Underground Storage Tanks Financial Responsibility

Underground storage tank

Preventing or Repairing Environmental Damage

In 1986 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began developing a program to protect the environment from leaking underground storage tanks (UST), and put into place financial responsibility regulations for owners and operators of facilities storing petroleum. The EPA estimates that there are over a million underground storage tanks that are owned nationwide and that sell gasoline to the public; thus the need for financial responsibility to ensure cleanup of spills and leaks, and to provide compensation for third-party damages.

Since cleaning up leaks may be costly, the program started a financial responsibility requirement to ensure that owner/operators clean up spills and overfills, repair or replace leaking corrosive tanks and lines, and provide compensation for third parties if any bodily injury or property damage occurs. This not only protects the environment, but it also protects the owners from costly cleanups or lawsuits by third-party damages.

Convenience stores, gas stations and local governments that utilize underground tanks must comply with the financial responsibility requirements. The definition of an underground storage tank is defined is any “tank that has at least 10% of its combined volume underground,” has piping connected to it, and stores petroleum.  Farms and residential tanks, federal and state government tanks along with a few other exceptions are not required to provide proof of financial responsibility.

There are several types of financial responsibility that can be used to satisfy the requirement.  These include:

  1. A Surety Bond: A guarantee that the owner/operator will perform the tasks required in the bond.
  2. Obtain insurance coverage: A policy obtained through an insurance company or risk retention group.
  3. Obtain a letter of credit: This is a contract issued (usually) by a bank that guarantees payments for specific conditions.
  4. Obtain a guarantee: Another firm guarantees the coverage amount and can pass the “financial test.”
  5. Pass the financial test: Owner/operators can provide proof of a tangible net worth of at least $10 million.
  6. Set up a trust fund: That is administered by a third party.
  7. Use of the state financial assurance funds: Some states have funds retained to assist with third-party liability and cleanups of spills or leaking tanks.
  8. Other state financial responsibility options: This is dependent on the state in which the underground storage tank is located and the rules that are applicable for its use.
  9. Local governments have additional compliance requirements (see 40 CFR Part 280).

The amount of financial responsibility that is required varies by state and whether there are assurance funds available.  States such as Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin all have some form of the financial responsibility requirement.

Owner/operators that choose to obtain a surety bond (in some states it is referred to as a performance bond) can apply for the bond they need with SuretyGroup.com.  The bond amount may be determined by the number of gallons of petroleum that pass through the tank on an annual basis, or other conditions may apply based on the state requirements.  The premium you pay for the bond will be based on the bond amount the state is requiring, and the owner’s credit. For bond amounts over $50,000, financial statements will be needed.

Call for a free, no-obligation quote. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Financial Responsibility for Virginia Underground Storage Tanks

Underground storage tank

Permitting Underground Storage Tanks

In 1987, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality implemented an Underground Storage Tank Program to receive federal grant money to conduct cleanups, oversee inspections and develop standards to protect human health and the environment. Underground storage tanks pose environmental risks due to contamination and leaking of fuel into the ground, which has the potential to affect drinking water. Because of this risk, The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires business owners of service stations, convenience stores and other non-marketers to have a permit to store hazardous substances.

Currently there are approximately 75,000 underground storage tanks in Virginia which must have permits and require inspections to ensure that tanks and lines are in acceptable conditions, and that any new installations, repairs, and upgrades are completed to code. Inspections must also be conducted for underground storage tanks that are no longer needed or meet safety standards and proper closure steps were taken.

In addition to permits and inspections, underground storage tank facilities must have a spill containment plan for any spills that occur at the fill pipe, have a notification system in place for overfills, a deterioration protection for product lines and tanks, a release detection monitoring system, and a form of financial responsibility for third party exposure.

Owner/operators of UST’s have an “annual gallons pass through” that determines the amount of financial responsibility for corrective actions that will be required. The financial responsibility is determined based on a sliding scale that takes into account the gallons of fuel that passes through on an annual basis.  For instance, if the “gallons that pass through” is less than 600,000 gallons, the financial responsibility required for each corrective action is $5,000 per occurrence, $15,000 for third party claims and a total occurrence of $20,000. If the annual amount of gallons passing through exceeds certain thresholds, the financial responsibility amount increases, up to a maximum of $150,000 for a third party claim.

