The following steps will take interested candidates through the process of how to become a bail bondsman in Michigan:
|Meet Michigan Prerequisites to Insurance Licensure|
|Finding a Sponsoring Insurance Agency in Michigan|
|Become Licensed with an Insurance Company in Michigan|
|Become Approved by the Specific Court in Michigan|
|Conducting Business in Michigan|
The bail bonds industry supports a win-win situation, providing a vital service that allows arrestees to be released from custody, while allowing the bondsman to turn a profit. In 2012 Michigan judges dealt with over 57,000 criminal cases that saw a significant percentage of defendants granted bail. For bail bondsmen to go into business in Michigan, they must undergo an insurance licensing and judicial registration procedure. For this reason bail bondsmen in Michigan are referred to as bail bond writers.
Step 1. Prerequisites for Being Licensed in Michigan
Before becoming licensed with an insurance company through the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), prospective bail bondsmen must meet certain minimum requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Complete pre-licensing education
- Must meet the requirements set out by Section 500.1239 of the Insurance Code of 1956, including:
- No felony convictions
- Be current on all Michigan State business taxes
- No prior fraudulent or unfair practice behavior in the insurance industry
- Have not obtained a license through misrepresentation
Step 2. Find a Sponsoring Insurance Agency in Michigan
In order to be eligible to take the license exam, you’ll need to locate an insurance agency sponsor who will provide P&C lines of authority as well as a fidelity and surety appointment. You will need to locate your own sponsoring insurance company, which can be found in local advertisement, the phone book, or online.
A sponsoring insurance agency will also steer you through the course study and final exam.
Step 3. Take the Necessary Courses and Study for the Michigan Licensing Exam
Once you have secured a sponsor, you will be able to take the required Limited Lines Property and Casualty (LLPC) Exam.
Before taking the exam, you will need to be adequately prepared with knowledge related to a Property and Casualty (P&C) line of authority. Candidates can avoid the requirement to take pre-licensing courses by meeting certain bail bondsmen school requirements such as having college credits related to insurance, economics and finance.
Without the right college credits, 40 hours of pre-licensing courses specific to the Property and Casualty (P&C) line of authority are necessary. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services can assist you in locating pre-licensing course providers,
Step 4. Gaining Approval by Courts and Judges in Michigan
Michigan law requires you as a bail bondsmen to acquire approval of business character and financial status through each court and jurisdiction in which you operate.
You’ll need to contact each jurisdiction to determine its registration procedure, which generally includes:
- Confirmation of the proper Michigan bail bondsman insurance licensure
- Proof of a good moral character
- Verification of a clean financial record
Step 5. Conducting Business in Michigan
As a bail bondsmen developing your business, you will find knowledge in particular fields to be valuable. Although 24 hours of continuing education are required every year to maintain an insurance license, you will also find gaining education in the following subjects can be advantageous for your field of employment:
- Criminal Justice
- Law Enforcement
- Business Administration
As a bondsmen, you may also find it helpful to employ the services of bounty hunters to return bail skippers to the custody of the courts, thereby preventing losses. Bounty hunters in Michigan have relatively few regulations, and state law stipulates that law enforcement officers must assist them when possible to bring fugitives into compliance with the terms of their bail agreement.
Once licensed and employed, you may consider joining a professional association like the Michigan Property & Casualty Guaranty Association.