Keeping Businesses Bonded

What Happens to Hazardous Materials?

Environmental contractor takes a water sample.
An environmental contractor takes a water sample from a lake.

Environmental Contractors Work to Protect Our Land, Air, and Water

Would you want to drink contaminated water, breathe polluted air, or build your home on a piece of toxic land?

Of course you wouldn’t. But all over the world industrial contaminants and other waste find its way into groundwater, surface water, soil, and the air.  This can cause serious illness, disabilities, or even death for humans and animals.

While prevention is key to our health, contaminates that currently exist require professional cleanup. This is where environmental contractors come into play.

Environmental contractors are trained and skilled in preventing issues that harm the environment, and cleaning up hazardous areas, whether it’s removing asbestos insulation in a home, securing a building that’s about to be demolished, or reclamation of land after a mining project.

They may also be called in to clean up after a natural disaster, consult others about preventing contamination before a project begins, or work on recycling efforts in the community.

Environmental contractors need training plus licensing or permits. Many states also require them to obtain payment and/or performance surety bonds as a guarantee of their work on projects. A contractor who does not take precautions when working with hazardous materials or when working on environmental projects could contaminate the environment and cause health issues.

Types of Environmental Contractors

There are many different types of environmental contractors that may need a surety bond. (Requirements vary by state.) These can include:

Asbestos Abatement

Asbestos was commonly used as insulation in construction. The tiny fibers are a health hazard when inhaled and have been linked to over a dozen diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Improper removal can release the fibers where they can easily be inhaled. Asbestos abatement contractors remove and safely dispose of asbestos.

Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Cleaning/Maintenance

AST’s store oil or other hazardous substances. They need to be properly maintained in order to prevent contamination and pollution.

Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Installation

Care must be taken by contractors to ensure proper installation of aboveground storage tanks to prevent spills, leaks, or other issues that could harm the environment.

Bioremediation

This process is used to treat contaminated materials such as water and soil by stimulating the growth of microorganisms, which convert contaminants into a non-hazardous material.

Emergency Response / Hazmat Cleanup

An asbestos abatement team cleans up a project.
Asbestos abatement contractors may need to be bonded.

These contractors prevent exposure to biological and chemical contaminants. Biohazard situations can include crime scenes, chemical spills, meth lab cleanup and more.

Environmental Drilling

Contractors who drill for wells, construction, waste management or other purposes need the knowledge and experience to properly and safely complete a project.

Fire and Water Restoration

Contractors who clean up after a fire or water incident must take care to avoid contamination.

Ground Water Restoration

Groundwater contamination can be difficult to eliminate. Contractors may spend years or decades on a project.

Hazardous Waste Sites

Hazardous waste can leach from the ground leading to pollution, birth defects, and other serious environmental issues.  These sites are often referred to as Superfund sites, and in order to clean up the site, a Response Action Contractor (RAC) would be needed to do this type of work.

Industrial Cleaning

Industrial cleaning contractors work with interior and exterior hazardous materials.

Lab Packing / Drum Handling

Contractors must be knowledgeable about transporting and disposal of laboratory chemicals, by-products, and other products from laboratories.

Geophysical Exploration

Contractors use physical methods to find minerals and abnormalities of an area.

Surface Mining

When a surface mining project is completed, contractors work on an environmentally-friendly reclamation plan.

Landfill Operation / Maintenance

Landfills can easily cause great harm to the environment if not run and maintained properly. Contractors help support landfill safety throughout all its phases.

Lead Abatement

Homes built before 1978 could have lead-based paint, which has been proved to cause health hazards. Contractors who remove this paint need to be certified.

Medical Waste Pickup

Contractors handling contaminated medical waste must be trained to handle the materials with care and follow strict guidelines on disposal techniques.

Mining Reclamation

After a mining project, a contractor must restore the land according to ecological guidelines.

Mold/Fungus Abatement

Mold removal can be a hazardous job.
Contractors who remove mold must be trained in correct removal procedures.

Mold can spread quickly through a home, and a contractor needs the right training to control the situation.

Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Removal

This organic chlorine compound was largely used in coolants and insulating fluids for transformers and capacitors, plus carbonless copy paper, paint, cement, wood floor finishes, adhesives, and more. Once in the environment, it can create extreme health issues for humans and animals, including cancer. The best way to destroy PCBs is incineration at 1832°F.

Pesticide / Herbicide Application

Applicators may need to be certified or licensed in their state. Safety measures need to be taken to avoid spills.

Pipeline Cleaning Installation

Contractors need to know how to safely clean debris on pipelines and prevent blockage, corrosion, or other damage.

Post Closure of a Landfill

Landfill owners and operators must have an environmentally-friendly plan in place for the landfill closing.

Environmental Sampling:

Care must be taken when collecting samples for study. If not done properly, results will not be correct.

Septic Tank Cleaning

Improper cleaning could result in solid waste being released into the soil. A knowledgeable contractor can prevent contamination from happening.

Soil Excavation

Removing contaminated soil at petroleum sites or other locations must be done carefully.

Soil Remediation

This is also known as soil washing, where contaminants are removed from the soil.

Landfill Liner Installation

Landfill owners need to protect the soil and groundwater by the professional installation of a liner before landfill operations begin.

Underground Storage Tank (UST) Installation and Removal

A storage tank is considered underground if at least 10% of the tank and piping is underground. Leaks can cause contamination and failure to do an appropriate cleanup can result in heavy fines of up to $37,500 a day.

Water Treatment Plant Operation / Maintenance

A contractor works at a water treatment plant.
Contractors at water treatment plants may need to obtain a surety bond.

Water supplies are treated and cleaned for safe public use. Proper management of water treatment plants is vital to health safety and environmental quality.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations / Maintenance

Converting wastewater that can be safely used or returned to the water cycle.  A maintenance program is important to prevent safety hazards that could result from contaminated water.