Financial Responsibility

The form of financial responsibility the owner/operator will need to have to meet the state requirement can be:  a surety bond, a letter of credit, or a self-insurance trust agreement.  A surety bond can be obtained based on the bond amount required.

The bond is a guarantee that the owner/operator will pay the costs for the clean-up of a release or leak and will compensate anyone that may have been harmed as a result of the leak.

Keeping the environment and human health safe is not an easy task, and the regulations and statutes put into place by the State of Virginia and the US Environmental Protection Agency are there for a reason. Owner/operators must ensure their UST’s meet the safety standards and must meet the financial responsibility requirements to protect the environment and human health.  Obtaining a surety bond is as simple as applying online at SuretyGroup.com.

Call for a free, no-obligation quote. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Indiana Cleans Up Old Notary Public Laws

notary public

Out With the Old …

Indiana State legislators have recognized that the current state notary public laws are outdated, and have taken measures to improve regulations for notaries.

Indiana currently has over 90,000 certified notaries. A Notary Public is a public officer of the state who is authorized by law to certify documents, take affidavits and administer oaths.

The Governor signed new legislation, Title 33, Article 42 (IC 33-42), that will take effect July 1, 2018.

In With the New …

The new laws include:

  • Increase in maximum fees
  • Increase in notary public bond amount from $5,000 to $25,000.  The bond protects the public against any financial loss due to improper conduct. The average settlement against a notary public is $18,000.
  • Education requirement to receive or renew commission. Currently, applicants take a short test, where unlimited guesses are allowed. The new law expands the test, and notaries are required to take an educational course every two years during their commission.
  • Mileage fees may be charged for mobile notaries. Current law only allows notaries to charge a $2 fee, and notaries can often spend more than that in gas. The new law allows notaries to charge travel expenses at the federal mileage rate, plus up to $10 for notary services.
  • Proof of a bond. Currently, notaries don’t have to give proof of being bonded. They just have to say they have a bond.
  • Do not have to be an Indiana resident. Current laws state that only Indiana residents can be an Indiana notary public. This can be an issue for those who live near the border in a neighboring state, but work in Indiana. The new law allows those who live in another state, but are employed in Indiana, to become a notary.

Grandfathering

Notary commissions are issued for eight years.  Notaries will be grandfathered in during their current commission. Once that commission expires and needs to be renewed, then new adjustments will need to be made.

The Secretary of State’s office has an online Notary system for applicants to submit new applications, renewals, and update information. It also includes a training module for new applicants, which also serves as a refresher for current notaries.

More information is available at the Indiana Notary Public Guide.

If you’re a notary public for Indiana, SuretyGroup.com can help you get the surety bond you need for compliance. Call us today and we’ll give you a free, no-obligation quote, low rates and fast service. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

 

 

 

Vermont Rental Company License Surety Bond

A car on a rental car lot.A car rental company in Vermont is a person or business that offers pleasure cars for rent on a short-term basis, with “short-term” meaning less than one year.

Vermont’s Department of Motor Vehicles requires short-term vehicle rental companies to obtain a license. This includes rentals of trailer coaches and trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or less, and trailers and semi-trailers weighing 3,000 pounds or less.

If a rental company’s yearly tax liability is greater than $5,000, then they must also submit a surety bond along with their license application. The amount is determined by using the total of the two highest months of liability in the preceding year, but it will not exceed $400,000. New rental companies must submit a $1,000 bond with their application. The amount for the bond is renewed annually, and the Commissioner may raise the amount to whatever it deems necessary to protect the revenues of the state.

A letter of credit will be accepted in lieu of a bond, and must be submitted with a current financial statement.

SuretyGroup.com is licensed to write surety bonds in Vermont. We offer Vermont Rental Companies free, no-obligation quotes, low rates and fast service.

