Compliance/Disclosure

A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to promote accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every “consumer reporting agency” (CRA). Most CRAs are credit bureaus that gather and sell information about you – such as if you pay your bills on time or if you have filed bankruptcy – to creditors, employers, landlords, and other businesses. You can find the complete text of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681u, at the Federal Trade Commission’s web site (http://www.ftc.gov). The FCRA gives you specific rights, as outlined below. You may have additional rights under state law, and you may contact your state or local consumer protection agency or state attorney general to learn those rights.

  • You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses information from a CRA to take action against you – such as denying an application for credit, insurance, or employment – must tell you and give you the name, address, and phone number of the CRA that provided the consumer report.
  • You can find out what is in your file. At your request, a CRA must give you the information in your file and a list of everyone who has requested it recently. There is no charge for the report if a person has taken action against you because of information supplied by the CRA, if you request a report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. You also are entitled to one free report every twelve months upon request if you certify that (1) you are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate due to fraud. Otherwise, a CRA may charge you up to eight dollars.
  • You can dispute inaccurate information with the CRA. If you tell a CRA that your file contains inaccurate information, the CRA must investigate the items (usually within 30 days) by presenting to its information source all relevant evidence you submit, unless your dispute is frivolous. The source must review your evidence and report its findings to the CRA. (The source also must advise national CRA’s – to which it has provided the data – of any error.) The CRA must give you a written report of the investigation and a copy of your report if the investigation results in any change. If the CRA’s investigation does not resolve the dispute, you may add a brief statement to your file. The CRA must normally include a summary of your statement in future reports. If an item is deleted or a dispute statement is filed, you may ask that anyone who has recently received your report be notified of the change.
  • Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted. A CRA must remove or correct inaccurate or unverified information from its files, usually within 30 days after you dispute it. However, the CRA is not required to remove accurate data from your file unless it is outdated (as described below) or cannot be verified. If your dispute results in any change to your report, the CRA cannot reinsert into your file a disputed item unless the information source verifies its accuracy and completeness. In addition, the CRA must give you a written notice telling you it has reinserted the item. The notice must include the name, address, and phone number of the information source.
  • You can dispute inaccurate items with the source of the information. If you tell anyone – such as a creditor who reports to a CRA – that you dispute an item, they may not then report the information to a CRA without including a notice of your dispute. In addition, once you’ve notified the source of the error in writing, it may not continue to report the information if it is, in fact, an error.
  • Outdated information may not be reported. In most cases, a CRA may not report negative information that is more than seven years old; ten years for bankruptcies.
  • Access to your file is limited. A CRA may provide information about you only to people with a need recognized by the FCRA – usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business.
  • You may choose to exclude your name from CRA lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers. Creditors and insurers may use file information as the basis for sending you unsolicited offers of credit or insurance. Such offers must include a toll -free phone number for you to call if you want your name and address removed from future lists. If you call, you must be kept off the list for two years. If you request, complete, and return the CRA form provided for this purpose, you must be taken off the list indefinitely.
  • You may seek damages from violators. If a CRA, a user and/or (in some cases) a provider of CRA data violates the FCRA, you may be entitled to sue them in a federal court.

For FCRA questions or concerns regarding CRAs and creditors, please contact: The Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center – FCRA, Washington, DC 20580, or call them at 202-326-3761.

Errors & Omissions Coverage

Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC maintains professional liability (errors & omissions) issues policy with Wesport Insurance Corporation. This is a member company of Swiss Reinsurance Company, Ltd., one of the largest and strongest insurance groups in the world. Wesport Insurance Corporation is rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company, with a Financial Size Category of XV (having an adjusted policyholder surplus of $2BB or greater).

Goldleaf currently maintains a policy with limits of $5MM per occurrence and $5MM in the aggregate.

Only the Highest Standards Used for Surety Companies

Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC works with more than two dozen surety companies – all of whom are rated “Excellent” (or better) by A.M. Best Company and approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for bonding federal obligations (“T-Listed”).

Goldleaf will not place bonds with any B-rated (or less) surety companies, any individual or unrated sureties, or any companies not approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on the most current Department of the Treasury Circular 570.

2017 Fee Schedule

Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC* is a national surety broker and does not have a direct contractual relationship with any surety company or insurance company. Although we communicate daily with a large number of surety companies and regularly negotiate with these surety companies to secure their approval of bonds for our clients, we do not receive any direct or contingent compensation from any surety company. Our company’s only revenue is from amounts that we may negotiate with our clients as compensation for our services in setting up their accounts and working to place bonds for their businesses.