Wetlands Mitigation Contracting:

Wetland areas have been affected by draining and altering the land to accommodate growing human population. Besides affecting freshwater sources, local wildlife also lost access to food and a safe habitat. Professional wetland rehabilitation is necessary.

What Does an Environmental Surety Bond Cost?

The bond amount varies for each state and bond type. The premium environmental contractors pay for a bond depends on their credit, work on hand, business and personal financials, bid or contract amount, and other factors.

SuretyGroup.com is licensed to write all environmental surety bonds in all 50 states. Contact our Surety Bond Specialists to get a free quote that fits your specific situation.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

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Illinois Used Tire Storage Sites Need Surety Bonds

A pile of tires can cause environmental issues.
SuretyGroup.com writes surety bonds for waste tire storage sites.

Preventing Waste with Recycling

Imagine a landfill with 300 million tires. Now add another 300 million tires to that pile next year.

Every year the U.S. scraps enough tires for 75 million cars. Those tires don’t decompose when left in landfills or illegal dump sites and can cause major environmental and health issues when not disposed of properly.

Tire dumps are a fire hazard, and tire fires can easily contaminate the air and water. Tires are also a popular breeding ground for mosquitoes. The invasive Asian tiger mosquito came to the country in imported tires and has been known to transmit several diseases, including the West Nile Virus, which can cause encephalitis.

Something had to be done to protect residents from harmful effects of tire dumps. In 1985, Minnesota passed the first laws regarding scrap tires, and more states followed. But in 1990, only 11% of tires were recycled. Currently, 48 states (all but Delaware and Alaska) have laws regarding tire management, and in 2015, the percentage of recycled tires climbed to 87.9%. Recycled tires are often used for tire-derived fuel, ground rubber applications, civil engineering, and other products.

Regulating Scrap Tires in Illinois

In 1970, Illinois became the first state to adopt an Environmental Protection Act, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created. The Illinois EPA works to regulate and monitor the state’s environmental issues to protect health, welfare, property, and quality of life for residents.

Illinois drivers contribute 14 million used tires every year, enough for 3,500,000 cars. All those tires need someplace to go, and landfills are not the answer. The EPA oversees industry statutes and regulations for tire generators, transporters, processors, and end users. The agency wants to make sure that owners/operators won’t abandon tire storage sites, and will perform removal in accordance with their removal plan.

Individuals who have over 50 used or waste tires on their property, or sell tires at retail, must notify the Illinois EPA and register their tire storage sites every year. This includes a $100 annual fee that is due by January 1 each year.

Tires are piled up at a used tire storage site.
Owners/operators of waste tire storage sites in Illinois need to obtain financial security.

A part of this registration includes securing financial assurance, which guarantees proper removal or disposal of waste tires. The financial assurance is in an amount equal to or greater than the currently approved removal cost estimate. It can be a trust fund, a letter of credit, or a surety bond. A combination of these is also acceptable.  Owners/operators who use a surety bond must also establish a standby trust fund.

How to Get a Surety Bond

A surety bond must be obtained from a surety company that is licensed to do business in Illinois. SuretyGroup.com meets that requirement.  Contact our Surety Bond Specialists a free quote that fits your specific situation. Email info@suretygroup.com or call 844-432-6637.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

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Michigan Solid Waste Disposal Operator Surety Bonds

Landfill owners and operators need to obtain a surety bond.
SuretyGroup.com writes surety bonds for landfill owners and operators.

How much trash did you generate today?

Americans produce more waste than any other country in the world, weighing in at 220 million tons a year. The average person produces 4.4 pounds of waste every day. Some of that may go to recycling or composting, or may be burned for renewable energy. But a lot of the waste ends up in landfills.

When chemicals and gasses from landfills mix with the atmosphere and water sources, it can cause serious environmental and human health problems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires landfill owners of Municipal Solid Waste Landfills to monitor landfill groundwater for contamination while the landfill is active, and also during the post-closure care. If contamination is detected, then corrective measures must be taken.

The EPA requires owners/operators to show financial assurance that meets the costs of proper closure, post-closure, and necessary corrective actions. Means of financial assurance can be a letter of credit, insurance, a surety bond, or other types of security.

Michigan Surety Bond Amounts

Landfill owners and operators must plan ahead for post-closure regulations.
Landfill owners and operators need to obtain a financial security, such as a surety bond.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) protects the state’s air, land, and water resources to support the environment, the people, and the economy.

The Waste Management and Radiological Protection (WMRPD) is a part of the MDEQ that reviews licenses applications for solid waste disposal operators. A license can’t be granted until financial assurance has been established, which includes surety bonds.

Bond amounts for a Michigan type III landfill, or a preexisting unit at a type II landfill are $20,000 an acre of licensed landfill. The minimum bond amount is $20,000 and the maximum is no more than $1 million.

The bond assures the maintenance of the finished landfill site for 30 years after the landfill is completed.

Bond amounts for a type II landfill in Michigan that is an existing unit or new unit is equal to the cost of hiring a third party to conduct closure, post-closure maintenance and monitoring, and any necessary corrective action.

How Do I Get a Surety Bond?

If you are a landfill owner/operator and need to obtain a surety bond for licensing, contact the Surety Bond Specialists at SuretyGroup.com for a free quote that fits your specific needs. Call 844-432-6637apply online, or email info@suretygroup.com to get started.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Peddler and Street Vendor License & Permit Bonds

Peddlers and vendors may need a license and surety bond.
SuretyGroup.com writes surety bonds for peddler and vendor licensees.

Big Business on the Street

If you’ve been to a big city where there are a lot of street vendors and peddlers, you may notice that on occasion, some may suddenly grab up all their stuff and run away. That’s a good indication that they are not licensed and that a police officer is nearby.

