The following guide will instruct you on the steps of how to become a bail bondsman in Montana:
|Establish a Bail Bond Foundation in Montana|
|Apply for Montana Licensure as an Individual Insurance Producer|
|Working in Montana|
|Renewing your Montana License|
Statewide last year, Montana’s courts saw 8,312 criminal cases along with 189 criminal appeals. Had it not been for the state’s bail bond agencies many of the defendants in these cases would have had to wait in jail until their cases were decided. However, because the option of contracting with a bail bondsman was available, these people were able to remain in the community and go about their daily lives.
Going to work in the bail bond business can pose a challenge to newcomers who must learn to navigate both the criminal justice system and the finance field, but is equally interesting and rewarding when with bounty hunters and absconded clients.
Step 1. Establishing a Bail Bond Foundation in Montana
Having a strong academic foundation before starting a new career as a bail bond agent can give you notable advantages over your competition, although there are no formal Montana bail bondsmen school requirements. The bail bond industry requires several different types of skills, and if you already have certification or a degree in any of the following fields you will more than likely be starting out one step ahead of your rivals:
- Criminal Justice
Step 2. Applying for Montana Licensure
The regulatory body for Montana bail bond agents is the State Auditor’s Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI). Stipulated as part of the Montana bail bondsmen license requirements, you must become registered as an individual insurance producer with the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). The NIPR will take care of your license application, which can be made online or by submitting a paper application, and relay this information to the CSI. The Montana CSI will issue your insurance producer’s license which allows you to legally work in the state as a bail bondsman at no charge for Montana residents. To be eligible to apply for this license you must:
- Be a citizen of, or eligible to work in, the United States
- Have no outstanding child support obligations
- Pay a $5 fee to the NIPR
Step 3. Working in Montana
As its residents know, the State of Montana prides itself on interfering as little as possible in the lives of private citizens and business affairs. This being said, there are still strict consequences for bail bond agents who knowingly or unknowingly break the law. These can be in the form of fines, civil or criminal lawsuits, and jail time. For example, when contracting with bounty hunters to return bailed fugitives to justice, bail bond agents must ensure the applicable state laws are followed during the process of capture and return or face up to a $5,000 fine for each violation with additional potential consequences for their insurance license.
Step 4. Renewing your Montana License
Your record as a bail agent is one of the factors considered when you apply with the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI) for an insurance license renewal. You will need to do this before your license expires every two years. Similar to your initial application, a renewal application is made through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) for a $5 fee, though the renewed license is also issued by the CSI.
As part of the renewal process you will need to demonstrate you are keeping up on the latest training for bail bondsman jobs in Montana, and that means meeting a certain number of hours of continuing education:
- At least three hours of credit in ethics
- At least one hour of credit in legislative changes in administrative rules and Montana insurance statutes
- A total of five hours of credit in ethics, surety bail bonds, and insurance law
Proof of these may be submitted on an official continuing education form.
Bail bondsmen who are interested in networking with their colleagues, staying up on the latest industry news, and other insurance resources can join a local organization such as the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Montana (IIAM) or the Surety and Fidelity Association of America (SFAA).