SuretyGroup.com offers great rates, same day service and best of all, SuretyGroup.com has the bond you need! Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call our Surety Bond Specialists today at 1‑844‑432‑6637.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

 

Maryland Mortgage Lenders and Mortgage Brokers

A house and key

Surety Bond Requirements

Maryland is a state of abundant waterways, coastlines and the Atlantic Ocean, and is in close proximity to the hub of many federal services.  The state offers many historic landmarks, renowned colleges and universities and is the home of the Baltimore Ravens National Football League.  Residents of the state often make the commute to Washington D.C. for their jobs and reside in Maryland due to the lower cost of housing.

As with many other states, Maryland is also experiencing a growing real estate market where housing inventories are low and sales are high, and home buyers must make quick decisions when deciding on the house they want to purchase.  As a condition of most real estate purchases, the home buyers must have a letter of pre-qualification from a lender to ensure that they most likely can qualify for a mortgage loan to complete the purchase transaction.

To obtain a pre-qualification letter, a home buyer can turn to a mortgage lender or mortgage broker.  Mortgage lenders make loans directly to a buyer where as a mortgage broker works with many lenders. The state of Maryland requires all mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers to be licensed to offer mortgage related services for compensation.

In order to obtain a Maryland mortgage lender or mortgage broker license, they must first provide evidence of a sufficient business net worth.  The minimum net worth requirement is $25,000 if the business offers broker and/or services only.  A minimum net worth of $25,000 is required for lender services in which a loan is secured by residential real property.  The net worth increases to a maximum of $250,000 based on the volume of loans in the previous 12 months.

Mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers must secure a surety bond that is also based on the volume of loans from the previous 12 months.  The minimum surety bond requirement is $50,000 and covers total annual loan volumes up to $3,000,000.  If the total loan volume goes over $3,000,000 but is less than $10,000,000, a $100,000 surety bond is required.  For total loan volumes exceeding $10,000,000, the surety bond requirement is increased to $150,000.

Maryland mortgage lenders and brokers play a significant role in the home purchasing process. SuretyGroup.com has the bond that is needed to meet the license requirement.  We offer free, no-obligation quotes, low rates and fast service. Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call us today at 1‑844‑432‑6637!

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

The Repo Man Must Follow the Law

A Car is being repossessedColorado Repossessors Must Have a Surety Bond

The Repo Man can keep quite busy when people don’t make their car payments. Repossessions can be a quick way for car lenders to cut their losses. But creditors can easily take advantage of debtors in court, because the creditor is typically not liable for damage to property caused by an independent contractor they hired to repossess a vehicle.

In Colorado, the General Assembly requires respossessors to carry a surety bond, which holds the creditor responsible for the actions of their hired repossessors. The surety bond is $50,000 and must be filed with the Attorney General of Colorado.

A repossessor in Colorado may not do business until they first disclose to a creditor whether or not they are bonded. Failure to disclose this information is a violation of the “Colorado Consumer Protection Act.” Falsifying a bond application or misrepresenting information is a Class I misdemeanor.

A bonded repossessor cannot “breach the peace,” meaning they cannot break the law during a repossession.

Repossessors Must Follow Certain Rules, Which Include:

  • Repossessors may not threaten violence or be physically violent.
  • They may not damage property.
  • When taking possession of a vehicle, they may not disable or render unusable any computer program or other similar device in the motor vehicle if immediate injury to any person or property is foreseeable. They are liable if their actions cause injury to a person or property.
  • Repossessors must notify a law enforcement agency prior to the repossession, including providing the name of the owner, the name of the repossessor, and the name of the mortgagee, lienholder or assignee. Notification should be at last an hour before repossession, when possible, and no later than one hour after a repossession.

Cars are not the only item that can be repossessed. Any property listed in a legal agreement can be used as collateral to a debt. This can include real estate, cash accounts, machinery, collectables and insurance policies.

Surety Group.com helps Colorado Repossessors stay compliant with state laws. We offer free, no-obligation quotes, low rates and fast service. Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call us today at 1‑844‑432‑6637!