Peddlers, solicitors, hawkers, and street vendors can make a living selling goods, wares or merchandise on foot, from a cart, or from a vehicle. Peddlers can also go house-to-house to perform household repairs or services.  They can travel from town to town, or from place to place in the same town quickly and easily, with no rent or utility bills to pay. Their customers often enjoy convenient locations and great prices on everything from food to souvenirs, books, and other goods.

Most cities require these business owners to be licensed, and a part of licensing can include obtaining a surety bond, which helps make sure that sales taxes are paid, and can also help protect consumers from fraud.

Each city has its own laws regarding peddler licensing, and business owners would need to research their city’s licensing regulations before starting. The license is typically quite inexpensive at $100 or under. If a surety bond is required, the bond amount is also quite small, such as $200 to $5,000. The premium busines owners pay for a bond starts around $100.

Exemptions for licensing could include selling for charities or other non-profit groups, garage sales, auctions, food grown by the person selling it, and religious purposes.

Information you may need when applying for a license:

  • Name of business, business address, home address and telephone number
  • Recent photographs of the applicant that show the head and shoulders
  • Type of goods, wares, merchandise, food, services or subscriptions to be sold
  • Location where the applicant intends to sell
  • The length of time the applicant intends to sell
  • A description and license plate number of all vehicles to be used
  • List applicant’s crime and/or misdemeanor convictions
  • The applicant’s state retailer license number
  • Name, address and telephone number of a contact person who will respond to consumer complaints
  • Supply fingerprints
  • If the applicant is using a motor vehicle, then they may need to file a certificate of insurance showing liability insurance
  • If the applicant is using a building, room, shop, booth, cart or other structure, the applicant may need to file a certificate of insurance showing proof of liability insurance
  • If the applicant is selling food or beverages, they may need to be reviewed by the local Health Department, which can include an inspection to ensure sanitation requirements are met

Violations could include:

Street vendors may need a surety bond for licensing.
A part of licensing for peddlers and street vendors could include obtaining a surety bond.
  • Conducting business in improper zoning areas
  • Making in-person door to door sales attempts outside of certain hours
  • Impede the flow of pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or obstruct the view on a street
  • Generate litter that is not removed by the licensee
  • Sell beverages containing alcohol
  • Use an amplifying device
  • Selling in or on a motorized vehicle
  • Acting in an unlawful manner
  • Engage in an activity that poses a threat to public health or safety
  • Harass, intimidate, coerce or threaten an individual to make a sale
  • Selling unwholesome or tainted food
  • Falsely misrepresent the quality, character or quantity of an item for sale
  • Refusing to show a license to anyone requesting it, including police officers and customers

How Do I Get a Surety Bond?

If you are a peddler, solicitor, hawker, or street vendor that is required to obtain a surety bond for licensing, contact the Surety Bond Specialists at SuretyGroup.com for a free quote that fits your specific needs. Call 844-432-6637, apply online, or email info@suretygroup.com to get started.

 

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

 

Michigan Potash Mining Boom

Potash could mean big business for Michigan.
SuretyGroup.com writes surety bonds for potash drilling in Michigan.

North-central Michigan is potentially sitting on 65 billion dollars.

About 1 ½ miles underground is a potash reserve developed from an ancient sea, with possibly the best potash available in the world.

Potash is a salt that contains potassium, an important ingredient for crops, which farmers use for fertilizer.  U.S. farmers use around 10 million tons of potash a year, but currently, the U.S. only mines around 300,000 tons yearly. Once mined, this would be a huge boon to Michigan’s economy.

Michigan Mining Regulations

The Oil, Gas and Minerals Division of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality regulates several mining industries in the state to ensure the protection of the environment, property, and public health and safety.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act requires financial assurance from those who are operating mineral wells, which includes potash mining. This ensures compliance with the Act, along with compliance with state laws and regulations.

Financial assurance can include a cash bond, certificate of deposit, letter of credit, surety bond, or statement of financial responsibility.

Surety Bond amounts for Michigan mineral wells

Blanket permit for test wells

  • $05,500.00 for 1 to 24 wells
  • $11,000.00 for 25 to 49 wells
  • $16,500.00 for 50 to 75 wells
  • $22,000.00 for 76 to 200 wells

Individual test well permit

  • $05,500.00 for a depth of 0 to 1000′
  • $11,000.00 for a depth greater than 1000′ to 2000′
  • $22,000.00 for a depth greater than 2000′ to 4000′
  • $33,000.00 for a depth greater than 4000′

Individual Disposal, storage, or brine well

  • $33,000.00

Blanket coverage for Disposal, storage, brine, and individual test wells

  • $440,000.00

Surety bonds are to be submitted to:

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals
Permits and Bonding Unit
PO Box 30256
Lansing, MI 48909-7756

How Do I Get a Surety Bond?

Contact the Surety Bond Specialists at SuretyGroup.com for a free quote that fits your specific needs. Call 844-432-6637, or email info@suretygroup.com to get started.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Oregon Mortgage Servicer License Change

A house for sale
SuretyGroup.com writes Oregon mortgage Servicer bonds.

New Law Protects Homeowners

In 2017, Oregon lawmakers wanted to make sure that their state’s mortgage servicers didn’t engage in actions that violated state or federal laws or conducted fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest dealings. In August of that year, the Oregon Senate passed Bill 98, the Oregon Mortgage Loan Servicer Practices Act, also known as the “Servicer Act.” The new law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

This comes after an investigation into one of the country’s largest mortgage servicing companies, where the company was found in violation of state and federal laws and resulted in harm to homeowners.

The law gives the Department of Consumer and Business Services the authority to regulate mortgage loans servicers, and the Department’s Division of Financial Regulation has the responsibility of licensing and enforcing mortgage loan servicing companies. This protects homeowners from instances of unfair practices from companies that service their home loans.

