When does the new legislation take effect?
It takes effect on October 1st 2011.
What is the new assessment fee?
Annual $450 assessment fee payable no later than January 31st each year. It will be used to fund the annual audits of bondsmen.
How is the assessment fee paid?
NOTE: this fee is payable separately from licensing renewal fees.
What happens if I fail to pay the fee?
Failure of licensees to pay any fees due will result in administrative sanctions under CGS 38a-660 and 38a-774 which includes suspension and/or revocation of license.
What are the new licensing fees?
A new bail bond agent license application is $250. A renewal license is $100.
Are there changes to the licensing process?
The application process will remain the same. However, there is a new definition of “Disqualifying Offense” which now states that applicants shall be denied a license for the following:
- Conviction of a felony;
- Conviction of a misdemeanor under any of the following statutes: 21a-279, 53a-58, 53a-61, 53a-61a, 53a-62, 53a-63, 53a-96, 53a-173, 53a-175, 53a-176, 53a-178 or 53a-181d;
- A misdemeanor if an element of the offense involves dishonesty or misappropriation of money or property. NOTE: Under this provision, examples include and are not limited to: convictions for larceny, forgery, embezzlement or money laundering.
When are bail bond licenses renewed?
Biennually by January 31st of each even-numbered year.
May I renew my bail bond license late?
NO. Individuals who fail to renew their licenses by the due date of January 31st will be required to observe all the conditions of a first-time license applicant in order to be re-licensed. This includes retaking the pre-certification course and passing the bail bond licensing test.
Is there a monthly report due?
YES. A certification report must be made to the Department on or before the 10th of each month.
Who is required to file the monthly certification form?
Only individual bail bond agents are required to file. Business entities, agencies and surety companies are NOT required to file the monthly certification form.
What is the purpose of this certification report?
Bond agents completing the form will certify under oath that the bail bond premiums they have written are not less than, nor do they exceed the established legal premium rate. Additionally, this report must indicate the total number of bonds written, total number of premium finance agreements entered, and total dollar amount of bonds written for the previous month.
Where do I obtain the form, and how is it submitted to the Department?
Can I submit monthly information without using the form?
NO. Only the CID issued certification form will be accepted.
What happens if the certification form is not submitted, or arrives after the 10th of the month?
Licensees who have not submitted the monthly certification form by the deadline or do not use the proper form issued by the Department will be subject to administrative sanctions under 38a-660 & 38a-774. This includes fines, suspension or revocation of licenses.
What if the due date for monthly certification falls on a holiday?
Should the 10th of the month fall on a legal holiday or weekend, the form will be due the next business day following.
Is recordkeeping required of bondsmen?
YES. Each surety bail bond agent shall maintain all records related to the execution of a bond for at least three years after the liability of the insurer has been terminated. All records include copies of, and are not limited to:
- Total number of bonds written
- Bond applications
- Defendant Authorization forms
- Cosigner Agreements
- Total dollar amount of collateral accepted
- Payment Plan Agreements and receipts
- Turn in Sheets
- All other receipts
- Any other documents related to the bond
See text of statute 38a-660 for information on records to be maintained. If in doubt—keep a copy of the document!
Is there a penalty for failing to keep records?
YES. Any licensee failing to properly record keep will be subject to administrative sanctions including fines, or suspension or revocation of licenses under CGA 38a-660 & 38a-774.
Are records permitted to be kept electronically?
YES. Records may be kept either in a paper or electronic format. Regardless of format, they must be legible and accessible to the Department.
Does a receipt for collateral need to be provided?
Yes. A written, numbered and signed receipt must be provided by the bond agent to the person providing the collateral, at the time the collateral is collected. This receipt must contain a detailed description of the collateral in question, along with copies of any documents rendered. Failure to provide such receipt will result in sanctions against the bond agent under 38a-774 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Will there be audits of bail bond agents?
YES. Each surety Company shall semiannually conduct an audit of each of its appointed surety bail bond agents to ensure such agents are charging the premium rate as required. Additionally, the Department will be conducting random audits by use of an outside firm.
How will I know that I am scheduled for an audit?
All bondsmen are required to be audited twice a year by their Surety Company. Those bondsmen being audited by the Department will be notified at the time of audit.
Are payment plans allowed?
YES. However all payment plans MUST have the following:
- 35% of the premium must be paid immediately up front.
- A promissory note must be completed at the time the bond is done.
- The balance owed shall be paid in full not later than fifteen months after the date of the execution of the bail bond.
NOTE: If any payment due is outstanding for more than 60 days, or if the premium owed has not been paid in full at the end of 15 months, the agent shall file a civil action seeking appropriate relief with the court not later than seventy-five days after such due date.
OTHER REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:
Demographic Changes: All bail bond agents must notify the Department, in writing, not less than 30 days after changing residence or business name, address, or phone number. Additionally, the Department must be notified in writing within 30 days of any administrative action or bankruptcy along with all documentation.
NOTE: administrative actions also include sanctions against other occupational or professional licenses held.
Must the Department be notified of criminal charges?
YES. The Department must be notified in writing within 5 days if any bail bond agent has been arrested for, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, or been found guilty of, a disqualifying offense in this state or an offense in any other state.
Are Surety Companies required to submit reports to the Department?
YES. By January 31st each year, the act requires Surety companies to file a statement with the Commissioner certifying the total amount of bail bonds executed and the total amount of premiums collected in the preceding calendar year. Additionally, Surety companies must audit their bondsmen twice a year and notify the Department within 45 days after the audit of any bail agent who failed to charge the approved premium rate.
Can I use or invest or deduct fees from monies I receive as premium?
NO. These monies collected shall be deemed trust funds received by such agent and held in a fiduciary capacity. No fees, expenses or charges of any kind shall be deducted from any premium the surety bail bond agent is obligated to return to a principal or indemnitor, except as authorized under sections 3 to 12, inclusive, of the Public Act.
What if premiums are not sent to the Surety Company as appropriate?
Any surety bail bond agent who fails to remit premiums to the Surety Company when due shall be subject to the penalties for larceny under sections 53a-122 to 53a-125b, inclusive, of the general statutes, depending on the amount involved.
Must collateral monies be kept in a separate account?
YES. Any funds accepted as collateral must be kept in a separate account apart from any other assets or funds.
What if collateral is not returned?
Any surety bail bond agent who diverts or appropriates any of the funds received shall be subject to the penalties for larceny under sections 53a-122 to 53a-125b, inclusive, of the general statutes, depending on the amount involved.
NOTE: Please be advised that the Department does not provide legal advice. Bondsmen should refer to their Surety companies or an attorney for additional questions.