Look for a Surety Company Willing to Invest in You
It’s tempting to think, “A surety company is a surety company. What difference does it make where I get my bonds?” But not all surety providers are created equal. In the long run, you’re better off choosing a company that works hard to earn your trust and is willing to build a lasting relationship with you.
Relationships are especially important in contract, program and account surety where the principal may have unique or frequent surety needs. Because surety underwriting involves the careful examination of a principal’s finances, experience and character, the surety-principal relationship tends to be a close one.
A surety company and their business partners both have valuable expertise. That makes it all the more important for you to work with a surety that is committed to building a mutually advantageous relationship that should pay dividends for you over time.
The Hallmarks of a Strong Relationship
What can you expect from a surety focused on creating strong customer relationships? Here are some things to look for:
- Personal interaction and connection. A relationship-oriented surety will want to meet with you face-to-face so they can get to know your business and key personnel. They’ll generally visit with you annually to review your current year results and next year’s business plan.
- Respect for your expertise. A good surety bond manager will be the first to tell you they don’t know your business as well as you do . But they have a wealth of industry knowledge that can benefit your firm. You each have something important to contribute to the relationship, and by working together you can help ensure each other’s success.
- Open, honest communication. As you build trust, you’ll often benefit from the candor that a strong surety relationship brings. You may not always like what you hear, but you’ll come to see that your surety’s concerns are motivated by a desire to see you succeed.
- A trusted partner and advisor. A good surety works hard to instill confidence so you feel comfortable providing information that is helpful to securing the bond credit you need. The more you’re willing to share, the more your surety may be able to help you reach your business goals. For example, a surety can advise you on how to improve your cash flow or to solve a business problem.
- An advocate when things don’t go well. When you have a good relationship with your surety, you can have the frank conversations that are needed to adjust your plans and get back on track.
- A strong supporter of the agency system. Relationship-oriented sureties know the value of an experienced surety bond producer. These sureties work hard to cultivate meaningful relationships with their agents, ultimately benefiting you, the principal.
A surety company willing to partner with you for the long term is a rare find these days. Choose a surety that will be there to support you now and in the future.
By: Bill Beebe, Westfield Surety Sales Leader