Licensing and Bonding

Mortgage servicers are now required to obtain a license, and to obtain a $50,000 surety bond or letter of credit. The bond must be submitted in the NMLS by a surety company that is licensed to do business in Oregon. Instead of a bond, the company may upload a letter of credit from a federally insured institution to the NMLS. The original documents must be mailed to the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

If a company both originates and services mortgage loans, it will need a license and bond for both. Licenses expire yearly on Dec. 31.

A license for a mortgage servicer allows for third party first mortgage servicing, third-party subordinate lien mortgage servicing, first mortgage servicing, master servicing, and subordinate lien mortgage servicing.

Fees involved include:

  • License/Registration fee $960
  • NMLS initial processing fee $100
  • Credit report $15
  • FBI criminal background check for MU2 individual $36.25

Premiums for surety bonds are based on credit and the bond amount. SuretyGroup.com is licensed to write all Oregon surety bonds, including Mortgage Servicer Bonds. Contact our Surety Bond Specialists for a free quote that fits your specific needs.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

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Why Do I Need a DME or DMEPOS Surety Bond?

DME provider surety bonds
SuretyGroup.com writes all DME and DMEPOS surety bonds.

Why a DME Bond is Required

When a patient needs durable medical equipment for their health care, they need it be affordable and from a trustworthy source. Unfortunately, some DME or DMEPOS providers and suppliers can take advantage of the patient’s situation and run up the costs for the patient and for the Medicare program, and could also deliver unsafe items to the patient.

As a result, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the Medicare program, requires DME suppliers to obtain a $50,000 surety bond during Medicare enrollment for each location in which they do business. The bond must be submitted to the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) before a provider or supplier can obtain Medicare billing privileges.

DME Providers and Suppliers

DME “providers” include hospitals, universities, nursing facilities, rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies, hospice and other non-profits.  DME “suppliers” sell or rent DME equipment, and includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists, among others.

Examples of durable medical equipment include prosthetic devices, orthotics, blood sugar monitors, canes, hospital beds, oxygen equipment and supplies, manual wheelchairs and power mobility devices.

When Medicare providers and suppliers are able to furnish their patients with durable medical equipment quickly, the patient benefits by not having to go elsewhere for the medical items they need. By providing this service, DME providers and suppliers also benefit with added revenue.

Medicare only covers DME items if the doctor and supplier are enrolled in the Medicare program, and includes equipment that is:

  • Durable
  • Used for medical reasons
  • Not useful to someone who isn’t sick or injured
  • Used in the home
  • Expected to last at least three years

The patient’s cost for DME items depends on:

  • Other insurance the patient may have
  • Physician’s fees
  • If the physician accepts the assignment
  • Type of facility
  • Where the patient gets a test, item or service

Who is Protected Under a DME Bond

The surety bond protects the obligee (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) by:

  • Limiting the risk of fraud
  • Ensuring that only legitimate suppliers are enrolled in the Medicare program
  • Ensuring that the Medicare program recuperates erroneous payments due to fraudulent or malicious billing practices
  • Helping patients receive products and services from legitimate suppliers

Providers and suppliers must have a surety bond in place before they can receive or renew a provider number. The premium, or cost that providers and suppliers pay for the bond, is dependent on credit and the number of years’ experience in the medical field.

How to Get a Surety Bond

SuretyGroup.com offers a simplified surety bond program for DME Providers. Our surety bond specialists can give you a free, no-obligation quote that fits your specific situation, and can deliver your bond quickly. Call 844-432-6637, apply online, or email info@suretygroup.com to get started.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Pennsylvania Slot Machine License Bonds

Slot machines in a Pennsylvania casino.
Pennsylvania has four categories of slot machine licenses.

Pennsylvania is Seeing Green

Pennsylvania’s lottery sales have taken a dip recently, but new legislation could soon bring more gaming revenue to the state. On October 30, 2017, House Bill 271 was signed into law as Act 42, an amendment to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. The bill legalizes online gambling and daily fantasy sports in Pennsylvania.

The bill also creates a Category 4 Slot Machine License. Pennsylvania’s four categories of slot machine licenses are:

  • Category 1: Racetrack, also known as a “Racino,” is a combination race track and casino that may have up to 250 game tables and 5,000 slot machines.
  • Category 2: Stand-alone casinos are allowed up to 250 table games and 5,000 slot machines. They may also offer resort amenities such as entertainment, restaurants, and spas.
  • Category 3: Resort casinos are allowed up to 600 slot machines and 50 game tables, and are attached to hotels. Only guests or “members” are allowed to gamble at resort casinos.
  • Category 4: Casinos that allow 300 to 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board oversees the state’s casino industry, along with the new gaming platforms allowed with HB271. Online lotteries, interactive gaming, video gaming terminals at truck stops, tablet gaming at airports, fantasy sports contests, and ancillary slot machine facilities are expected to appeal to new, younger players. Many games can be played on mobile devices, and monitor-based games intended for bars allow participants to watch a simulated sports event. While it remains a much-debated topic, the state expects the new law will help generate around $150 million in revenue.

Category 4 Slot Machine License

HB271 creates an auction system to auction off 10 available Category 4 slot machine licenses and establishes an exclusive 15-mile radius in which winning bidders can operate. Winning bidders must then apply for a Category 4 license. At least one week before an auction, bidders must submit a surety bond or letter of credit for $7.5 million. The bond proves the financial ability to pay the slot machine license fee if they receive a license. The license fee will be the amount of the winning bid, and no bid may be lower than $7.5 million. The auction process establishes the order the winning bidders select a location for their casino. Once awarded the bid, the winner must pay the bid price within two days, and then has six months to submit an application for the license. The license allows the winning bidder to operate between 300 and 750 slot machines. They could also petition to add up to 30 table games for an additional $2.5 million fee and add 10 more table games after one year of operation.

Category 1, 2 & 3

Applicants for Category 1 or 2 slot machine licenses must post a letter of credit or a surety bond for $50 million, and applicants for a Category 3 slot machine license must obtain a letter of credit or a surety bond for $5 million.

