2021 Financial Highlights
SFAA Market Share
Contract Production Highlights
Premium from Leaderboard
Surety Elite Program
Premium growth from Leaderboard
Surety Elite Program
Commercial Production Highlights
Premium from Pacesetters
Surety Elite Program
Premium growth from Pacesetters
Surety Elite Program
Agencies Achieving Higher
Key Agency Relationships
2021 Year in Review
Innovation & Responsible Growth
Introducing Specialty Solutions and SBA Partnership
On October 1, Merchants introduced Specialty Solutions, a new underwriting division focused on providing solutions to small and emerging contractors working to qualify for surety credit and enhancing the ways Merchants can help its agent partners and their contractor clients.
4 New Tools in the Merchants Toolbox
Small Business Administration
SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program
Merchants joined the short list of companies participating in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Preferred Surety program. Through a unique broker partnership with Foundation Surety & Insurance Solutions led by Peter C. Gibbs, former director of the SBA Office of Surety Guarantees, Merchants has positioned itself as an industry leader in providing expertise and access to surety for disadvantaged companies.
New & Improved Bond Programs
The 2021 release of Merchants’ Rapid Access Program (RAP) introduced increased program limits and general indemnity agreements expedited with e-signatures.
RAP Premium Growth
Merchants’ new ERISA program features Inflation Guard included at no extra cost, pre-executed blanket bond form for all plan officials, online instant issuance and competitive rates.
ERISA Premium Growth
In late 2021, Merchants entered the customs bonds marketplace through a new partnership with C.A. Shea & Company, Inc., a leading broker for U.S. customs bonds.
Non-Construction Performance Bonds (NCP)
Merchants began writing NCP bonds through the commercial department. Added benefits to agents include commercial rates and commissions, and ease of applying on the Merchants Bonding Company Hub™
7 New Offices in Key Geographic Areas
Telemarketing efforts to qualify new agency leads began in 2015 and remains a key growth strategy for commercial business.
Agencies Tele Marketed
New Qualified Agency Prospects
Premium from Tele Marketed Agencies
Premium from Telemarketing Program Agencies Since 2015
Making E-Bonding Easy
Merchants’ significant investment in technology and common sense approach to underwriting continues to make issuing commercial bonds easier than ever.
Agents can seamlessly send an email containing commercial documents needed for electronic signature directly to indemnitors.
Signed indemnity agreements are no longer required on commercial surety bonds up to $75,000
Automated underwriting increased due to API integrations with agency partners and improvements to the Hub’s approval rules processes.
Agents can send a commercial bond application directly to their clients, easing the data collection process for agents.
The award-winning Merchants Bonding Company Hub™ API allows for seamless integration with trusted partners.
Merchants launched a new agency integration that allows agents to send bond orders directly from their website to the Merchants Bonding Company Hub™, resulting in 150% premium growth with the agency.
Merchants’ integration with the California State Contractors License Board provides an industry-leading level of service for issuing and electronically filing Contractor License Bonds (CLB).
Modernized Accounting Systems
In 2021, Merchants formally began the migration off a legacy system to a web environment resulting in more nimble access to accounting transactions and enhancing the opportunity to utilize analytics. This modernization of our accounting systems will add new features to benefit both internal and external users.
Commitment to Quality Assurance
Merchants’ error ratio has decreased 85% since 2017. This achievement highlights Merchants’ commitment to consistency, accuracy and regulatory compliance of our core processes.
First Class Experience
Continued investments in the award-winning Merchants Bonding Company Hub™ provide industry-leading solutions for agents to issue bonds quickly and efficiently.
Increase in Bonds Issued
Increase in Hub Activity
To broaden our reach and engage with up and coming agents, Merchants hosted three surety-focused continuing education webinars.
CE Webinar Attendees
In the latter half of 2021, as virtual weariness spread, marketing pivoted to hosting live events.
In-person Agent Events
Choose Merchants Score
(We ask participants if attending the event makes them more likely to choose Merchants)
Face-to-face communications with agents remained a priority. As communities and businesses began to lift social distancing requirements, Merchants’ underwriters pivoted from Zoom meetings to in-person visits.
Digital Content Marketing
Driving digital engagement of contractors and surety-related audiences through social media and digital advertising was a key marketing strategy. Messaging directed audiences to merchantsbonding.com, which provided information about Merchants’ first class surety services and a directory of our surety elite agent partners.
Unique Website Visitors
Increase in Website Views
Increase in Find An Agent Directory Views
Positive & Collaborative Workplace Culture
Recognition from these programs provides validation we are focusing on the right areas that make Merchants a top workplace. Feedback from our associates provides insights on where we need to continue to grow and learn.
of associates say Merchants is a great place to work
of associates believe Merchants’ management is honest and ethical
of associates feel good about the ways Merchants contributes to the community
Merchants’ communications hub connects associates located across the U.S. through company news posts, committee and interest group updates, and photo galleries.
Associate News Posts
Human Resources in 2021
New Associates Hired
For the second year in a row, Merchants Bonding Company’s Internship Experience was named a Rising Insurance Star Executive (RISE) Elite 50 Internship award winner, an annual program that publishes 50 of the best insurance internship programs in the U.S. Merchants interns have a voice in program content, pursue projects of interest to develop their skills and actively contribute to Merchants’ success.
Merchants’ new online training platform allows all associates development and training opportunities for their current and future roles. Courses are recommended based on core competencies identified for the position.
Role-Based Development Playlists
Training Hours Completed
Balance the Needs of the Company, Our Associates and Their Families
Merchants made mental wellness a key focus for 2021. Revamped offerings help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness and provide associates with additional support and resources to balance work and life.
Ulliance Life Advisor
5 to THRIVE
Free Life Coach, Legal & Financial Consulting
Child & Eldercare Referral Network
On Demand Webinars
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of how, where and when work is done, Merchants introduced a new work-life integration policy that allows greater flexibility for associates while maintaining a collaborative and relationship-driven culture.
Healthy Workplace Finalist
For the third consecutive year, Merchants was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Healthiest State Award recognizing workplaces that are working to improve the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of Iowans.
Celebrate Success & Have Fun!
Recognition & Rewards
The Bucketlist Rewards platform allows associates to recognize and celebrate their peers’ contributions and successes.
of associates recognized
Maintaining a collaborative and relationship-driven culture remained a priority as associates adjusted to hybrid work schedules. A mix of in-person, hybrid and virtual events connected associates from across the country to participate in special activities throughout the year.
Following the development of its DEI task force, Merchants implemented recruitment strategies to grow a more diverse team, educated associates on unconscious bias and inclusion, and developed employee resource groups where associates can make deeper connections with one another.
New Hires Were Diverse for Their Teams
Employee Resource Groups
Countries Represented By Interns
Associates Completed Unconscious Bias Training
Leaders Completed DEI for Leaders Training
DEI Workplace Excellence
Merchants was awarded the Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Workplace Excellence Award from the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes companies who exemplify an inclusive culture through their workforce, programs and employee development initiatives.
Scholarship for Underrepresented Students
4 Merchants Interns Awarded Scholarships
Merchants gives interns the opportunity and support to apply for The Surety & Fidelity Industry Intern and Scholarship Program for Underrepresented Students (SFIISP). The program is meant to encourage students’ consideration of the surety industry as a career choice.
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!