2023 Annual Report

What a year of YES to the Best! Merchants marked its 90th anniversary with a huge hiring initiative, investments in transformational technology, unmatched agent progress, record-breaking fundraising, and amazing celebrations!

Yes to the Best 90th Anniversary

90th anniversary logo

At Merchants Bonding Company, we decided long ago that common sense and first class experiences would brand our daily decisions, and we would make it our practice to say yes, to the best. That’s how Merchants made it to such a major milestone, our 90th anniversary. We say yes to the best agents, the best accounts and the best associates. Yes to giving back to the communities we’re a part of, and yes to inclusion, bringing opportunity to people at every stage of business. We always say yes to the best technology, that makes working with us faster and more secure.

Because when we come from a place of yes, we know endless opportunities await!

This ‘mission statement’ summed up our attitude, and gratitude, about reaching 90 years, and served as the driving force behind all the different ways we showed our appreciation across 2023.

9 BIG Ways we celebrated 90 years!

Yes to the Best Financial Results

Underwriting 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Direct Written Premium $134.2 million $139.9 million $154.7 million $197.5 million $247.7 million
Net Loss Ratio – Industry* 16.3% 20.8% 15.1% 10.8% 17.8%
(Prelim 2023)
Net Loss Ratio – Merchants 7.2% 4.2% 7.1% 7.7% 15.6%
Surplus $171.5 million $206.9 million $240.9 million $254.9 million $284.9 million
SFAA National Ranking* 14th 13th 16th 11th 8th
(Prelim 2023)
SFAA Market Share* 1.8% 1.9% 1.9% 2.2% 2.5%
(Prelim 2023)

*Source: Surety & Fidelity Association of America Top 100 Writers of Surety Bonds

For the first time in its 90-year history, Merchants’ financial performance propelled the company into a final position amongst the top ten national sureties, ranked #8. This major accomplishment is a confirmation of our common sense underwriting approach and our commitment to responsible growth.
  • AM Best Long-Term Issuer Credit (ICR) upgraded to a+ (Excellent)
  • Financial Size Category increased to IX (USD 250 Million to Less than 500 Million)

Overall Production Highlights


Continued Profitable Growth: Combined Ratio

Contract Production Highlights

$177.3 million



Premium Growth


New Accounts

$40 million

Premium from
New Accounts



$152.5 million

Premium from Leaderboard
Surety Elite Program


Premium growth from Leaderboard
Surety Elite Program

Commercial Production Highlights

$56 million



Premium Growth

$35 million

New Premium

$32.8 million

Premium from Pacesetters
Surety Elite Program


Premium growth from Pacesetters
Surety Elite Program


287 Key Agencies at $20,000 Premium Or More (13.4% Growth)

Specialty Solutions Production Highlights

$14.4 million



Premium Growth


New Accounts



$5.9 million

Premium from SBA

$7.3 million

Premium from Subdivision

Yes to the Best Vision

To become twice the enterprise through innovation and responsible growth

in·no·vate – make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. /ˈinəˌvāt/

Innovation is key to Merchants Bonding Company’s vision. Guided by our strategic priorities for 2023, teams across the company dug in to examine what we do and how we do it, making changes that resulted in better ways to work for our agents and our associates.

Many of Merchants’ innovations focused on existing processes, leveraging automation as a tool to improve them, resulting in streamlined workflows and time-savings.

Strategic Priority


The Hub Express, Merchants’ instant commercial surety bond solution, is a powerful new way for agents to conduct business. The Hub Express creates an automatic revenue stream that agents own and control while providing their clients the ability to order commercial surety bonds online. An intersection of leading-edge technology and deep industry knowledge, the Hub Express has the potential to transform the landscape of commercial surety.

This cross-departmental collaboration was developed and tested across 2023, shaped by input from more than 50 customer demonstrations.

Strategic Priority

RAP logo

Merchants’ existing solution for instant contract bonds, the Rapid Access Program (RAP), grew exponentially due to simplified program limits, additional automation, and a robust marketing campaign resulted in a tremendous increase in RAP’s utilization.






New Accounts


Responsible growth is another foundational element of our guiding vision, and wouldn’t be possible without strong supporting strategies. Merchants’ unprecedented talent acquisition initiative and targeted geographic expansion were key to achieving our outstanding performance in 2023.

Strategic Priority: Talent Acquisition

New Hires


New Positions


Represent Diversity




'Boomerang' Employees


Previous Interns

CFO Role Filled

headshot of Elisabeth Sandersfeld

Following a robust search, Merchants Bonding Company welcomed Elisabeth Sandersfeld to the team as chief financial officer, treasurer, and chief risk officer. This hire was a confirmation of Merchants’ commitment to the EPIC Challenge, a pledge to grow and retain women at all levels of company leadership. Merchants was an inaugural participant in the challenge and continues to strengthen its inclusiveness and reap the benefits of more diverse leadership.

36% of Leadership

Represent Diversity

27% of Executive Leadership


Internship Experience

Named RISE Elite 50 for the Fourth Year in a Row

intern group dressed in business wear standing in a row smiling

Merchants’ award-winning program, developed to support a diverse talent pipeline for the company and the industry, was again recognized as one of the RISE ELITE 50.

2023 Intern Class

  • 3 out of 8 interns won minority-based SFAA scholarships
  • 4 out of 8 interns represented diversity

Strategic Priority: Geographic Expansion

Existing & New Offices

Yes to the Best Mission

Merchants' mission is to provide common sense solutions, first class experiences for every relationship, and an engaging culture for all associates

Our brand promise of common sense solutions is most strongly associated with our underwriting approach. Trademarked and used extensively across marketing materials, common sense solutions is highly recognized by our valued agent partners and associates.

Merchants takes our commitment to providing first class experiences for every relationship very literally. From a first-time caller, to our ongoing premier agent relationships, we strive to make every interaction with Merchants feel first class.

Fostering an engaging culture requires a variety of initiatives which lead to: increased collaboration, employee loyalty, and enhanced job satisfaction, all of which are crucial to Merchants’ strategic priority of talent retention.

Company Recognitions

DEI Medium Workplace Excellence Award logo
Great Place to Work logo
Best Place for Working Parents logo

A major contributing factor to the recognitions the company received is Merchants’ robust, relevant, and competitive benefits package. A benefit directly incentivizing long-term retention, the Share in the Profit bonus program, was introduced in 2023.

Associate Survey

The results of our annual associate survey confirm Merchants’ ability to create an outstanding associate experience.

More than 95% of associates say they are...

Treated fairly regardless of race or sexual orientation
Made to feel welcome when joining the company
Proud to tell others they work at Merchants

Strategic Priority: Talent Retention

Training & Development

Elevated Leadership Programs

  • 3 new training programs offered for emerging leaders, new leaders, and leadership
  • 10 new courses offered

Professional Growth

  • 2 new underwriting training programs created
  • 35 new underwriting training courses added to the learning management system
  • 5 dedicated trainers across departments
  • 592 hours invested in onboarding and integrating associates into Merchants’ culture

Supporting Connection

MBC Connect logo

Merchants’ intranet connects all associates across the country and provides a vital platform to share company successes, information, and fun.