History of Bonding

Suretyship is an ancient practice, with the first documentation contained in the Code of Hammurabi, circa 1790 BC, which outlined requirements for individuals to act as surety. The practice of an individual co-guaranteeing the obligations of another for a pre-determined fee spread throughout the Fertile Crescent and is reflected in the early legal codes of Carthage, Persia, Assyria, Rome, Babylon the ancient Hebrews and as far West as the British Isles.  The oldest surviving written surety contract is a contract of financial guarantee executed in Babylonia in 670 BC. Modern principles of suretyship have their roots in Roman jurisprudence enacted starting around 150 AD. 


In the 19th century contractor defaults on public works placed an escalating burden on taxpayers, and in response Congress passed the Heard Act in 1894 to authorize the use of corporate surety bonds to secure all federally funded projects, since liens cannot be placed against these by unpaid subs or suppliers. More recently, the Miller Act was passed in 1935 and this is the current authority mandating surety bonds on federal public works projects. Under this legislation performance bonds are required on public works contracts in excess of $100,000 and payment protect, preferably a payment bond, on contracts above $25,000. Most states and local jurisdictions have enacted similar legislation requiring surety bonds on public works which are referred to as Little Miller Acts. For example, the State of Florida recently increased the minimum level above which a performance bond is required from $100,000 to $500,000. 


The surety industry is in a period of high loss activity, and this has resulted in a reduction in the number of surety companies through failures and mergers, which in turn has reduced industry capacity.  Since bonding is a requirement to access public works, part of an effective business plan is to have a well-qualified bond agent who knows how to maximize your bonding capacity. With over 30 years experience including both company underwriting positions and as an agent interacting with many bonding companies, I have the skills necessary to help my clients navigate tough conditions in the bond market. I can be reached at 503-445-8404 or jewald@epbb.com.



Windstorm Damage: Are you covered?

Windstorms are common in the Northwest and can cause significant damage whenever they occur.  Storms lashing the area can leave downed trees, debris and thousands of homeowners can be left without power.  Don’t be left in the dark when it comes to your insurance coverage for damage following a windstorm.

Depending upon your coverages, you can rely on your insurance company to shoulder much of the cost to repair any damage to your home or vehicle.

Elliott, Powell, Baden & Baker Insurance offer these tips to help speed the process of getting your life back to normal if your home or vehicle are damaged during a wind storm.

Continue reading “Windstorm Damage: Are you covered?”


Know Your Limits

You’re on vacation in Hawaii.  You look down at your hand and realize your $10,000 wedding ring is missing.  No problem, it’s covered under your homeowners policy, right?  Wrong.  You call your insurance company only to learn that “mysterious disappearance” is not a covered cause of loss on your homeowners policy but even if it was, there is a limit of only $1,500 for jewelry.

Did you know that most homeowners policies have limits for items like jewelry, silver and firearms?  Not all policies are created equal.  These limits vary from carrier to carrier and even within carriers depending on the type of homeowners policy you have.

Chubb “Deluxe”

Hartford “Silver Package”

Safeco “NQ Plus”

Travelers “Platinum”









No Limit








Discuss your valuables with your insurance agent.  There are likely endorsements you can add or additional “Valuable Articles” policies that can be purchased to properly insure your valuables.  These endorsements or additional policies often do more than just increase the limit paid by your insurance company.  They may also elimate your deductible and be covered for more loss situations than your standard Homeowners policy  (ex. “mysterious disappearance”).  If  you have questions about your limits please give us a call (503) 227-1771.

Note:  typically, only items worth $10,000 or more will require a recent appraisal before insuring.