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Director de División

Greg Thomas


Servicios de Agentes y Agencias de Seguros
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0318
Oficina de Licencias
(850) 413-3137
Oficina de Investigaciones
(850) 413-3136

Compliance Information: Bail Bond Agents

As a licensee it’s important you have access to information that helps you keep your insurance business in compliance. This section (along with Insurance Insights and other Department communications) is an important tool to help you meet that goal.

However, these tools are not and cannot replace statutes, department rules, orders or case law. The items below are intended as reminders only and are not necessarily the exact text of the Estatutos de la Florida o Código Administrativo de la Florida. The legal cites have been provided for your further reference.

Publicidad

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 (e.g. billboard, telephone book, flyers, etc.), 648.44(6)(7), F.S., requires the full street address of the bail bond agency to be in every advertisement for that agency, including the business cards for bail bond agents working with the agency. This address must be the same address that is on file with the department. Additionally, a bail bond agent may not use any advertisement or advertise under any name that includes the word "free". See 648.44(6)(e)3, F.S.

Apprehensions & Pick-Ups

As a bail bond agent you may need to apprehend or pickup a defendant and may require the assistance of another bail bond agent. The agent you select must be a licensed bail bond agent that is appointed with the surety company the issued the subject bond.

Be aware that neither the temporary bail bond agent license nor the limited surety (bail bond) agent license authorizes a person to carry a weapon. The Florida Statutes do not specifically address bail bond agents using weapons while working.

Weapon permits are issued through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These permits are issued to qualifying citizens of the state of Florida. You will need to follow the laws related to the issuance of your permits, which include not carrying your weapon in certain locations. See 790.06(12), F.S., for a complete listing. You may want to direct any questions you have regarding your permits to them. Their web site is: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/.

Bail Bond Agent (Types)

Bail Bond agent

A bail bond agent (also referred to as a limited surety agent) is an individual appointed by an insurer to execute bail bonds in connection with court proceedings and who therefore receives or is promised money or other things of value (collateral) in return for issuing a bail bond. The agent will determine whether or not collateral is necessary for the bond to be issued.

Professional Bail Bond agent

A professional bail bond agent uses their own money to post bail for defendants by pledging United States currency, United States postal money orders, or cashier's checks as security for the bail bond in connection with a judicial proceeding and receives or is promised money or other things of value for doing so. Professional bail bond agents must be licensed and appointed and complete the same continuing education requirements as a limited surety (bail bond) agent. It should be noted that professional bail bond agents are not appointed by an insurance company but rather they appoint themselves.

As a professional bail bond agent you must meet the same eligibility requirements listed for a bail bond agent, plus file a detailed financial statement under oath with each application, renewal or continuation of appointment, and file with the Office of Insurance Regulation the premium rates to be used for bail bonds to be written. These filings must be made before the professional bail bond agent writes any bail bonds in Florida.

Temporary Bail Bond agent

A temporary bail bond agent is a person who is employed and is paid a salary or other wages by a bail bond agent or agency, insurer, or managing general agent.

The temporary bail bond agent license is effective for a maximum of 18 months. The temporary bail bond agent has the same authority as a bail bond agent as long as the supervising agent is present at the time.

A temporary bail bond agent may interview an inmate at the jail if the temporary bail bond agent is accompanied in the interview by the supervising bail bond agent. This would be a part of the training by the supervising bail bond agent to show the temporary bail bond agent the proper way to interview an inmate. The temporary bail bond agent cannot conduct this interview alone.

El agente temporario de fianza no puede:

    • Ejecutar o firmar fianzas
    • Administrar recibos colaterales
    • Entregar fianzas en la cárcel
    • Operate a bail bond agency away from a properly appointed supervising bail bond agent.

Ver 648.355, F.S., for the complete explanation of temporary limited license.

Bounty Hunter

Florida law states that a person may not represent himself or herself to be a bail enforcement agent, bounty hunter or other similar title in this state. See section 648.30, F.S. Representing yourself as a bounty hunter is a felony in the third degree, punishable as provided in Capítulo 775.

