When a state or county allows a third party to assist in the issuance of hunting, fishing, or other game licenses and permits, a surety bond will often be part of the licensing requirements. The Hunting and Fishing License Agent Bond is used to ensure that all monies collected from such sales will be handed over to the obligee (regulatory agency).
As the surety bond provider, Jet Insurance Company will fulfill its obligation to the obligee for the payout of valid claims, but Jet also has an obligation to protect the licensee against false claims so we will always review claim allegations.
What Is Covered Under the Terms of the Bond?
The main thing that a Hunting and Fishing License Agent Bond protects against is the obligee suffering financial losses caused by an agent who doesn’t transfer over the money collected for the sale of hunting, fishing, trapping, etc. licenses or permits. Some states or counties may even implement bond language that would protect the obligee from losses caused by missing, stolen, or destroyed licenses or permits.
To be safe, license/permit agents (sometimes called sub-agents) can prevent bond claims in most, if not all, states by complying with the following actions:
- Protect all licenses/permits that come into their possession
- Account for misplaced or unsold licenses/permits at face value
- Faithfully transfer monies due to the obligee from the sale of licenses/permits
The license agent will need to submit reports and payments to the obligee each month to account for the business transacted. The obligee will set a due date—a common one is the first of the month.
Who Files a Claim?
Action against a surety bond is taken by the injured party which, in the case of Hunting and Fishing License Agent Bonds, would also be the obligee. The obligee would only be able to take action on the bond during the bond’s active period; typically, once the bond has ended, the surety company is not liable for any ensuing acts of the license agent.
Claims cannot exceed the bond limit that is set by the obligee. In many cases, the limit is based on the amount of business transacted by the license agent. Some states will have a set limit. For example, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission requires a $5,000 Hunting and Fishing License Agent Bond.
Bond Claim Process
When an obligee notices an error in the monthly reports or payments made by the license agent, the obligee can take disciplinary action against the license agent. This could be in the form of a demand of payment, penalties, fines, or even a bond claim. In the long run, a licensing agent who has a bond claim will need to pay back the claim and can also be liable for court costs or attorneys fees. So, if there is an opportunity to address the issue and fulfill the missing payment, it should absolutely be taken.
Once a claim is filed, Jet will take a look at all available information to verify the claim’s validity. If the license agent has any reports or proof of payment for their defense, now would be the time to submit that. However, since the claim is filed by the obligee they usually are able to provide sufficient proof in support of the claim allegation. Jet is obligated to pay out a valid claim as part of the indemnification process of a surety bond.
The nature of a surety bond means that the principal—the license agent, in this case—agrees to be held liable for their actions. So, once a claim is paid out, the license agent will need to pay Jet back in the amount of the claim. This repayment is not a bait-and-switch tactic used by Jet; it is a standard practice in the surety industry following a claim payout.
Dylan, a hunting and fishing license agent in Florida, holds a $1,000 Hunting and Fishing License and Permit Agent Bond. His monthly reports of how many licenses/permits were transacted didn’t match up with the amount of monies submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Upon notice of the discrepancy, Dylan has an opportunity to account for the missing funds.
If the Commission doesn’t receive the missing funds, the Commission would seek compensation by filing a claim against the Hunting and Fish Agent Bond. Jet will review the proof that the Commission provides and will reach out to Dylan for any evidence he can provide. After review, the Commission’s claim holds up and Jet has to make payment for the damages up to the $1,000 bond limit.
After the claim payout, Dylan has to pay Jet back in the amount that was paid out to complete the indemnification process.