Generally speaking, Goldleaf does not charge any fees in connection with our initial and ongoing general consultations with clients or the other “value added” services we regularly provide to clients (outside of placing their bonds for them). These services may include counsel toward improving the client’s financial presentation, working with the client’s bankers and other professionals to improve the client’s credit and/or operating facilities, helping the client negotiate more favorable terms on their bonded work, helping the client develop improved risk management procedures, developing specialized structures to support the client’s bond needs, etc. (Goldleaf simply provides these services on an ongoing basis at no charge. We are not structured to keep track of and bill for such services on an hourly rate or a pre-determined annual fee. We also believe those types of fees and monthly billing arrangements would inhibit the type of open business relationship we desire with our clients.) However, there are occasions when our services require an extraordinary amount of time or render extraordinary value, and in these cases Goldleaf may negotiate a flat or percentage Broker Services Fee that is charged and collected at the time the client needs a bond (see below).

In the event we are successful in placing one or more surety bonds for an account, we may charge one or more of the following fees at the time the bond is to be released:

COMMERCIAL & MISCELLANEOUS BONDS

  • One-Time Bond Set-up Fee ($200) if not placed with a standard Surety market.
  • If due to low credit, weak financials or the type of bond we need to go to a specialty market, the underwriting fee will vary due to the additional information required.

CONTRACT BONDS

  • Annual Underwriting Fee ($295). Our annual underwriting fee is charged with the first final bond issued in the calendar year, and it covers our regular office expenses associated with (a) Placing all bid bonds, and (b) Providing standard underwriting assistance per year, for the entire year.
  • Credit Reports ($50 per report). We charge a “per report” amount to cover our regular office expenses and actual out-of-pocket expenses associated with obtaining Equifax personal credit reports and Dun & Bradstreet business credit reports.
  • Extraordinary Broker Services (negotiated). Occasionally, Goldleaf will expend an extraordinary amount of time and out-of-pocket expense in securing approval of a particular bond or obtaining approval of a surety program for a particular client. These situations usually derive from the nature of the bond needed or the class of work being performed. They also may arise in connection with a client’s financial/credit position. In these cases, Goldleaf does seek additional compensation for the value of its services, its in-house underwriting expertise and its unique market capacity. This compensation sometimes is charged out as a flat fee but more typically is based on some percentage of the bond amount that our clients and we agree reflects the value of the services rendered. Since each case is different and the value of our services usually is negotiated on a “relative” basis (relative to the bond amount or the size of the contract opportunity), these fees are not subject to a “fixed fee” schedule as our regular broker fees are (above). All this being said, we do covenant with our clients that:
  • Goldleaf will not charge any amount of this type of fee without prior, written disclosure of the amount and the basis for our charges.
  • We always will obtain our client’s consent/agreement to the amount and basis for these fees before we ever actually invoice for them.

Credit Card Payments

Refunds on Bond Premium vary based on bond type and are completely dependent upon receiving the refund back from the surety before Goldleaf Surety can refund any premium.

Advisements/Disclosures Concerning Goldleaf’s Relationship with Acora Surety & Insurance Services, LLC, Our Compensation as a Broker, and Possibility of Additional Agency Compensation to Acora

Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC* is a national surety broker. We coordinate the issuance of bonds for clients working in all 50 states, Washington DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All of the bonds we coordinate are written by surety companies that are rated “Excellent” (or better) by A.M. Best Company and are approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for bonding federal obligations (“T-Listed”).

As a surety broker, Goldleaf does not have a direct contractual relationship with any surety company or insurance company. Although we communicate daily with a large number of surety companies and regularly negotiate with these surety companies to secure their approval of bonds for our clients, we do not receive any direct or contingent compensation from any surety company. Our company’s only revenue is from amounts that we may negotiate with our clients as compensation for our services in setting up their accounts and working to place bonds for their businesses.

If we place a bond on your behalf, Goldleaf’s charges for regular services to you typically will be based off a standardized schedule we have for our annual underwriting fees, fees for obtaining credit reports, etc. This schedule of charges varies from year to year, and the itemized amounts are always available to you on our website.

In addition to simply helping place bonds for your company, Goldleaf regularly provides “value added” services beyond the particular transaction. These services may include counsel toward improving your company’s financial presentation, working with your bankers and other professionals to improve your company’s credit and/or operating facilities, helping you negotiate more favorable terms on your bonded work, helping you manage your own risk differently, developing specialized structures to support your company’s bond needs, etc. Generally speaking, Goldleaf provides these services on an ongoing basis at no charge. We are not structured to keep track of and bill for such services on an hourly rate or a pre-determined annual fee. We also believe those types of fees and monthly billing arrangements would inhibit the type of open business relationship we desire with our clients.