Before any category of slot machine license is issued, applicants must obtain a surety bond of no less than $1 million. The bond ensures that the licensee makes payments, keeps books and records, makes reports, and conducts operations in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Board.

Fantasy Contests

The House bill also provides for licensing of fantasy contests. Applicants must pay an application fee of $50,000 and maintain a reserve of funds in the form of a security: cash, cash equivalents, or a security deposit held by a bank and/or processors, or an irrevocable letter of credit, payment processor reserves and receivables, a surety bond, or a combination of several forms of securities. SuretyGroup.com is qualified to write fantasy contest surety bonds in Pennsylvania.

How to Get a Surety Bond

Surety Bonds must be purchased from an agency that is licensed to write bonds in Pennsylvania. SuretyGroup.com fulfills the agency requirement and offers free, no-obligation quotes for all surety bonds. Contact our Surety Bond Specialists to get started. Call 844-432-6637 or email info@suretygroup.com.

 

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

Why the Public Needs Public Adjusters

A public adjuster works with clients in an office.
A public adjuster helps clients with a claim.

An Expert on Your Side

When it comes to insurance claims, the typical consumer may not have much knowledge or experience on how to reach a fair settlement with an insurance company. When an insurance company’s adjuster arrives on the scene, the claimant may feel that the adjuster is trying to help them collect as much money as possible from the claim.

But the adjuster works for the insurance company, not the claimant, and may try to save the company money with a lower adjustment than the claimant was expecting or needing to make necessary repairs or replacement.

Consumers need someone on their side to help them get a fair settlement and represent them in the legalities of a claim. That’s where public adjusters come in.

A public adjuster is hired by the policyholder, not the insurance company. Their job is to represent the policyholder in the appraisal and negotiations of the claim. Unlike adjusters hired by the insurance company, public adjusters can legally represent the policyholder during the claims process.

Payment for the public adjuster is made by the policyholder at terms agreed to before work begins. It can be a flat fee, or it can be a percentage of the settlement. In many cases, they don’t get paid if the policyholder doesn’t get paid.

License & Bond Requirements

Alabama, Alaska, South Dakota and Wisconsin are the only states that do not have licensing regulations for public adjusters. Although each state has different requirements, all other states have requirements for licensing and education. Licensing in a particular state only allows a public adjuster to practice in that state. But reciprocity agreements between states allow a public adjuster to practice in another state without taking the state’s examinations or education requirements if their home state allows the same for non-resident public adjusters.

While most states require licensing, only half of the states require public adjusters to obtain a surety bond before they can be issued a license. A bonded public adjuster comes with a guarantee to their clients that they will conduct business honestly while complying with each state’s insurance statutes.

How To Obtain a Surety Bond

If you are a public adjuster and you need a surety bond, contact SuretyGroup.com. We are licensed to write all surety bonds in all 50 states, including public adjuster surety bonds.  The premium you pay depends on various factors including your state’s bond amount. Call our Surety Bond Experts today at 844-432-6637 for a free, no-obligation quote, and we’ll work hard to find you the lowest rate possible.

 

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

 

Tidbits of History From the Oil & Gas Industry

A man in an oil field.
A man sits in a wagon in an oil field around 1907-1918.
Photo: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Struggles, Triumphs, and Contributions

When you think of the oil and gas industry, you may instantly think of Texas oil tycoons, or have an image of Jed Clampett from “The Beverly Hillbillies” becoming wealthy overnight when oil is found in the swamps of his backyard. While some states do not produce oil or gas, many states have a rich history of oil and gas production, along with fascinating tales of the struggles, triumphs, and unique contributions made along the way.

Going state-by-state, here are some tidbits of history from the oil and gas industry around the country.

Alabama

Would you swallow a pill full of tar? Folks in Alabama did back in the 1840’s. They believed the tar was a cure for scrofula, cancerous sores, rheumatism, dyspepsia, and other diseases.

This was long before the first oil field in Alabama was discovered in February of 1944 by Texas oilman, Haroldson Lafayette Hunt. Hunt had drilled 350 dry holes in Alabama before finally discovering oil in Choctaw County.

Alaska

Gold and oil drew a lot of attention to Alaska long before the territory was a state. The first oil well began in 1902 near Katalla. In 1910, President William Howard Taft was concerned about the petroleum reserves, so he issued an executive order to stop further exploration and drilling in Alaska. This limited drilling to 826 acres on private land in Katalla. In 1920, Congress passed the Mineral Leasing Act, which overturned Taft’s executive order.

Arizona

After more than 50 years of drilling dry wells, prospectors in 1954 finally struck oil on Apache County’s Navajo Indian Reservation. This wasn’t a big discovery, but it made Arizona the 30th state to produce oil. Around 90% of all wells drilled since then have been dry. Apache County is still the only county in Arizona to produce oil.

Arkansas

Before striking oil, the economy of Arkansas relied on the cotton and timber industries. The first substantial oil well in Arkansas was discovered in 1920, and a few days later natural gas was discovered. A well in 1921 in that same field became the state’s first commercial oil well and created a boom for El Dorado, Arkansas. The Arkansas Gazette reported that over 22 trains were in and out of El Dorado every day during the peak drilling of the well.

In 1922, a well in Smackover, 12 miles north of El Dorado, produced a gusher. Within six months, more than 1,000 wells had been drilled. By 1925, the town of Smackover had become the largest-producing oil field in the world.

California

Early oil wells in California.
Oil wells in Los Angeles, in 1905.

Around 1891 Edward L. Doheny and Charles A. Canfield tried prospecting gold and silver in southern California with no success. They went to Los Angeles, where in 1892, Doheny dug a well using picks, shovels, and a windlass. He completed the well in 1893 and it produced 40 barrels a day. Doheny, who previously had no money to his name, eventually became one of the richest men in the world. Unfortunately, his son Ned was murdered during the litigation of the 1924 Teapot Dome Scandal. The scandal involved bribery of an oil lease that resulted in Albert Bacon Fall, the Secretary of the Interior, becoming the first U.S. Cabinet member to go to prison.

