To:  General Bail Bond Agents, Bail Bond Agents, and Missouri Courts

From:   Mary Kempker, Director of the Consumer Affairs Division, Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration

Date:        October 5, 2006

The Consumer Affairs Division of the Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance with this bulletin seeks to provide guidance to general bail bond agents on when it is lawful to transact bail bond business in the state of Missouri under a corporate form of business. It also provides guidance to Missouri Courts in which those agents write bond.

Under previous administrations, the Department accepted applications for General Bail Bond Agents operating under a corporate form of business. However, Missouri Supreme Court Rule 33.20 states, “Any corporation, association, or company formed under the provisions of section §379.010, RSMo, for the purpose of making surety insurance shall be qualified to act as a surety upon any bail bond taken under the provisions of these rules upon presenting evidence satisfactory to the court of its solvency…” Corporations that “make” or write surety insurance must be structured as an insurance company and properly licensed as an insurance company under section §379.010, RSMo. As such, if this entity is a stock company, it must maintain a fully paid capital of at least eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000.00) and a surplus of at least eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000.00). Corporations that write surety, but are not admitted under section §379.010, RSMo, are in violation of section §375.310, RSMo and are subject to civil and criminal enforcement.

Corporations that were previously admitted to write surety in Missouri now have two options: 1) they can apply for a general bail bond agent license under an individual’s name; or 2) they can continue to operate as a corporation, but they must do so as an agent of an insurance company that is registered under §379.010, RSMo. Under this second arrangement, the insurance company is writing the surety, as opposed to the corporate agent. The corporate agent must submit to the Department a copy of a general power of attorney appointing the corporation to represent the company in matters of bail. This power of attorney must be submitted to the Department at the time of initial application, as well as biennial renewal.