If you are reading this, you have undoubtedly been affected by Covid-19 and its impact on the economy. Some business have thrived, most have struggled, but all have been impacted. We’ll discuss how to obtain surety bonds during a difficult time like the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are a public works contractor, your bond program may have also been affected. Why? With uncertainty and an economy heading into recession, surety companies have already adjusted their underwriting criteria. This means more stringent underwriting resulting in tougher requirements in order to obtain bonding. In other cases it means surety companies will eliminate bond programs for long time customers. At Surety1, we are ready for this change. In this article we’ll discuss what you should be doing to ensure your bond program is not interrupted.
In bonding, communication is critical. Surety companies appreciate communication, both positive and negative. It not only shows you understand the value of your surety/contractor partnership, but also that you have taken the time and consideration to look into the impacts the coronavirus is having or could have on your business. At the very least it is nice to talk to someone about the challenges and successes you are having through this difficult time.
Be prepared to answer questions that normally wouldn’t be asked. What impact has the coronoavirus had on your operations? What impacts on your labor, your subcontractors, suppliers? Have you applied and been granted the Paycheck Protection Program loan? What financial impact have you experienced? What measures have you taken to address this new reality? These are all common place surety questions these days. Be prepared to answer these questions in detail. Give your answers thought and consideration. They are not only valid questions, but they show your seriousness as a business owner and leader.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is an SBA loan that can become forgive able for those using it to keep employees. Today, April 27, 2020, Congress passed $310 billion in additional funding. If you haven’t already applied call your local banker right away to apply. The potential influx of cash will help to keep your surety bond program uninterrupted. To learn more about this program, we recently wrote a blog about the details of the program. Click here to read.
Your surety professional should not be an insurance agent that write surety as a compliment. A true surety professional is one that primarily writes surety bonds. A surety professional communicates daily with surety underwriters, CPAs, bankers, and other important pieces of a contractor’s operation to best handle difficult times. Many sureties have changed their underwriting profile, eliminated surety program all together, or at the very least have tightened their criteria for obtaining surety credit. A surety professional will navigate these changes so your bond program is not interrupted.
Sharpen Your Proverbial Pencil
The coronavirus has turned our economy upside down and will likely lead to a recession. Nobody knows how long it will last, or what the short and long term impacts will be. One reality of a recession is that it presents an opportunity for many businesses. Unfortunately some business will fail, but many will weather the storm and put itself in a position to capitalize on opportunities. Use this time to “sharpen your business pencil.” Some examples would be to reduce unnecessary expenses, invest in your team’s well being, improve internal controls, improve estimating and project management practices, among others. Not only does improving better prepare a business in the short run, you will come out of a recession in a better long term position.
If you are uncertain about the state of your surety program, call us for a surety bond consultation at 877-654-2327.