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.
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.]
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 create a secure MyProfile Bail Bond Agency account type and designate a primary bail bond agent before they may operate or advertise. [ss. 648.44(6), F.S.]
Each location of a bail bond agency is required to designate a licensed and appointed primary bail bond agent. This is done after you create a secure MyProfile Bail Bond Agency account type. Further, if there is a change in the primary bail bond agent, the owner or new primary agent must notify us within 10 working days of the change. 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.]
For more instructions, please see our Bail Bond Agency Primary Agent User Guide.
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. [s. 648.421, F.S.]
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.]
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