If you enjoy providing a needed service involving the criminal justice system and are interested in finance, the following guide will guide you through what it takes to become a bail bondsman in New Hampshire:
The most recent criminal court numbers out of New Hampshire show that between the superior and district courts there were over 156,000 cases filed in 2010 alone. For professional bail agents, also known as bail bondsmen, that number represents a segment of the population who could directly benefit from bail services. Professional bondsmen strive to get their clients out of jail and back to their jobs and family while their cases are being processed.
Step 1. Making Sure You are Qualified in New Hampshire
Before setting foot into the professional bondsman world it is a good idea to have a firm grounding in a relevant field of study. Although there are no official New Hampshire bail bondsmen school requirements, you should be comfortable dealing with people from a variety of backgrounds, and knowledgeable of the finance and insurance field, as well as the court system. Having a certificate or degree in any of the following subjects can offer notable advantages:
- Criminal Justice
- Law Enforcement
- Finance and Insurance
A good starting point to begin training for bail bondsman jobs in New Hampshire is to learn the laws governing the profession, found in Chapter 598 in the statute regarding proceedings in criminal cases.
Besides being at least 18 years old you should also not have any convictions for crimes of moral turpitude or felonies, nor have been previously denied a license in New Hampshire or any other state. You will need to provide an explanation to the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation if you cannot meet these standards.
Step 2. Obtaining a New Hampshire Property and Liability Insurance Agent License
One of the principal New Hampshire bail bondsman license requirements stipulates that you must obtain a state Property and Liability Insurance Agent License. This is issued through the New Hampshire Insurance Department and involves two steps with contracting business partners:
- Prometric is the vendor contracted by the state to administer a competency test for would-be Insurance Producers for Property and Liability Insurance
- The National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) handles the application for Producer Agents for Property and Liability Insurance, which when complete will be evaluated and forwarded to the New Hampshire Insurance Department who may then issue an Insurance Agent License
Your first step in becoming a licensed insurance agent is to pass the Insurance Producer for Property and Liability competency exam. You can register for this online, and the exam is comprised of 150 questions to be completed in as many minutes. Prometric also provides a content outline for the exam, which covers the following:
- Insurance regulations
- General insurance
- Basics of property and Liability insurance
- Dwelling, homeowners, and auto insurance
- Commercial package policy
- Business owner policy
- Workers compensation
- Other coverage
There is a $100 registration fee and upon successful completion of the exam you will be ready to apply with the NIPR. You can also take practice exams for $25 each.
National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR)
Next you will apply with the NIPR. This involves filling out an online application and providing information about your professional work and criminal history. The NIPR will notify the New Hampshire Insurance Department if you have met the licensing requirements and the Insurance Department will then begin the proceedings to license you as an Insurance Agent. At this point you must also submit the following to the New Hampshire Insurance Department, and if everything is approved you will become a licensed insurance agent in the state:
- $210 licensing fee
- Results of your Prometric insurance exam
Step 3. Other Pre-Bondsman License Requirements in New Hampshire
There are three other items you will need to take care of before you will be ready to submit an application for licensure as a professional bondsman in New Hampshire:
- Make an appointment with the Bureau of Securities Regulation to take their Bondsman Exam
- File a $10,000 fidelity bond with an insurance company that is not engaged in the bail bond business; check a local directory for fidelity bond company listings
- Partner with a New Hampshire-licensed surety bail insurance company that will grant you power of attorney to write bail bonds; these companies can also be located by searching local directories
Step 4. Bondsman Licensure with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation
Having successfully completed the steps up to this point, you will now be ready to apply for a license to work as a bail bondsman in the Granite State. Along with your completed Professional Bondsman Application you also need to submit the following materials to the Bureau of Securities Regulation:
- $400 application fee plus $100 per county where you will be conducting business
- Proof and description of your fidelity bond, plus the original bond itself
- Criminal Records Release form plus a $25 fee
- Proof of a sponsoring surety insurance company’s grant of power of attorney
- Consent to Service of Process form U-2
- Copy of your Property and Liability Insurance License
Step 5. Renewing your New Hampshire Professional Bondsman License
Your New Hampshire Professional Bondsman License is valid for two years and you must have submitted a complete application for renewal at least 60 days before its expiration date. Renewals are processed through the NIPR and as part of this process you will need to submit the following:
- Proof of 24 hours of continuing education including at least three hours in ethics
- $150 renewal fee
- Annual county registration fee of $100 for each county where you write bonds
It is also a good idea to stay current with state regulations to avoid breaking the law and incurring any fines. You may find it helpful to consult the New Hampshire Association of Insurance Agents (NHAIA) for industry news, information about continuing education, or tips on becoming licensed in Property and Liability.
You should also keep in mind that if you decide to engage in bail recovery activities yourself or to hire bounty hunters you will need to obtain liability insurance for the amount of $300,000.