Occasionally, Goldleaf will expend an extraordinary amount of time and out-of-pocket expense in securing approval of a particular bond or obtaining approval of a surety program for a particular client. These situations usually derive from the nature of the bond needed or the class of work being performed. They also may arise in connection with a client’s financial/credit position. In these cases, Goldleaf does seek additional compensation for the value of its services, its in-house underwriting expertise and its unique market capacity. This compensation sometimes is charged out as a flat fee but more typically is based on some percentage of the bond amount that our clients and we agree reflects the value of the services rendered. Since each case is different and the value of our services usually is negotiated on a “relative” basis (relative to the bond amount or the size of the contract opportunity), these fees are not subject to a “fixed fee” schedule as our regular broker fees are. All this being said, we do covenant with our clients that:

Goldleaf will not charge any amount of this type of fee without prior, written disclosure of the amount and the basis for our charges

We always will obtain our client’s consent/agreement to the amount and basis for these fees before we ever actually invoice for them.

Acora Surety & Insurance Services, LLC** is the agency that issues most of the bonds placed by Goldleaf Surety Services. Acora is duly licensed to write surety bonds in all 50 states, Washington DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently represents more than twenty surety companies. All of the surety companies that Acora represents are rated “Excellent” (or better) by A.M. Best Company and are approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for bonding federal obligations (“T-Listed”).

Acora is owned by the same parent company as Goldleaf Surety Services – Goldleaf Financial, Ltd.

It is standard practice for surety companies to pay their agencies a commission calculated from the premium charged on the bond. This commission typically is Acora’s principal remuneration for the issuance and service of the surety bonds it issues. However, some surety companies offer their agencies an opportunity for possible additional compensation above the standard commission structure. This additional compensation usually is based on a variety of factors determined by the surety company and relates to overall performance standards they wish the agency to meet. For example, factors affecting contingent commissions may include the overall premium volume the particular agency places with their company, specific goals for the growth of that volume, the agency’s retention of accounts with them, the claims experience or “aggregate loss experience” of accounts the agency writes with them, etc.

If the surety company issuing bonds for one of Goldleaf’s clients has arrangements in place with Acora for this type of contingent compensation (in addition to the standard commission arrangements between the parties), the amount of the additional compensation is not and cannot be itemized here. [ This is true, because that contingent commissions may become payable to Acora depend on a variety of factors that cannot be determined in advance or even at the time any single bond is issued.] (The amounts payable under these programs typically are calculated at the end of each calendar year and are paid in the following year). It also is because these forms of additional compensation relate generally to all of the other bonds Acora may write with that surety company during the course of a year (and only indirectly to any particular bond).

Please be advised that Acora also may realize a small amount of income each year from interest income earned on premiums customers pay to it (while Acora is in possession of those funds but before it remits the net premiums owed to the surety companies) as well from Acora’s standard charges for overnight courier services and other direct expenses incurred in connection with the issuance and delivery of its bonds. Because an agency’s office and accounting systems typically are not designed to capture and allocate the actual interest earned and actual costs of this type (as may incurred specifically in connection with each individual client’s account), these types of additional income also are not and cannot be itemized here.

If you have any questions about Goldleaf’s broker services and fees, our relationship with Acora, and/or Acora’s commissions or other remuneration arising in connection with your bonds, please contact the Goldleaf Surety Services Bond Specialist that is helping you with your bond at (toll free) 1-888-294-6747.

Related Companies

Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC* is a national surety broker. We coordinate the issuance of bonds for clients working in all 50 states, Washington DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All of the bonds we coordinate are written by surety companies that are rated “Excellent” (or better) by A.M. Best Company and are approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for bonding federal obligations (“T-Listed”).

We are related to the following companies:

  • Goldleaf Financial, Ltd. Goldleaf Financial is the parent company of Goldleaf Surety Services and the following related companies. Goldleaf Financial also owns interests in other business ventures not connected with the U.S. surety industry.
  • Goldleaf Surety & Insurance Services, Inc. This company is owned and operated by Goldleaf Surety Services. It performs the same function as its parent and was formed for the sole purpose of complying with the licensing requirements of the State of California (where the word “insurance” must be in the name for the licensee even if the entity is not in the business of selling insurance).
  • Acora Surety & Insurance Services, LLC.** Acora is the agency that issues most of the bonds for which Goldleaf Surety Services has arranged a surety company’s approval. Acora also wholesales certain errors & omissions insurance policies on a surplus lines basis. This agency is duly licensed to write surety bonds in all 50 states, Washington DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently

* Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC, does business in California through “Goldleaf Surety & Insurance Services, Inc.,” and does business in Michigan as “Goldleaf Surety Services Agency, LLC.”

** In Michigan, Acora Surety & Insurance Services, LLC, does business as “Acora Surety & Insurance Services Agency, LLC.”