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Illinois Residential Mortgage Broker Bond Requirements

Someone holding house keys in their handIn today’s Illinois real estate market, buyers must be ready to make quick decisions when purchasing a home.  According the Illinois Realtors July 24, 2017 news release, Illinois is experiencing a shortage of residential housing inventory, which in return results in fewer choices when purchasing a home.  Buyers must be prepared prior to providing an offer on a house to ensure that they have adequate purchasing power and will qualify for the loan they need.  This includes receiving a financial prequalification to submit with the offer or usually within a few days of the offer.  Buyers often turn to mortgage brokers to take them through the buying process and to get them the best interest rates for the type of loan they need.

Residential Mortgage Brokers in Illinois must apply for a license prior to offering services, negotiating, funding, originating or purchasing a loan for compensation to any borrower.  License requirements include having a $50,000 minimum net worth for in state mortgage brokers, and $150,000 for mortgage brokers that do not have an Illinois office.  Mortgage brokers must also provide annual financial statements to ensure that the net worth of the business meets the minimum state requirements.

Additionally, residential mortgage brokers must obtain a minimum $50,000 surety bond.  The bond amount is based on the total amount of loans written annually.  If the total amount of loans is over $5,000,000 but is less than $20,000,000, a $50,000 surety bond is required.  If the total loan amount is more than $20,000,000 but less than $50,000,000, a $75,000 surety bond is required.  If the total amount of loans is more than $50,000,000 but less than $100,000,000, a $100,000 surety bond is required.  And if the total amount of loans exceeds $100,000,000, a $150,000 surety bond is required.

Surety bonds over $50,000 will need personal and financial documents submitted when applying for the bond.  Since the surety bond amounts are higher, the risk for the surety is greater.  The financial documents will be reviewed by an underwriter whom will determine the rate to be quoted and if any collateral will be required.  The rate is the premium that will need to be paid to ensure compliance for the license requirement.

The surety bond guarantees that mortgage brokers will comply with the Residential Mortgage Act of 1987, including general lending practices, loan application practices, loan brokerage practices, allowable advertising practices, commitment of loan and closing practices.

In addition to the surety bond, a $100,000 fidelity bond is also required.  This bond ensures that any payments or securities the mortgage broker has received or has custody of for a residential mortgage loan are cared for properly.  Failure to properly care for the funds could result in a claim against the bond, loss of the broker’s license, or in some cases criminal prosecution.

Illinois mortgage brokers can obtain the surety and fidelity bonds they need to meet the license requirements.  SuretyGroup.com offers great rates, same day service and best of all, SuretyGroup.com has the bond you need! Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call our Surety Bond Specialists today at 1‑844‑432‑6637!

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

 

Connecticut Mortgage Broker Surety Bond Requirement

House keys on a keychainConnecticut is the southernmost state in New England, home to more than three million people, and ranks fifth in quality of life with low crime and poverty, healthy residents and a strong education system, according to the Forbes 2016 best states for business report. Connecticut has a longstanding maritime presence and has a industry history of financial services, including insurance companies in Hartford.

According to the Connecticut Real Estate Market Report published by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, for the second quarter of 2017, the state has seen a 5.7% sales volume increase over the previous year.  The robust real estate market means more homes are bought and purchased that often require mortgage loans.  Home buyers can turn to mortgage brokers for loan preapproval and for finding the best mortgage loan type and rate that fits the buyer’s needs.

Mortgage brokers in Connecticut must first obtain a license before offering to negotiate mortgage loans, take mortgage loan applications, offer mortgage loans with the expectation of being compensated for the services.  Those not required to be licensed include any bank, out-of-state bank, in state or out-of-state credit unions, mortgage lenders, and nonprofit organizations.  If a mortgage broker is not sure if a license is required, they may contact the Connecticut Department of Banking for more information at 800-831-7225.

