Monday, February 8, 2010

What it Takes to Energize the Bail Bond Industry

I was recently asked by a colleague at AIA, “What would make bail bond agents energized to join their local, state or national bail bond association?” This question puzzled me at first since I am aware of the difficulties faced by these associations in growing an active and participating membership. After a few moments of reflection, I responded by saying that typically nothing short of a crisis tends to galvanize bail bond agents to act together in a concerted manner through an association.

A recent example of this is what is happening in the Virginia bail bond industry, which up until this year was barely heard from across the country. In the last several months, a group called The Virginians for the Preservation of Bail has effectively reached out to the industry, and today are well along the way to passing pro-bail legislation in that State. AIA has tried to play its part in the efforts by partnering with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and sending out information to key legislators in Virginia to help educate and assist with the passage of this important measure.

Concurrently, in Florida, with its two associations (FSAA and B.A.I.L. Florida), there is movement to push similarly important bail bond industry legislation that would pull back the pretrial release threat to our industry. In order to assist in those efforts, AIA is participating along with several other sureties through the American Bail Coalition (ABC). If you want to learn more about these efforts, please feel free to contact our communications group at

I would also like to think that these suddenly energized movements have occurred because bail bond agents in those states have decided that becoming engaged in the process of protecting and growing the bail bond industry is the right thing to do. Hopefully this kind of collaborative action and thinking can play a part in the ongoing efforts of all state bail bond agent associations to get agents to actively participate. From these few examples above, you can see what happens when agents come together with purpose…just think of the potential impact we could have if we were able to harness and sustain these kinds of efforts.

If your local, state or national bail bond association is struggling with energizing its base or building its membership, I think it is important to create one or several key missions or strategies you wish to pursue. Make that initiative well-known to agents in your area and then, encourage agents to not just pay dues, but to get active in setting and driving policy. Do the same with the bail bond insurance companies...they can play an important role.  That’s how trade associations work and that is how they becoming important and influential bail bond industry voices. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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