Colorado

Long ago, the Ute Indians realized the benefit of natural oil seeps from the Arkansas River, using the crude oil for medicine, war paint, glue, waterproofing homes, and sealing woven baskets.

Oil exploration in Colorado began in the 1860’s, and the first oil well that was drilled west of the Mississippi was in Florence, Colorado. It took 20 years of drilling dry holes, but in 1881 oil was discovered by Alexander M. Cassiday. It became the second oldest commercial oil field in the U.S.  The success of this oil field spurred interest in prospecting oil in the west.

In 2012, Colorado was the 6th highest producer of natural gas in the U.S., and 9th leading oil producer. Three of the country’s 100 largest oil fields are in Colorado, as are ten of the leading 100 natural gas fields.

Connecticut

Connecticut does not produce any crude oil or natural gas, but the state produced a different type of oil in the 1700’s.  Connecticut, along with Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, produced oil from sperm whales. They harvested around 2,200 whales a year.

Delaware

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

Florida

Prospectors in Florida were determined to find oil, even though attempts produced only dry hole after dry hole. In 1939, State legislators offered a $50,000 bounty for the first oil discovery. It wasn’t until September of 1943 that Humble Oil Company from Tulsa, Oklahoma spent around $1 million and drilled 11,626 feet. They finally struck oil. They accepted the $50,000 prize and donated $60,000 to the University of Florida and the Florida State College for Women. Humble later became the Exxon Corp., now ExxonMobil.

Georgia

Georgia has never produced natural gas or oil. But that hasn’t stopped prospectors from exploring since the 1950’s. In 1958, Georgia officials offered a $1 million bounty for the first gusher. That bounty has been reduced to $250,000 and remains unclaimed to this day. To date, all oil and gas wells that have been drilled in Georgia have been dry.

Hawaii

Because Hawaii does not have reserves of oil and gas, it all has to be imported. This results in making the state’s electricity and gas prices the highest in the country. Hawaii wants to switch from oil and gas to LNG (liquefied natural gas) which would bring down prices for consumers.

Idaho

While oil and gas are not produced in Idaho, deposits of gold, silver, lead, platinum, copper, zinc, and other minerals have been found. The state produces the most newly mined silver in the country, with 45% of silver mined in the U.S. coming from Idaho.

Illinois

An oil well in a field.
Oil wells can be found in almost every state in the country.

The first drilling in Illinois began in 1853 near Champaign, but the well did not produce oil.  However, in the early 1860’s, enough oil was produced to name a town Oilfield, Illinois, which is a part of the Illinois Basin. The Basin covers Southern Illinois, Southwest Indiana and Northwest Kentucky, and the deepest part of the Basin is in Illinois. The majority of drilling in Illinois is in the southern part of the state. Illinois issues around 800 drilling permits every year.

Indiana

Early settlers were drilling for salt water, but discovered gas springs and oil seeps along the Ohio River. In 1876, the “Trenton Field” was discovered — a natural gas field that covered 17 counties and 5,120 square miles, making it the largest natural gas discovery of the time. The field also contained the first giant oil reserve discovered in the U.S., producing more than 100 million barrels of oil.  By 1910, almost all of the gas had been removed, but about 90% of the oil remained.

Iowa

Out of 123 exploratory wells drilled in Iowa, only three produced oil. The first was a well near Hamburg in 1925. The next was a well in 1963 in Keota, and the last producing oil well was found in the same area in 1986.

Kansas

In the old days, geologists were seen to be similar to charlatans or those using witchcraft. In 1915, the city of El Dorado, Kansas hired a geologist and drilled the first well in the country using science and geology to decide exactly where to drill a well, and how deep to drill it. This was a huge breakthrough in the oil industry, and the successful drilling caused a boom in the area. The town of Oil Hill was built by the gas company to house their workers, and was known as the largest “company town” in the world.

Kentucky

In 1818, those drilling a well for saltwater produced oil instead, to the disappointment of the drillers. This was the Beatty Well, which was believed to be the first well that produced commercial oil in North America. Oil from Kentucky was shipped to Europe and the southern United States.

Louisiana

In 1900, W. Scott Haywood drilled for oil in the famous Spindletop oil field in Texas. Immediately following Spindletop, local Louisiana investors hired 29-year-old Haywood to drill for oil in a rice field 90 miles away, where natural gas seeps had been found. The area had nearly identical conditions as Spindletop. After drilling 1,000 feet, no oil was to be found, prompting some investors to sell their stock. But Haywood finally found oil at 1,700 feet, producing a gusher and ruining several acres of the rice field. Haywood later became a member of the Louisiana State Senate.

Maine

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

Maryland

While the state does not have oil or gas reserves, Baltimore was the first city to make use of the manufactured gas industry in 1816. The first public street lamp fueled by manufactured gas was on Baltimore’s Market Street in 1817.

Massachusetts

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

Michigan

After oil was discovered in nearby Ontario, prospectors turned their eyes towards Michigan. The late 1800’s showed only small amounts of oil, but geologists in the early 1900’s believed that Saginaw would be productive. In 1925 the Saginaw Prospecting Company drilled a well that produced enough oil to be sold commercially. This brought other prospectors to the area and more fields were discovered. In 1928, the Pure Oil Company struck the deepest and richest well of the decade in Mt. Pleasant, creating a boom of new residents.

Years later, in 1954, a dairy farmer discovered the state’s only “giant” oil field. Ferne Houseknecht convinced her uncle to drill a well on the farm. This proved to be a major discovery called the “Golden Gulch.” A boom followed with 734 more wells.

