What is a Fingerprinting Bond?

Fingerprinting license bonds are a subset of the broader license bond category that must be filed with the government agency (city, county, or state) responsible for regulating record keeping activity in the provider’s jurisdiction as a condition of licensure for most fingerprinting providers. Maryland handles fingerprinting licensing directly and is currently the only state with such a bond requirement. 

Fingerprinting license bonds must be issued by insurance carriers admitted in the state where the government agency requiring the bond resides. The insurance carrier issuing any surety bond, such as a fingerprinting license bond, will also be referred to as the “surety company” or the “bond company”. Fingerprinting license bonds refer to the provider as the Principal, the surety bond company as the Obligor and the government agency as the Obligee.

Why is a fingerprinting bond required?

Fingerprinting providers are required to purchase license bonds by state statutes to protect a government agency by transferring to a surety bond company the cost of ensuring the public is compensated for damages resulting from the provider violating the private fingerprint provider agreement. The surety company provides the government a guarantee (the surety bond) that the customers of a licensed fingerprinting provider will receive payment for financial damages due to a violation of the statutes and regulations pertaining to the fingerprinting license up to a limit specified in the bond (“penal sum” or “bond amount”). The bond company also directly receives claims from the public and determines the validity of claims. Ultimately, providers are responsible for their actions and required by law to reimburse the surety company for any payments made under the bond or face indefinite license suspension. 

Fingerprinting license bond violations triggering a bond payout may include a contractor failing to ensure and regulate the security of the fingerprinting information system and/or failure to follow procedures for ensuring the information provided is accurate and complete as pertains to the provider's license requirements.  

How much does a fingerprinting bond cost?

Fingerprinting license bonds cost $250 for a 3 year bond.

Example: $10,000 Maryland Private Finger Printing Provider Bond

Bond Amount Bond Term Bond Cost
$10,000 3 Year $250
 

Is a Credit Check Required for Fingerprinting Bonds?

Credit checks are not required for Fingerprinting bonds.

How does the wording in the bond form impact the cost of a fingerprinting bond?

The bond form is a tri-party agreement which defines the rights and obligations of the government agency (obligee), surety company (obligor) and fingerprinting provider(principal). While many bond forms use similar language, each bond form can be customized by the government agency requiring the specific bond and may contain provisions that increase potential costs for the surety company, which will  ultimately be passed on to the provider via higher bond premiums, stricter underwriting or collateral. The primary text to consider in a fingerprinting license bond surrounds (1) aggregate limits, (2) cancellation provisions and (3) forfeiture clauses.

Aggregate Limits
Bond forms always specify the penal sum defined as the maximum amount of financial damages any single party can recover from the bond related to a single claim occurrence. Most bond forms also contain a clause which limits the amount of financial damages from all parties and all claims to a specific amount (“aggregate limit”), usually the same amount as the penal sum. For example, a $15,000 fingerprinting license bond with an aggregate limit of $15,000 will pay out no more than $15,000, regardless of the number of damaged parties or claim occurrences. Fingerprinting license bonds without an aggregate limit will be more expensive than a bond with similar coverage containing an aggregate limit.

Cancellation Provisions
Most bonds contain a provision allowing for the surety company to cancel the bond (“Cancellation Provision”) by providing a notice to the contractor and government agency requiring the bond with the cancellation taking effect within a set period of time, usually 30 days (“Cancellation Period”). Cancellation provisions allow the surety company to cancel the bond for any reason, but most often due to the fingerprinting provider failing to pay premiums due or claim payouts. Fingerprinting provider bonds with no cancellation provision or cancellation periods greater than 30 days will be more expensive than a bond with similar coverage containing a standard cancellation provision.

Forfeiture Clause
Surety bond claims are paid by surety companies to damaged parties to reimburse that party for the financial loss incurred up to the bond penalty amount. Certain bonds contain a clause which requires the surety company to pay the full bond penalty to the damaged party, regardless of the actual damages incurred (“Forfeiture Clause”). Fingerprinting bonds with forfeiture clauses will be more expensive than a bond with similar coverage that does not contain the clause.  

Where can I find more information on a specific fingerprinting bond?

To find information on specific fingerprinting license bonds, select the state and use our search function to find any requirement across the country.

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