Pursuing Business With ‘Risky’ Accounts

Prevailing business wisdom holds that the way to reduce credit risk is to limit credit lines, be stingy in allowing credit and freeze orders on past due accounts. This line of thought posits that it is generally impossible to lower “bad debt” losses without adverse consequences to sales and business expansion. Read The Full Story »

Fleet ManagementMore Like This

Distracted driving is a serious problem on the road. It also is a major concern for businesses with fleets of vehicles that want to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents and control expenses. Recent statistics about distracted driving related to the use of cell phones and texting are particularly alarming: Continue »

Fleet ManagementMore Like This

Distracted driving results from drivers’ attention being taken off the task at hand—driving safely. Distracted driving clearly includes dialing or talking on a cell phone (even hands-free) and texting, emailing, or accessing other smartphone or Internet-based features. Yet most employers do not have a long-standing “distracted driving” policy, but rather have just a “hands-free” mobile device use policy, if there is a policy in place at all. Continue »

SafetyMore Like This

The first step in creating a cell phone policy is to know the law on cell phone use and texting. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety maintains a current list of cell phone and texting laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Eleven states ban hand-held cellphone use while driving. Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 41 states and the District of Columbia. However, texting while driving is not prohibited in Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas. Continue »

Fleet ManagementMore Like This

According to National Crime Information Bureau (NCIB), as much as $1 billion a year is lost nationwide due to theft of construction equipment and tools–and the recovery rate is less than 20 percent. The cost of stolen equipment goes beyond the cost of replacement. Contractors may need to move equipment from other locations to meet jobsite demands. Time spent filing police and insurance reports costs staff time, and if the equipment is used in a crime or damages personal property, the contractor may be liable. Continue »

Surety BondingMore Like This

The contractor and surety relationship is a very important partnership. The surety puts its credit behind the contractor, known in the surety world as the principal, allowing the contractor to bid on public works and other construction projects. During the underwriting process, the surety determines whether the contractor has the capital, capacity and character to support a bonding line, sometimes called surety credit. Continue »

GC Liability InsuranceMore Like This

Until recently, North Dakota law stated faulty workmanship is never “accidental” and, therefore, a construction defect could never be a covered “occurrence” under Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies. In April, the North Dakota Supreme Court overturned that law, ruling that faulty construction can be accidental. On June 18, 2013, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals did the same thing, overruling three prior cases on its way to holding that faulty workmanship can constitute a covered “occurrence.” On June 4, 2013, the Connecticut Supreme Court also found that CGL policies can cover damage from defective construction. Continue »

Asset ProtectionMore Like This

Telematics is more than a productivity tool for equipment owners. It’s an excellent way for contractors to keep equipment safe and secure. Telematics integrates telecommunications and machine operating information so users can monitor the location, movements, status, and health of equipment and vehicles. It’s typically made possible through a GPS receiver and an onboard communication device (control module) installed on each machine or vehicle. The GPS receiver identifies machine location, while the control module captures information sent to it by sensors on the machine. Real-time data then is transmitted to a user Web portal, which is accessible from nearly anywhere in the world. Continue »

Each year, the Merchants Bonding Company™Leaderboard Program salutes agency partners who have demonstrated their surety savvy and collaboration for growth. We salute Paffenbarger & Walden LLC of Phoenix, AZ, for attaining the Champions Tour of surety professionals. Congratulations to Andy Paffenbarger, Joe Clarken, and Scott Wareing for surety professionalism in 2012. Merchants Bonding has partnered with Paffenbarger & Walden for 17 years. We thank them for the successes we’ve had together and recognize them for sharing our common sense vision. See our online salute to Paffenbarger & Walden LLC of Phoenix, AZ, here. Continue »

Best PracticesMore Like This

The first impression is everything when presenting a bond package. Contractors that can clearly define and present their capabilities in the bond package are in a far better position to secure or increase their bonding program. A good bond agent can work with the contractor to prepare a bond package and should reference the following checklist to get started.

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Performance BondMore Like This

Small and emerging contractors bidding on work that requires a surety bond should know about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Surety Bond Guarantee Program. The SBA guarantees surety bonds for small contractors that might not qualify otherwise, and the process of getting the guarantee is fast and easy. For example, SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees usually processes applications for bond guarantees within two days, processing claims in just nine days.

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