October 02, 2009

Insurance Department begins review of Missouri's bail bond laws

Jefferson City, Mo.  - The state Insurance Department is undertaking a thorough review of whether Missouri needs changes to its laws and regulations governing the bail bond industry.  A 15-member committee will assist the department in the study. The Missouri legislature in 2009 passed a law requiring the study to be conducted by the department, which licenses bail bond agents.

The committee, appointed by John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP), consists of members of the Missouri legislature, law enforcement, the bail bond industry and the Missouri court system.

The DIFP on Sept. 21 sent a survey to all l,041 licensed bail bond agents, general bail bond agents and surety recovery agents. The 23-question survey covers many of the topics that will be the subject of the committee's review, including security bonding requirements for bail bond agents, licensing requirements, criminal background checks, training, discipline, fees charged and financial solvency. Those surveys are due back by Oct. 9.

The committee's first meeting will be Oct. 6, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 500 of the Harry S. Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City. At this meeting, the committee will review preliminary survey results and plan public hearings to be held in October in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The DIFP has established an e-mail news alert system for anyone interested in following the progress of the committee and receiving notices of public hearings. Visit insurance.mo.gov and click the icon in the left-hand column that says Get insurance news fast.

House Bill 577, passed by Missouri lawmakers and signed by Gov. Nixon, requires the DIFP to submit survey results to the legislature by Jan. 6, 2010.