Minnesota

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

Mississippi

Exploration in Mississippi started in the early 1930’s. The first commercial well was the Tinsley Field in Yazoo County in 1939, which was the best producing oil field in the state. Around 500 more wells have been drilled in the area since that discovery.

Missouri

Early Pioneers were said to have used seeped oil to grease their wagon axles. After the civil war, those drilling for water found oil and gas instead. By the 1930’s, there were more than 2,500 wells in the state. But drilling in Missouri wasn’t like drilling in other states. Missouri didn’t have the production amounts. Also, the oil was typically shallow, around 150 feet deep, which didn’t give the well the pressure needed to make it easy to recover. And the oil was very heavy and thick, which also hindered production. Part of the solution was to heat the oil with steam, which thinned it out and made it easier to retrieve, but it also made the entire process more expensive.

Montana

Montana has only had modest oil production. Exploration started in 1889 at what is currently Glacier National Park, and oil was eventually found in 1902. The demand for oil to run locomotives spurred further exploration around 1910, as trains were switching from coal-fired steam to oil. The first major production was around 1915 near the border of Wyoming.  The first boom was around 1920 at Cat Creek, which started a 54-year industry. The boom died down by 1975, and in the 2000’s the focus turned to natural gas.

Nebraska

Although a Nebraska newspaper reported in 1883 about a “vein of petroleum” in Richardson County, it wasn’t until 1940 that Nebraska finally struck oil. It took 57 years of drilling dry holes before the Pawnee Royalty Company drilled a successful well, starting Nebraska’s oil boom. Oil and natural gas companies are still exploring new potential in the state today.

Nevada

After a half a century of drilling and 85 dry holes, the Shell Oil Company drilled Nevada’s first commercial oil well in 1954. This was the state’s only oil field for decades, as other attempts in later years produced 100 dry holes. The next producing well was drilled 22 years later in 1984.  The Grant Canyon No. 3 well produced as much as 4,300 barrels a day in 1987, the most of any onshore well in the continental U.S.

New Hampshire

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

New Jersey

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

New Mexico

Because New Mexico is so flat, it was difficult for geologists to locate drilling sites. The first commercial oil well was drilled in 1922 on a Navajo Indian reservation. In the late 1920’s, oil companies spent around $15 million in exploration costs. The explorations reached Hobbs in 1927 with drilling in a farmer’s pasture. The well produced 700 barrels a day, and Hobbs became the fastest growing city in the country.

Today New Mexico is the 3rd leading oil and natural gas-producing state.

Oil wells in Pennsylvania.
Around 1862, Pennsylvania’s Phillips well and Woodford well were the most productive of their time.

New York

Oil has been popular in New York for centuries. In 1627, a French missionary, Fr. De la Roche D’Allion, described an oil spring that Native Americans were using for various purposes. 42 years later, in 1669, Native Americans showed another French explorer, M. De La Salle, the location of natural gas seeps.

In 1821, William Hart drilled the first natural gas well in America along a creek in Fredonia. The well was dug with shovels and the pipeline was made of hollowed out logs connected with tar and rags. Hart is considered to be the “father of natural gas.”

While Maryland was the first state to use manufactured gas, New York was the first to use natural gas publicly. Natural gas from a well was used in homes, several stores, and a mill.

North Carolina

North Carolina does not produce oil or gas and imports the products from Texas and Louisiana.

North Dakota

Shooting a well to get more oil production.
Prospectors “shoot” a well with nitroglycerin around 1899 to 1900.

North Dakota wasn’t known to produce oil until 1951 when drilling on the farm of Clarence Iverson started a drilling boom in the state. It wasn’t an easy process, as workers endured blizzards that temporarily shut down drilling. They tried “shooting” the well using explosives, which Clarence wasn’t too happy about due to concerns about his water wells. But it was successful and Clarence became a very wealthy man.  The farm became a tourist attraction, and the oil well produced for 28 years. Within two months of the Iverson discovery, 30 million more acres of land in the state was leased for drilling.

Ohio

As in other states, people drilling for salt water in Ohio ended up with oil instead. The first oil discovery was in 1814 near Marietta, Ohio, when oil was used as a cure-all medicine. The first oil well drilled in Ohio was in 1859 by blacksmith William Jeffrey. A major oil discovery in the 1880’s sparked even more interest in the state. In 1891, Grand Lake had what was likely the first overwater drilling operation in the world. By 1895, Ohio became the leading producer of crude oil in the country. Oklahoma surpassed Ohio in 1902.

Oklahoma

Before Oklahoma was a state, it was Indian Territory and home to many tribes. In 1895, Lewis Ross was drilling for saltwater and struck oil instead. His oil well produced around ten barrels a day for about a year and then dried out. While not a huge producer, this proved that oil existed in the area. By the early 1900’s, Oklahoma became the largest oil-producing area in the world, which helped the Territory become a state in 1907.

Oregon

Oregon proved to be a business-killer in the oil industry. Three oil companies sought their fortunes in Oregon in the same well. First, Northwestern Oils, Inc. started a test well near Madras in 1952, known as the Morrow Ranch well. By 1956, the company had no money, and its assets were auctioned off. That same year, Central Oil Inc. was formed, and in 1966 received a permit to continue drilling the Morrow Ranch well. But the project was delayed due to issues with the Security and Exchange Commission, and by 1967 Central Oil was out of business. Next came Robert F. Harrison, who took over the well in 1968 with plans to deepen it to over 5,000 feet. But the drilling was stuck at 3,300 feet, and Harrison plugged and abandoned the well in 1971. To date, Oregon has never had a successful oil well.

Pennsylvania

The first commercial oil well drilled in 1859.
The country’s first commercial oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania was drilled by Edwin L. Drake in 1859.

This is where it all started. The very first successful oil well in America was in 1859 when former railroad conductor Col. Edwin Drake struck oil at only 69 feet in Titusville, Pennsylvania. One month later, a fire started by a lamp burned down the derrick, the stored oil, and the driller’s house. Drake is considered the father of the American petroleum industry.

