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Division Director

Greg Thomas


Agent and Agency Services
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0318
Bureau of Licensing
(850) 413-3137
Bureau of Investigation
(850) 413-3136
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Opening A Bail Bond Agency

Opening a bail bond agency?

So, you’re thinking about opening your own bail bond agency? Well, before you open the doors for the first time, a review of the laws and rules affecting bail bond agents and the operation of Florida bail bond agencies is important. After all, you want to create and maintain a successful agency. Insurance laws are located in Title XXXVII of the Florida Statutes and predominantly in Chapter 69B of the Florida Administrative Code. Specifically, Chapters 648 and 903 should be reviewed by all bail bond agents.

Here’s a quick overview of laws and procedures that new (and not-so-new) agents frequently inquire about, along with the applicable cites, for opening and operating a bail bond agency. If that's not for you, maybe you want to check out the guidelines for opening a general insurance agency and a title insurance agency. Coming soon: adjusting firms.


Owning a bail bond agency

A person may not own or have any control in a bail bond agency unless they are a licensed and appointed bail bond agent. Since the Florida Statutes limit who may be a licensed bail bond agent, the following persons would not be allowed to be a bail bond agency owner nor be employed at a bail bond agency. [s. 648.285 and ss. 648.44(2) F.S.]

  • Jailers or persons employed in any jail
  • Police officers or employees of a law enforcement agency
  • Judges, employees of a court, or employees of the clerk of any court
  • Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs or employees of any sheriff’s department
  • Attorneys
  • Persons having the power to arrest or persons who have authority over or control of prisoners
  • Any person who has been convicted or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude

Naming your bail bond agency

It is typically not required to seek the Department’s approval of your agency name. However, the use of a name that would be misleading or deceptive in any way should be avoided. Names chosen should not imply that the agency is an insurance company (including bail bond and surety companies), governmental agency, or any other national or state organization.  They should also not imply a reduced rate of premium or have the word "free" in it. Any bail bond agent who intends to conduct business under any business name, other than his or her own individual name, is required to file form DFS-H2-1541 with us before they may operate or advertise. [ss. 648.44(6), F.S.]

Designating a primary bail bond agent

Each location of a bail bond agency is required to designate a licensed and appointed primary bail bond agent. This is also done with form DFS-H2-1541. Further, if there is a change in the primary bail bond agent, the owner or new primary agent must notify us within 10 days of the change. A separate form must be filed for each location. The primary bail bond agent is responsible for the overall operation and management of a bail bond agency location, whose responsibilities may include hiring and supervising of all individuals within the location, whether they deal with the public in the solicitation or negotiation of bail bond contracts or in the collection or accounting of money. A person may be designated as a primary bail bond agent for only one location. [s. 648.387, F.S.]

On a related matter, a bail bond agent must notify us within 10 working days if you change your name, residence address, principal business street address or mailing address, e-mail address, or contact telephone numbers.  This is quickly and easily done by logging in to your MyProfile account.  Alternatively, this is done with form DFS-H2-1564 for the bail bond agent and DFS-H2-1541 for the bail bond agency. [s. 648.421, F.S.]

Obtaining forms

You can download forms from our web site, www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Licensure/Forms. Any completed form should be submitted to the address or fax number listed on the form.

Hours of operation

The bail bond agency must be open and accessible to the public for at least 8 hours during the normal work day, which is defined as 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. [Rule 69B-221.051, F.A.C.]

All agents appointed to the same surety companies

All bail bond agents who are members of the same agency must be appointed to represent the same surety companies (insurers). Also, if any agent of a bail bond agency is licensed and appointed as a professional bail bond agent, all the agents in the agency must be licensed as one. [s. 648.55, F.S.]

Temporary bail bond agents

A temporary bail bond agent is a person who is employed by a bail bond agent or agency, insurer, or managing general agent. The temporary licensee has similar authority as a licensed bail bond agent. The temporary licensee can: present defendants in court; apprehend, arrest, and surrender defendants to the proper authorities, while accompanied by a supervising bail bond agent or an agent from the same agency; and keep defendants under necessary surveillance. A temporary licensee may not execute or sign bonds, handle collateral receipts, deliver bonds to appropriate authorities, or operate an agency or branch agency separate from the location of the supervising bail bond agent, managing general agent or insurer by whom the licensee is employed. The temporary agent must be paid a salary or wages as required by law. [ss. 648.25(8) and ss. 648.355(8), F.S.; Rule 69B-221.051(4)(b), F.A.C.]

Advertising

Be aware when getting ready to advertise the business. A bail bond agent may not use any verbiage that could be interpreted as a reduced premium rate in any advertisement. When placing any type of advertisement (billboard, telephone book, flyers, etc.) you must include the business name and address you have filed with the department. [ss. 648.44(6)(7), F.S.]

Don’t forget to check out these cites also:

Florida Statute sections
648.285 Bond agency; ownership requirements
648.29 Build-up funds posted by bail bond agent
648.295 Reporting and accounting of funds
648.33 Bail bond rates
648.36 Bail bond agent's records
648.42 Registration of bail bond agents
648.44 Prohibitions; penalty
648.441 Furnishing supplies to unlicensed bail bond agent prohibited
648.442 Collateral security
648.55 All bail bond agents of same agency; licensed by same companies
648.571 Failure to return collateral; penalty

Florida Administrative Code rules
69B-221.095 Soliciting Business
69B-221.110 Premium Shall Be Term Charge; Premium Refund; When
69B-221.145 Use of Credit Cards and Cash Advance Facilities in Conjunction with Issuing Bail Bonds

Where to find these guidelines

You can find all this information, and more, online, such as the Florida Statutes and Administrative Code (rules). Our web address is www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents. Be sure to check out the various Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) including ones specifically for bail bond agents and agencies.