New Bonding Requirements for New Hampshire Private Investigative Agencies
A new bill that is currently being discussed in New Hampshire may change the licensing requirements for private investigators, security guards, and bail bondsmen in the state.
House Bill 115 was introduced in the New Hampshire House on December 26, 2018 and had its first public hearing at the end of January 2019. If enacted, it would alter the bonding criteria that applicants have to fulfill prior to launching their legal operations. More specifically, it would set the surety bond requirement to be no less than $50,000.
Below you can find out what the legal changes would be for New Hampshire security professionals if the bill becomes law, and how to stay compliant.
The proposed changes in House Bill 115
Private investigators, security guards, and bail bondsmen in New Hampshire have to undergo a licensing process with the state Department of Safety before they can launch operations. They have to meet a range of criteria set by the state authority which ensure that they are suitable for conducting such investigative and security services.
Posting a surety bond is among the obligatory requirements. It is a safety mechanism that many professionals across the country have to provide. Its purpose is to ensure that licensees will comply with all applicable laws and will conduct their business lawfully, thus protecting the interests of their customers. A party that suffers damages due to a licensee’s illegal actions can file a claim against the bond and thus seek a fair reimbursement.
Currently, the bond is set at $50,000, and another $50,000 is required for any additional type of license applied for. However, the new bill aims to change this rule by requiring the bond to be no less than $50,000 for a single license. This means that the Department would be able to assess whether an applicant has to provide a higher bonding amount on a case-by-case basis. This may be deemed necessary if the Department sees the security professional as an applicant not fulfilling fully its security criteria.
The impact of the potential changes on licensees
In case House Bill 115 is enacted in the 2019 legislative session, New Hampshire private investigative agencies, bail recovery agents, and security services providers may face stricter bonding requirements. The new rules would give the state Department of Safety more flexibility to assess the trustworthiness of applicants for these sensitive types of professional licenses. Thus, the goal of the potential changes is to increase the accountability of security professionals.
For private investigators, bail bondsmen, and security guards, having to post a higher bond amount would mean increased costs at the time of licensing. In order to get bonded, applicants have to cover a percentage of the required bond amount. The higher it is, the larger the bond price that they have to pay. Typically, the bond premiums are in the range of 1% to 5%, depending on the financial strength of the professionals.
If you're planning to become a private investigator in New Hampshire, make sure you are aware of all the requirements that you have to satisfy.
How do you see the new bonding criteria affecting your private investigator, bail recovery, or security services business in New Hampshire? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, a surety agency that helps private investigators get bonded. Vic graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.