When SuretyBonds.com Founder and CEO Josh Kayser offered to spearhead the latest project pitched by the Veterans United Home Loans marketing team back in 2009, he had no idea where that road would lead. Ten years later, SuretyBonds.com has grown to more than 50 employees, undergone two corporate buyouts, and serviced more than 100,000 clients across all 50 states.
The idea for SuretyBonds.com struck back in 2008 as Veterans United sought an agency to manage the bonds required for hundreds of their mortgage professionals. At the time nobody in the surety industry provided online bonding services. Although some websites collected contact information to generate leads, they were still operating as traditional insurance agencies that required physical documentation to fulfill even the simplest of requests. The marketing team recognized a major opportunity as consumers increasingly turned to the internet for their insurance needs, so they bought the SuretyBonds.com domain. Kayser was given free reign to see what he could do with it. Ultimately he built a brand and a business that turned the surety industry on its head.
Surety bonds are a type of insurance that guarantee some sort of obligation – typically professional performance. Individuals familiar with surety bonds usually think of contract bonds that guarantee construction project completion. Similarly, probate bonds guarantee the completion of court-appointed obligations. Commercial license and permit bonds guarantee professional obligations outlined in federal, state, and local licensing statutes.
The SuretyBonds.com team issues hundreds of contract, probate, and commercial bonds each week, but the company has carved out a special niche for small business owners seeking bonding services for professional licensing. A significant portion of the company’s client base has never been bonded before. Their typical client is looking for a fast, easy, and affordable way to acquire a legally required insurance product they usually don’t know much about.
The company’s stated mission is to provide efficient, innovative, and informed surety bond solutions nationwide. When brainstorming, pitching, and executing new initiatives, the company’s values guide decision-making for all employees whether they work in sales, customer service, marketing, or web development.
- Put people first.
- Innovate and simplify.
- Grow through education.
- Obsess over service.
Challenging common industry practices and refusing to settle for the status quo has propelled SuretyBonds.com to double-digit growth every year since its inception. Feedback and project proposals are welcome from all employees — student interns, new hires, and founding team members alike. Whether they’re lowering pricing, cutting response times in half, or integrating new technological services, employees strive to improve the bonding experience for clients whenever possible.
Notable achievements for SuretyBonds.com during the past 10 years include:
- 3/13/2009: Website launched
- 6/11/2010: First bond issued
- 11/15/2011: $1 million in revenue earned
- 4/15/2012: Staff increased to 10 employees
- 1/1/2013: Small Business Scholarship launched to recognize students with entrepreneurial backgrounds
- 5/9/2014: Named Small Business of the Year by Columbia Chamber of Commerce
- 8/1/2014: Acquired by HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc.
- 6/10/2015: Acquired by Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc.
- 10/7/2016: Instant purchase portal launched offering full bonding service without agent interaction
- 3/5/2018: Paid internship program expanded to 20 students each semester
- 3/4/19: Staff increased to 50 employees
Kayser’s advice for successfully disrupting an industry that’s set in its ways? “Build what your clients want, not what you feel like building. We’ve revolutionized an industry not by doing anything novel but by offering things we knew clients wanted when nobody else wanted to put in the effort. When you develop a system from scratch and maintain full proprietary control over it, you can eliminate every unnecessary scroll, click, and decision for your client. This radically improves their experience while also raising their expectations for competitors who won’t be able to meet them. And that’s invaluable.”
SuretyBonds.com is hosting a 10-year anniversary celebration at Top Ten Wines Wednesday, March 13th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce will present a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.