Garantía

Collateral is property that is pledged as security against a debt. In a bail bond situation, the indemnitor agrees to reimburse the bail bond agent for the full amount of the bail if the defendant fails to appear for any required hearing. If the defendant fails to appear for a hearing then the indemnitor owes a debt to the bail bond agent and that debt may be secured with collateral provided by the indemnitor or the defendant. The agent may accept a deposit of cash or other valuable property to be held for the lifetime of the bond, subject to be returned when the principal has fulfilled the obligation to appear at the appointed court times. However, it should be noted an agent may not accept a quitclaim deed for property as collateral. Reference: 648.442(1), Estatutos de la Florida

Acceptable forms of collateral

Cash can be accepted as collateral on a bond but the funds used as collateral must be kept separate from the other funds of the agent and assets of the agency. Cash that is accepted in an amount over $50,000 must be made payable to the insurer and received in the form of a cashier's check, United States postal money order, certificate of deposit, or money wire.

Real estate can be accepted as collateral but the mortgage lien must be in the name of the insurer issuing the bail bond.

Forfeiture

When a defendant fails to appear and the court forfeits the bail bond, the bail bond agent must provide the indemnitor and the principal (defendant) on the bond with 10 days advance notice of the agent's intent to convert the collateral deposit to cash to satisfy the forfeiture. If, upon conversion of the collateral, it is found the collateral is worth more than the amount of the bond that forfeited, the bail bond agent or insurer is required to refund the excess amount of money received from the conversion of the collateral. See 648.442(5)(6), Estatutos de la Florida

Discharge of Bond

A discharge of a bail bond is the formal document that releases the liability of the surety on the bail bond that was posted to release a defendant from the custody of the court.

Hay varias situaciones que podrían considerarse razones para que el agente de fianza haga un pedido al secretario de la corte para verificar la cancelación de un bono. Estos casos deben ser documentados e incluyen:

  • Cuando el agente de fianza sabe que el demandado ha sido reasignado a la custodia de la corte,
  • El demandado ha muerto y el certificado de defunción ha sido presentado en la corte, o
  • El agente sabe que el caso ha sido resuelto y el bono ya no es necesario.

En cada uno de estos casos es responsabilidad del agente de fianza obtener la documentación que apoya su opinión de que el bono debería ser cancelado por la corte.

Honorarios

A bail bond agent may not charge any fee above or less than the approved premium rate. However, bail bond agents may charge the credit card fee imposed when the credit card is used to provide collateral on the bail bond written as long as the fee is clearly shown on the collateral receipt, is posted in the bail bond agency, and is acknowledged by the consumer. See 648.571(3)(b), Florida Statutes.

Primary Bail Bond Agent Designation

Debe tener un agente primario de fianzas para cada agencia de fianzas que posea y para cada sucursal de su agencia de fianzas, de acuerdo con la sección  648.387, E.F. El agente primario debe ser un agente de fianzas nombrado y con licencia y no puede ser el agente primario designado para más de una sucursal.

To do so, you will need to create a secure Mi Perfil Bail Bond Agency account type. When you do this, you will be able to do the following actions:

  • Agregar Propietario o Director
  • Designar y eliminar un agente primario de fianzas.
  • Agregar sucursales
  • Eliminar sucursales
  • Cambiar una dirección
  • Cambiar la información de inicio de sesión
  • Cambiar direcciones de email
  • Otorgar privilegios a terceros

For more instructions, please see our Bail Bond Agency Primary Agent User Guide.

As the Department strives to go paperless, the switch from paper to electronic is convenient and will allow licensees to update their individual and bail bond agency information via their secure Mi Perfil accounts in real time online.

Esto permite que el público consumidor encuentre agentes y agencias de fianzas a través de la herramienta Buscar Titulares de Licencias del Departamento. Antes no podían hacer esto.

Además, ahora las prisiones y los tribunales podrán verificar que un agente y una agencia de fianzas están registrados con el Departamento después de que designen un agente primario de fianzas para una sucursal.

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney forms used for the purpose of writing bail bonds in the state of Florida may only be used if the sample copy has been filed by the insurer with, and approved by, the Office of Insurance Regulation. See section 648.43(1), F.S.

Referencias

Sección 648.44, F.S., prohibits paying an attorney to refer business to you or your agency.

