2020 Financial Highlights
SFAA Market Share Ranking
Contract Production Highlights
Premium from Leaderboard
Surety Elite Program
Virtual Agency Visits
Top 3 Contract Offices By Premium Growth
The challenges of contract underwriting from home had to be quickly overcome…which we did with great talent, our expanded presence across the country and our passion for common sense solutions.”
Sr. Vice President of Contract Underwriting
Commercial Production Highlights
License and Permit
Key Agency Relationships
(From 164 to 190 agencies reaching $25,000 or more)
Virtual Agency Visits
Premium from Pacesetters
Surety Elite Program
Agencies Achieving Higher
The commercial team stepped up and outpaced our pre-COVID-19 forecast, all while working as a team from home with volunteers in the office for necessary work. We didn’t skip a beat and received enthusiastic praise from agents for our level of service.”
Vice President of Commercial Surety
2020 Year in Review
The Future of Surety
As the surety industry continues to lag behind the rest of the world in terms of technology, Merchants finds itself in a unique position to be a leader in digital transformation of the surety industry. Significant investments in technology, agility and a sole focus on surety give Merchants an advantage in developing solutions to industry challenges.
In response to the pandemic, Merchants immediately made digital seals available for agent partners while supporting the SFAA and NASBP’s efforts to urge federal, state and local officials to accept the electronic execution and delivery of surety bonds.
229 E-signatures completed on 90 GIAs
Through the utilization of Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA), Merchants began accepting electronic signatures on most contract general indemnity agreements (GIA) in September 2020.
Merchants modernized the renewal system by migrating the renewal workflow process from a legacy system to a more modern platform. In the process of this migration, technology was employed to enhance the efficiency in the processing of 65,000+ renewals each year. The modernization also allows our agency partners access to many of their renewals online.
Merchants earned the top Award in Innovation from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) for its technological innovation of the Merchants Bonding Company Hub™, its highly secure online surety bond ordering system that streamlines the surety process.
More than 870 agency accounting personnel utilized the new Current Billing Activity report on the Merchants Bonding Company Hub™, which provides more flexibility to view and manage their Merchants billing activity.
Privacy & Security
The Privacy and Information Security team was focused on vendor management, data mapping, and document destruction.
Phishing Training Emails
New Vendor Assessments
Processing Activities Mapped
Regulatory Compliance Response to the Pandemic
The compliance team received a high volume of pandemic-related communications from regulators around issues like bond cancellations and payments plans.
Regulatory Notices Received
Notices Required Action
First Class Experience
A New Digital Experience
Merchants’ corporate website – www.merchantsbonding.com – received a new look and enhanced features, including a new Find An Agent directory. The new site created a better web experience for nearly 50,000 visitors and provided easier access to information about Merchants’ first class surety services, resources, agent partners, careers and culture.
Pandemic Risk Mitigation Expertise
The new website became Merchants’ communications hub and the claims team immediately delivered COVID-19 risk mitigation assistance to agents and their contractor clients with articles to help them navigate changing contract clauses, effectively document pandemic-related issues and prevent issues before they started.
Merchants University Online
Merchants University pivoted from a single, in-person event to three virtual webinars covering the effects of COVID-19 on construction, managing subcontractor risk and understanding surety claims, putting a spotlight on Merchants as “THE” consultants to help our agent partners protect our principals in the pandemic. Over 300 attendees tuned in for the webinars.
Continuing Education (CE) Webinar
The Introduction to Commercial Surety CE webinar received a score of 4.7 out of 5 for overall satisfaction. The course also received record-setting participation with over 570 agents in attendance.
POSITIVE & COLLABORATIVE WORKPLACE CULTURE
For the third consecutive year, Merchants was recognized as one of Iowa’s Top Workplaces by the Des Moines Register. This recognition is based on employee feedback gathered in a survey measuring 15 drivers of engaged cultures. Merchants' survey score was 5% higher in 2020 than 2019.
Merchants’ new intranet is the communications hub for associates that not only delivers company news and information in a timely manner, but allows associates to recognize each other for jobs well done and connect associates from across the U.S. through shared calendars, committees, interest groups, photo galleries, health challenges and other fun activities.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Merchants embarked on a mission to build a diverse and inclusive environment that drives innovation, engagement, connection and ultimately results that benefit every Merchants associate and our communities. We partnered with Gartner Consulting to help build a strategic plan and introduce company leadership to our mission and the path forward during the 2020 Leadership Retreat.
Human Resources in 2020
Average Staffing Throughout the Year
4 interns participated in a 5-week virtual summer program
Merchants’ internship program was selected for the 2020 WayUp Top 100 Internship Programs list. Company programs are evaluated on cultural engagement, diversity and inclusion, uniqueness and program structure.
Balance the Needs of the Company, Our Associates and Their Families
Healthy Living & Wellness
The implementation of Merchants’ healthy living portal and wellness program helps associates focus year-round on wellness activities. Through the portal, associates can accumulate points to earn discounts on their individual health insurance premiums.
associates earned a discount
on health insurance premiums
Healthiest State Finalist
Merchants was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Healthiest State Annual Awards. The awards recognize individuals, schools, workplaces and communities that are working to improve the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of Iowans.
Work From Home
For the safety and wellbeing of associates, Merchants closed its offices to most associates sending them to work from home. Merchants’ tech team swiftly met associates’ equipment needs (including their desk chairs!) and we experienced no business interruption. Merchants also provided resources and flexible work arrangements so associates could balance working from home, homeschooling and other challenges that resulted from the pandemic.
The implementation of brief Pulse Surveys allows associates to provide input that Merchants can quickly evaluate and respond to. In 2020, eight pulse surveys gathered associate feedback on topics like benefits, Merchants’ response to the pandemic and employee engagement.
Celebrate Success and Have Fun!
Merchants reached a surplus milestone of $200 million in November. Merchants celebrated by providing all associates with a special holiday bonus.
$ 206.9 Million
Recognition & Rewards
Merchants’ new recognition program allows associates to recognize and celebrate their peers’ successes. ‘Quill Bills’ can also be rewarded to show extra appreciation for great work.
Merchants redesigned our associate engagement events so that associates could continue to have fun and connect virtually. Zoom allowed associates from across the country to participate in games and special celebrations throughout the year.
Seattle & Dallas 10-Year Anniversaries
Merchants celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its Dallas/Fort Worth and Seattle offices by giving back to the community, donating $10 for every Merchants agent partner in those territories to local food banks to help address the increase in food insecurity caused by the pandemic.
Any maskless photos were taken prior to COVID-19 Pandemic regulations or proper precautions were taken.
Merchants Bonding Company's
To guarantee your investment in tomorrow with collaborative solutions.
To be a top ten surety company through innovation and responsible growth.
To provide common sense solutions, first class experiences for every relationship, and an engaging culture for all associates to achieve long term, profitable growth.
- We value excellence, integrity, and continuous improvement in all that we do.
- We value surpassing expectations by delivering a first class experience.
- We value a positive and collaborative workplace culture through trust, loyalty, and respect.
- We develop potential through learning, involvement, and the pursuit of opportunities.
- We value balancing the needs of the company, our associates, and their families.
- We support our communities.
- We celebrate and have fun!