Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 28

Rick Levesque of
The Hartford Bond
and Chairman of the
Pearlman Association.

entire team and the task at hand is not
one of building stats, but of winning.

opportune moment. Such a Promise
might look something like this:

THE PROMISE: YES, VIRGINIA...
Do the right thing. A fairly common mantra and scope of authority
broadly adopted across the surety
claim business. I've always considered the approach to be a pretty good
gig for the company with all risk of
possibly doing the wrong thing being
placed squarely upon the shoulders
of the claim handler. Nevertheless,
I've considered myself blessed for
always having had the freedom to go
after "the right thing," whatever that
might turn out to be. Some observers less familiar with the tripartite
nature of our business would suggest
that the Promise or the "right thing"
is simply performing as demanded.
Such an approach, however, ignores
the realities of the tripartite relationship, which include, at a minimum,
three complex agreements, each of
which contains material provisions
with respect to the claim at hand,
each of which incorporates, makes
reference to or is conditioned upon
the other, and each of which packs a
collection of complementary, competing and colliding contract provisions. Against that kaleidoscopic
backdrop, to suggest the existence
of a promised outcome upon one
party's making of a claim would be
unsupportable under all but the rarest of circumstances. The Promise is
better understood as one of a promised process, a commitment by the
company to insert high value claim
resources into the fray at the earliest

We promise that we are fully committed to staffing claim situations
with surety professionals who are
experienced, responsive, enterprising/innovative, collaborative, act
with urgency and integrity and that
we will objectively, quickly and fairly
make and implement decisions giving due regard to the balancing of
interests between each of the participants to the process along with
the circumstances of the project or
transaction.

28

So, now that we have an idea of
what a Promise might look like, the
question we are left with is two-fold:
(1) do we as an industry have the
gumption to insist upon and deliver
Promise-like service; and, (2) if so, will
such a commitment suffice to counter
current marketplace criticisms being
directed at the surety bond product.
The key to the latter inquiry will
depend upon how well and accurately
customer expectations are built at the
front end, an effort largely neglected
and one which the surety bond producer is ideally situated to address.
BONDS AND THE ART OF
EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT
Customer satisfaction, not surprisingly, is highest when expectations
are met or exceeded with respect to
a product or service. In a free market,
satisfaction levels will set the tone for
repeat purchases, product loyalty,
and the like.

SURETY BOND QUARTERLY | SUMMER 2014

As bond professionals, we have
the good fortune of working in an
industry where many of our products
are required by law. The important
prequalification function and the hundreds of millions in loss payments
expended by sureties each year are
a compelling testament to the value
of the product. And yet, there seems
to be a growing frustration among
certain of our customers with regard
to the claim process and related
outcomes. While industry focus on
implementing Promise-like processes
is likely a large part of the solution,
all such efforts will be of no avail if
the expectations of the customer are
at odds with whatever outcome it
received, no matter how exceptional
the claim process.
While the responsibility for creating the proper customer expectation
falls to all surety professionals, the
producer occupies an ideal vantage
point from which to teach and disseminate information critical to the public's/
customer's understanding of the benefits, purposes and limits of our bond
products. And, relatedly, the surety
bond producer serves an important
gatekeeper function on the back end
through its ability to match informed
customers exclusively with markets
committed to providing excellent customer/claims service. The surety bond
producer's careful stewardship of these
two important functions will do much
to address current market criticisms of
the surety bond product.
●
Rick Levesque, a director with Hartford
Bond, has worked in the surety claim
industry since 1987, principally in the
area of construction performance
and payment bonds. Levesque is a
former director of the National Bond
Claims Association and the founder
and current chairman of the Pearlman
Association, a 501(c)(3) surety training organization. He began his surety
career after law school, enjoying positions with Reliance Surety, St Paul
Fire and Marine and Hartford Bond.
He holds CPCU, AFSB and AIC designations. He can be reached at
rick.levesque@thehartford.com or
253-853-2203.



Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014

NASBP Upcoming Meetings and Workshops
2014-2015 NASBP Executive Committee
From the CEO: We have a great story so let's tell it!
Practical Insights: What You Need to Know - Cost charging in government contracts can result in common, but avoidable pitfalls
Strength in numbers: Harness the power of networking
Profile: President Thomas M. Padilla
Proving your worth: Surety bond producers provide value to clients and beneficiaries
NASBP Fall Workshops
Contract surety claims: The promise - Pact or fiction
Commercial surety claims: A case study on the bond producer's role in assisting a client to avoid loss and maintain surety credit through bankruptcy
Develop the techniques necessary to be an effective policy advocate
NASBP Annual Meeting focuses on the importance of mentoring and critical industry information
Index to Advertisers
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - cover1
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - cover2
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 3
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 4
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 5
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 6
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 2014-2015 NASBP Executive Committee
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - From the CEO: We have a great story so let's tell it!
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 9
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Practical Insights: What You Need to Know - Cost charging in government contracts can result in common, but avoidable pitfalls
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 11
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Strength in numbers: Harness the power of networking
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 13
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 14
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 15
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Profile: President Thomas M. Padilla
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 17
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 18
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 19
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Proving your worth: Surety bond producers provide value to clients and beneficiaries
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 21
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 22
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 23
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - NASBP Fall Workshops
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 25
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Contract surety claims: The promise - Pact or fiction
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 27
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 28
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Commercial surety claims: A case study on the bond producer's role in assisting a client to avoid loss and maintain surety credit through bankruptcy
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 30
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 31
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Develop the techniques necessary to be an effective policy advocate
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 33
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - NASBP Annual Meeting focuses on the importance of mentoring and critical industry information
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 35
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 36
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - 37
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - Index to Advertisers
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - cover3
Surety Bond Quarterly - Summer 2014 - cover4
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