Here is a link to summaries of state bail laws:
    http://www.americanbailcoalition.com/new_html/STATELAWS.htm

    Although these are brief summaries, you can then review individual state laws at the state's site for a more comprehensive review. You will find that the laws vary considerably from state to state. Some states have no licensing provisions at all, some states require property bondsman to qualify with the local court, some states have only insurance backed bonds.

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  19. This is just another chapter. I have been watching this industry for 20 years. Every body is looking for an angle or a hook. Seems to me someone is just trying another ploy. You new guys might as well get used to it.....nice guys aren't bondsmen. There will be another move, in another direction, next month.

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  20. I don't mean to offend anyone here, but several of you state that you don't have the money that this would require or furthermore have the money to pay your bills. So my question is should these people be allowed to write a $25K/$50K or even a $10K bond? If the bond were to go bad, sounds like you might be out of business. Is this really a bad idea or is it about the money?

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  21. Thats correct, I am a small company and I support that idea. It is too easy for some fly by night company to start up with 10,000 and make over 10 times that in a year then run it into the ground. These courts are getting tired of sending all these judgments to Jeff City only to split up 10,000 between them. Well short of what should be paid. Soon they will just say screw it and go 10% cash. Then we will all be out of business.
    If you cant come up with 15,000 more to add to your CD you have no business writing any bond over 1000.

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  22. The last few years have brought about a lot of changes in the bail bond business, many have not been for the better. Since 2005 we now allow convicted felons to become bail bondsmen. Television shows like “Dog the Bounty Hunter”, “Family Bonds” and several others have been responsible for a growing public awareness of our profession and an influx of a great number of people into the business. The fierce cut throat competition amongst many of these newcomers has been a real boon for the criminal. Persons in jail can now shop for the best deal, seeking out that new inexperienced bondsman that will get them out of jail for a reduced fee, no money down, and with a firm handshake instead of a qualified cosigner. The problem is that when you write a bond you are in effect lending money, and to a criminal to boot. These same inexperienced bondsmen are surprised when the promised payments don’t arrive, the client fails to appear in court, and the cosigner (if there is one) is unable to pay when judgment is finally entered on the bond. The first 18 months to 2 years these new bondsmen are in business (before the forfeitures begin to come in) they believe they have found the cash cow or goose that lays the golden egg, forgetting that they are really dealing with thieves, con artists, drug users and dealers, burglars, and rapists, child molesters and many other unsavory individuals. They haven’t learned the lesson that for every dollar you are supposed to make on a bond you pay out ten if the bond goes belly up.
    Traditionally the best bondsmen have been the small mom and pop companies, those general agents who are property qualified and maybe have one or two agents working under them. They are in court every time it is in session checking to see if their clients showed up, calling clients the night before reminding them and then picking them up and surrendering them immediately for a FTA. These bondsmen know their clientele and rarely deal with risky unknown individuals. They aren’t trying to get rich in the business, just trying to make a living. Recently an agent of a new company wrote a $750,000.00 with a few hundred dollars down and a house trailer for collateral. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if the bond goes bad they won’t be collecting the money from the cosigner. It is irresponsible bond writing like this that is causing the problems in our business.
    I don’t believe the answer to the problems in our industry is to raise the deposit from $10,000.00 to $25,000.00 with an additional $5,000.00 for each agent employed by the company. The laws are in place right now to cure the problem but the courts are not electing to utilize them. Missouri Revised Statute 374.759.3 states “ All Missouri licensed bail bond agents or licensed general agents shall be qualified, without further requirements, in all jurisdictions of this state, as provided in rules promulgated by the supreme court of Missouri and not by any circuit court rule.” Missouri Supreme Court rules 33. 17 through 20 specifically outline those rules and requirements and further state that they are to be delivered to each court that the general agent wants to do business in by the 1st day of each month. In lieu of that these packets have to be attached to each and every bond that is written and approved on a case by case basis. No where does it say that general agents no longer have to provide proof of their qualifications as a surety.
    The $10,000.00 assignment and meeting all the other statutory requirements for a general bail bond license merely qualifies an individual for the license. It does not in any way prove the person solvent enough to act as a surety on a bond. Raising the assignment to $25,000.00 wouldn’t either. What it would do is unfairly affect the small mom and pop shops that historically have had the best track records in the business. If a general agent has 5 licensed agents working under his or her authority, the general agent would have to have $50,000.00 tied up that could not be touched, drawing a mere 1 to 1.5% interest. Now if the state would agree to guarantee 6% it would be a little more attractive.
    I believe the answer to the problem can be found by doing the following things.

    1. All circuit courts should go back to requiring qualifications packets be submitted each month. Then they should review them to determine if the surety is solvent and eligible to write bonds that month.
    2. Enact a law requiring that bondsmen charge a minimum of 10% of the face amount of the bond.
    3. Enact a law prohibiting bondsmen from extending credit in lieu of payment of the 10% fee.
    4. On all bonds $50,000.00 or larger Judges would have to individually review and approve the surety, his collateral and cosigners before the bond could be written.
    5. General agents should limit the size of the powers of attorney they give to their agents instead of giving them powers with a blank denomination that the agent fills in as he writes the bond. It never ceases to amaze me that a General Agent will give a new inexperience agent several hundred thousand dollars worth of powers of attorney. They might as well have the agents name added to his credit card, checking account and savings, it couldn’t be much more irresponsible. Finally General agents should get personally involved on all bonds over $10,000.00

    I believe there are plenty of bonds to go around as we have no shortage in criminals. The key lies in smart bond writing. A very few are giving all of us a bad reputation and are affecting our livelihoods. Bail is essential for the preservation of our right to Due Process. The more we mess with the laws, the more confusing and constricting they become. In the final analysis the Federal government has been very careful indeed about enacting laws that would restrict bondsmen. In an 1803 United States Supreme Court Case titled “Nicolls vs. Ingersoll” Justice Thompson who rendered the opinion of the court state “It is important for the very safety and security of bail that a bondsmen’s rights be liberally construed”. Enforcing laws that are now on the books and cleaning up vague and confusing language would go a long way toward getting us back on track.

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  23. I AM A NEW AGENT IN THE BUSINESS AND ALREADY SINCE NOVEMBER OF 2008 MY BONDING HAS BEEN A TOTAL LOSS. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO HARD WORKING FAMILIES WITH 5 PLUS SMALL CHILDREN IN THE HOME WHEN SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT STRUGGLE DAILY WITH FINANCES DECIDES ONE DAY TO MAKE YOU PAY TO TRY TO PUT FOOD ON YOUR TABLE.

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  24. great ideal i am all for it.

    ReplyDelete

Although Missouri Bondsman encourages debate on topics of interest to the bail industry, please be aware that comments are moderated. Please observe the posting rules. No comments will be printed that contain spam, profanity, or libelous comments. Please post comments in a civil, professional manner.

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