Mortgage brokers will need to apply for licensure through the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), which is the agency that handles the Connecticut Department of Banking licensing.  Mortgage brokers will also need to obtain $50,000 surety bond.  The bond guarantees that client funds will be applied to their loan in accordance with state laws.  If the mortgage broker misuses or misapplies the funds, then a claim can be placed on the bond.

Connecticut mortgage brokers can get the surety bond they need from SuretyGroup.com to meet the compliance requirements for their license.  We offer low rates and fast service.  Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call us today at 1‑844‑432‑6637!

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Colorado Mortgage Loan Originator Surety Bond Requirement

Real Estate Broker BondColorado, with its majestic mountains, canyons and grand flowing rivers, provides endless beauty and stunning views for all to see. The state boasts of cities such as Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Aspen, Steamboat Springs and other friendly places throughout the state that provide jobs and living opportunities for its residents. Houses vary in cost, and people in the market to purchase a home will find an array of housing in all price ranges. With purchasing a house, home buyers often go through a mortgage loan process, which includes the use of mortgage loan originators.

Mortgage loan originators provide services such as offers to originate mortgage loans and originating mortgage loans. Mortgage loan originator activities can include first and second mortgage brokering, home equity or lines of credit lending, mortgage loan modifications, reverse mortgages, foreclosure consulting and other origination services.

Mortgage loan originators in Colorado are required to be licensed, have Errors and Omissions Insurance, and need to obtain a surety bond based on the number of loan originators, or if the originator works as a sole proprietor. Individual or sole proprietor licensed mortgage originators must obtain a minimum $25,000 surety bond. Companies that employ or utilize exclusive agents and that have less than 20 licensed mortgage originators must have a minimum $100,000 surety bond. Companies that employ or utilize direct agents that have more than 20 mortgage loan originators are required to have a minimum $200,000 surety bond.

The surety bond is a guarantee of faithful performance of mortgage loan originator activities, which include providing services in an honest manner and follow the state and federal laws. Fraud, forgery and criminal impersonation is prohibited while conducting mortgage loan originator duties and can result in a claim against the bond.

Colorado mortgage loan originators can apply for a surety bond with SuretyGroup.com.  We offer low rates, fast service and best of all we can get you the bond you need to meet the compliance requirements for licensure.  Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call our Surety Bond Specialists today at 1‑844‑432‑6637!

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

 

Arkansas Mortgage Broker Surety Bonds

Rising Trend in Home Sales

Real Estate Broker Bond

In February 2017, the Arkansas Realtors Association released home sales information to the Arkansas Economic Development Institute. It showed a rising trend in home sales for the last four years, and had surpassed the 2008 pre-recession level of sales. With the increase in sales, many of the homes sold required a mortgage loan. Home buyers or borrowers in an effort to find a loan that works best for them will often turn to a mortgage broker.

Mortgage Broker Licensing

Arkansas, like many other states, requires mortgage brokers to be licensed if they are compensated or expect to be compensated in some form, and that solicits through such means as a telephone, internet, email, by mail, or in person with the borrowers or potential borrowers. This also includes accepting or offers to accept an application for a mortgage loan, or offers to negotiate or negotiate the terms or conditions of a mortgage loan; mortgage loan commitments or interest rate guarantee agreements to borrowers.

A requirement for the license process includes obtaining a minimum $100,000 surety bond, which is for the benefit of any claimants if the mortgage broker or its employed loan officers fails to faithfully perform the obligations set forth in the bond.  This includes faithful handling of any funds paid into or deposited with the mortgage broker.

The surety bond amount is based on the annual mortgage loan activity that occurred during the previous year. Loan volumes totaling more than $10,000,001 to $25,000,000 require a $150,000 surety bond, and loan volumes exceeding $25,000,001 require a $200,000 surety bond.  The bond is filed with the state and must be renewed annually.

Borrowers can verify whether a mortgage broker is in good standing with the state prior to any business transaction. The Arkansas Securities Department provides a website link to verify the license status.

SuretyGroup.com has the Arkansas Mortgage Broker surety bond that is needed to meet the license requirements.  Apply online or call us today at 1‑844‑432‑6637!

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.