Pennsylvania is also the first known state to ship oil internationally to London on the ship “Elizabeth Watts” in 1861.

Rhode Island

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

South Carolina

The state has limited oil and natural gas reserves and currently has no production.

South Dakota

While not historically a major oil state, oil production in South Dakota has been fairly steady starting when a discovery well was drilled in 1953 by Shell Oil Company. Around 98% of all oil in the state is from a 400 square mile area. Some believe the state remains under-explored and about one new well a month is currently being drilled.

Tennessee

Tennessee is also not known as a big oil producer, but currently, oil is being produced in 11 counties. While some in the industry believe there is much more potential, it’s possible that outdated regulations could end further exploration.

Texas

A gusher in the Spindletop oil field.
The Spindletop oil field was a huge success in the oil industry.

Texas wasn’t the first state to discover oil, but it quickly became the biggest oil producing state in the U.S. and the world.

Patillo Higgins, a mechanic and self-taught geologist, wanted to drill for oil on a hill near Beaumont, Texas. The hill was a salt dome, and others were skeptical about finding oil on the hill. Wells were drilled between 1893 and 1896 — and all were dry. Then Croatian Anthony Lucas, a salt miner and former captain of the Austrian navy, picked a spot on the Hill and begin drilling in 1900.  He discovered that pumping mud into the well instead of water while drilling provided many benefits, and this method is still used today. In 1901, Lucas’s oil well produced the “Lucas Gusher” that erupted, spewing oil more than 150 feet in the air. The Lucas Gusher led to the Spindletop oil field, producing more oil in one day than the rest of the world combined.

Spindletop created oil companies that are still in business today, including Texaco, Exxon, Mobil, and Sun.

Utah

Signs of oil in Utah were noted in the mid-1850’s by geologists for the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. Many wells were only drilled to 1,000 feet deep, and no oil was found. Then in 1908, a former gold prospector produced an oil gusher. Other companies moved into the area to see if they would have the same success in finding oil. It took decades of drilling dry wells in Utah to finally discover more oil in 1948. Independent driller J.L. Dougan drilled for 25 years in Utah before this discovery, by drilling deeper than the usual 1,000 to 2,000 feet. His discovery started a deep-drilling boom.  Soon there were 30 wells in the oil field producing almost one million barrels a year.

Vermont

Vermont residents discovered natural gas in the state, and prospectors expected oil would soon follow. But no oil has ever been produced in Vermont.  While the state doesn’t have any known oil and gas reserves, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, since the old drilling technology found trace amounts. Currently, there is no drilling activity in the state, although it is allowed. However, Vermont was the first state in the country to ban fracking.

Virginia

The natural gas industry has made a huge impact on Virginia’s economy. The state’s first well was drilled in 1898 for natural gas, and the first commercial natural gas well was drilled in 1931. Most of the state’s natural gas comes from the Appalachian Plateau in Southwestern Virginia.  Coalbed methane gas was first produced in 1988, and around 7,000 wells have been drilled in search of natural gas since that time. The natural gas industry continues to boost Virginia’s economy, with 2015 statistics showing 125,000 jobs and adding $11.97 billion into the economy.

Washington

Native Americans used oil in Washington long before the settlers arrived. There was an oil boom in 1885 after settlers who were digging for water struck oil. Roughly 500 or more dry wells were dug in Washington, but only one was successful enough for commercial production. It was drilled in 1957 and shut down in 1961.

West Virginia

In the 1800’s, drilling for salt water was a common practice, and striking oil or gas was seen as a nuisance because it contaminated the salt brine. A well in Charleston first struck gas in 1815 at a time when oil and gas were of little importance. But once the value of oil and gas was realized, the region became popular for oil and gas drilling by using tools from the salt mining industry.

It was in West Virginia that Dr. I.C. White, a geologist, tested the anticlinal theory. The theory is that petroleum and natural gas will migrate to the highest part of permeable beds and will usually be found in anticlines — an arch of stratified rock in which the layers bend downward in opposite directions. The theory proved to be true, leading to the discovery of the Mannington oil field in 1888, one of the largest in the state.

Children in an oil field in Texas in the 1920's.
Children in a Texas oil field watch a team of horses pull a boiler in the 1920’s.
Photo: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Wisconsin

Some geologists stated that there was no oil to be found in Wisconsin. But seven oil companies formed in 1865 in Appleton brought in a constant stream of people to town. By 1866, Sparta had ten petroleum companies, and other towns began to see more companies spring up.   Over a million dollars was spent by locals investing in oil companies, but no oil was ever found.

Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Cody was world famous for his Wild West show, and even helped found a town that bears his name. But Cody was also an entrepreneur and explored other business opportunities. He was a partner in the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company, formed the W.F. Cody Hotel Company, and in 1902 he and his associate George Beck formed the Cody Oil Company. They looked for oil near Cody, Wyoming, but the company’s first well was ruined by water encroachment. Six years later he and his associates formed the Shoshone Oil Company. Unfortunately, the company did not discover a major oil strike. In 1915, Cody was planning a new oil company, the Buffalo Bill Oil & Gas Company. But Cody died on January 10, 1917, without making a major oil discovery.

Reclamation

Today, those drilling for oil and gas have a responsibility to restore the land back to its original condition to avoid harming the public and the environment. This can include plugging the well correctly to avoid seepage and contamination of groundwater, removing all equipment from the site, restoring the land, adding topsoil, and planting local plant species.

A surety bond guarantees that the reclamation work will be performed properly. The bond must be purchased from a surety that is licensed in that state.

SuretyGroup.com is licensed to write all surety bonds in all 50 states, including oil and gas well drilling bonds.

Call our Surety Bond Experts today at 844-432-6637 for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer low rates and fast service.

 

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