Bail Bondsmen FAQ
- Do I need an insurance license to be a Bail Bondsman?
DIFS does not license Bail Bondsmen. However, bail bond agents (writers) who provide a bail bond (called a surety bond) through a surety and fidelity insurance company must be licensed as an insurance a producer in Michigan. A producer must also hold an insurance company appointment to act as an agent of the insurance company.
- To become licensed as a resident producer, an applicant must take and pass one of the following exams: surety and fidelity, limited lines property and casualty, or the full property and casualty exam. The applicant must also apply for a producer license with the matching line of authority.
- To become licensed as a non-resident producer, the applicant must hold an active license to write surety bonds in their home state. Michigan uses the State Producer Licensing Database hosted by NIPR for verification of home state licensure.
- Are there other requirements to act as a Bail Bondsman?
A Bail Bondsman must obtain and maintain prior approval of their financial status and business character from each court jurisdiction in which they operate. Each court jurisdiction has its own registration forms, requirements, and procedures. You will need to contact each court jurisdiction to determine their requirements.
- As a Bail Bondsman, can I delegate my signature authority to another person?
No. A Bail Bondsman cannot delegate their signature authority to any other person nor delegate the court's prior approval.
- Does a "runner" for a Bail Bondsman need to be licensed under the Michigan Insurance Code?
No. Runners are not required to hold an insurance producer license; however, the runners cannot solicit the bonds nor are they permitted to take applications. It is common for Bondsmen to use runners to perform certain services (i.e. defendant surveillance, delivering defendants to court, delivering bonds to court, etc.). A Collection Agency or Professional Investigator license may be required to act as a runner. For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau at 517-241-9221.
- Does a skip tracer (bounty hunter) need to be licensed under the Michigan Insurance Code?
No. Skip tracers are not required to hold an insurance producer license. A Collection Agency or Professional Investigator license may be required to act as a skip tracer (bounty hunter). For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau at 517-241-9221.
- Can a Bail Bondsman employ solicitors?
Yes. Licensed insurance producers may employ solicitors; however, the solicitors must be licensed by DIFS and must be sponsored by the licensed insurance producer. The solicitor may perform all acts of the licensed insurance producer, except bind the surety company (i.e. sign a bond in place of, or on behalf of, the sponsoring licensed insurance producer).
- What should I do if I have a complaint against a bail bond agent (writer)?
File a complaint with our Consumer Assistance Section by calling 877-999-6442 or by utilizing the complaint form on our website. DIFS staff will investigate and take necessary action against bail bond writers who are under our regulatory jurisdiction pursuant to the Michigan Insurance Code.
In addition, file a complaint with the judge or the chief justice of the court to whom your case is assigned. The court should be able to remove egregious violators from their list of acceptable bail bond writers and take other actions allowed pursuant to Michigan law covering court operations.
The answers provided are not meant to be a substitute for legal advice.