Sección 648.44(1)(a), F.S., states bail bond agents and temporary bail bond agents are prohibited from suggesting or advising the use of any particular attorney to represent his or her principal. Any bail bond agent violating this prohibition is subject to suspension or revocation of their license and commits a first-degree misdemeanor subject to applicable criminal penalties.

Return of Collateral

The court normally discharges a bond within 10 business days after the condition of the bond has been satisfied. Once the bond is discharged and the agent is notified, the agent must return the collateral to the indemnitor within 21 days. Note: It is the responsibility of the bail bond agent to obtain proper documentation to verify the discharge of the bond.

If the agent receives a demand for the return of collateral and has not received notice of the discharge from the court, the agent should send a written request for the discharge to the court and maintain a copy in their file. Also, a copy of the written request for discharge should be given to the indemnitor or the person that requested the collateral return. If the court does not provide the discharge within 7 days, the bond is automatically canceled and the collateral should be returned within 21 days. Since the Court is not regulated by Chapter 648, it is important for the bail bond agent to maintain proper documentation of the efforts to secure the discharge of the bond before the collateral was returned to the indemnitor.

If the court discharged the bond and notified the agent, and the indemnitor has not been successful in getting the agent to return the collateral a demand letter should be sent to the agent. The written demand letter should be sent to the agent by e-mail, notification of receipt requested, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to document when the request was actually received by the agent.

The return of collateral is the responsibility of the bail bond agent, MGA, or insurer. If the regulated entity is unable to locate the property owner to return the collateral within the five year period required by Capítulo 717, it should be turned over to the Oficina de Propiedades No Reclamadas.

Reference: Sections 648.571, F.S. and 648.442, Estatutos de la Florida

Collateral accepted to secure a bail bond must be returned to the person who provided that collateral when the liability on the bail bond has been released. Within 21 days after receiving the notice of discharge from the court, the bail bond agent must return the collateral to the proper party. See 648.571, Estatutos de la Florida

The collateral must be returned to the person that provided it for use on the bail bond in the same manner and condition that it was received by the bail bond agent. If the collateral was received by charging a credit card, then the refund must be made by crediting that same credit card. If the collateral was received by certified check, then the refund must be made with a certified check.

Failure to adhere to the requirements of this statute may result in the bail bond agent being charged with a felony of the third degree. In addition, Florida law compels the Department to impose a penalty of five (5) times the dollar amount of the collateral to anyone violating the collateral requirements.
See 648.442, F.S. and 648.571(4), Estatutos de la Florida

Solicitation

No one may solicit bail bond business on the grounds of a jail, courthouse, prison or any other place where prisoners are confined. Loitering in or about a jail, courthouse, or where prisoners are confined, is also not permitted.

Soliciting on the grounds of a jail, courthouse, prison or any other place where prisoners are confined includes:

    • Displaying, wearing, or distributing any item which directly or indirectly advertises bail bond services; or
    • Approaching anyone or urging, enticing, luring, or inviting anyone to approach a bail bond agent to use their services.
    • Parking a motor vehicle, which displays the name of a bail bond agent, a bail bond agency, or any other information advertising bail bond services.
    • Passing out business cards or other print advertising unless requested by the principal or indemnitor.

A bail bond agent who uses an unlicensed person to solicit people at the jail, courthouse, prison or any other place where prisoners are confined may be held liable for the actions of the unlicensed person.

A bail bond agent may only wear or display the state issued identification which includes a citation of the licensee’s arrest powers when on the grounds of a jail, courthouse, prison or any other place where prisoners are confined.

The property or grounds of a court, jail, prison, or other place where prisoners are confined includes all parking lots and parking spaces adjacent to such places or adjacent to public walkways or public streets adjacent to such places where prisoners are confined. The complete text of the rule can be read here: 69B-221.095, F.A.C.

Suspension & Revocation

During the period of suspension or revocation of the license and until the license is reinstated or a new license is issued, the former licensee may not engage in or attempt to profess to engage in any transaction or business for 1148 which a license or appointment is required under this chapter. A person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, 1151 or s. 775.084. See section 648.49(3), F.S.


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