Surety Bonds: Everything You Need to Know

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A surety bond is a contract. It is an agreement in which a surety company assures a project will be completed according to contract. If you are a contractor bidding for a construction project, this infographic will help you understand exactly what a surety bond is. It also shows why there is a need for surety bonds, and how they benefit contractors.

Surety bonds involve three parties: the surety company, the project owner, and the contractor. Whether a contract is for federal construction or the private sector, contractors must obtain surety bonds before bidding for a particular construction project. Contractors can obtain surety bonds from a surety company after undergoing a thorough pre-qualification process. A surety assesses the financial strength, business operations, and other qualifications before issuing a surety bond to a contractor. Surety bonds not only minimize the risk of contract default, but also increase a contractor’s project opportunities. However, there are different types of surety bonds used in the construction industry. See the below infographic to learn about the types of surety bonds your business needs.

Surety Bonds

Nielson, Hoover & Company Launches New App For Iphone Making Its Popular Bond Request App Even More Mobile

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August 12, 2015 Miami, FL – Nielson, Hoover & Company, Inc. is proud to announce that it has taken its highly successful iPad app, “#1 Bond Request”, that was introduced last year, and adapted it for the iPhone. This quick and easy mobile application is free and available now for download on iTunes. With over 700 million iPhones sold since its introduction, this unique app is a simple and convenient way to submit a bond request on this very popular mobile platform from any location at any time.

“The app was working so well on the iPad and with the number of iPhone users, it was only natural to offer our customers the ease of accessing it from their iPhones as well,” said David Hoover, President of Nielson, Hoover & Company, Inc. “With the addition of this iPhone app, we hope to provide the only resource people will need to request a bond,” he continued. The app allows people to remotely request a Bid or Performance and Payment Bonds and was designed with several exclusive features including the ability to store user information, saving time and effort for those who may need to submit multiple bond requests by eliminating the need to have to re-enter basic information needed for each bond request including bid amount, duration, retainage, bid bond percentage, etc. In addition, Nielson has enhanced the integration with the iOS camera so photos can be instantly uploaded, eliminating the need to scan and attach documents for bond requests.

Once a bond request is submitted, an experienced Nielson, Hoover & Company’s surety specialist will prepare it and send to you. If you are a prospect and not a current NHC client, they will analyze your request and provide the most effective strategy to help maximize your surety credit. Nielson, Hoover & Company has established themselves as the nation’s number one provider of surety bonds and continues to work hard every day to maintain that leader position. They have the expertise and ability to help companies attain the maximum bonding capacity, best rates and most favorable terms and conditions.

The “#1 Bond Request” iPhone app is free and available at (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1-bond-request/id866492100). You can also visit Nielson, Hoover & Company’s website at www.nielsonbonds.com to obtain a request form or you can submit the request electronically through Nielson, Hoover & Company’s website should your needs change.

About Nielson, Hoover & Company, Inc.

Nielson, Hoover & Company is America’s number one provider of surety bonds. They bond more projects than any other agency. Throughout the years, NHC has developed a deep understanding of the surety industry. This knowledge allows them to provide superior services and a comprehensive solutions way to maximize your bonding capacity with the best terms and conditions. They have the capacity and experience it takes to support the largest national contractors and the hometown knowledge and personal service to ensure mid and small size contractors receive the same attention and expertise. NHC does business with over fifty sureties which ensures you will be matched with the surety that is best for your particular need. As your needs change, they have the market that will best match your changing needs. Whether you are outgrowing your existing relationship, or have gone through some difficult times, they can help you.

Nielson, Hoover & Company is the largest independent surety agency in the South East with offices in Miami, Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Savannah, Charlotte, and Asheville. They have an extensive network of more than 20 experienced surety bond specialists. Their producers average over 20 years each in the industry with their customer service representatives averaging nearly 15 years.

To learn more about how Nielson, Hoover & Company can help you obtain the best rates and most favorable terms and conditions, please visit www.nielsonbonds.com or call 305.722.2663.

The Benefits of Surety Bonds for Contractors

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Surety bonds play a very important role in construction and are often required in many situations. A surety bond is a guarantee that the job will be completed as per the terms of the contract. In a surety bond, there are three parties- the obligee (project owner), the principal (contractor) and the surety (who assures that the task will be completed per the terms of the agreement).

Surety bonds offer numerous advantages over traditional bank guarantees. Contractors, sub-contractors, roofers, electricians and other laborers can enjoy many unique benefits. These include-

  • Surety bonds improve the reputation of the contractors as they’re considered capable of completing the project.
  • For surety bonds, no tangible security is required. As a result, contractors are free to use their assets for business growth and procurement of additional working capital.
  • A surety bond company can offer technical and financial assistance to the contractor. This significantly increases the chances of successful completion of the project.
  • Also, instead of paying for the whole facility, contractors are required to pay only for the bond limits used.

For these reasons, it is important for every contractor to obtain a surety bond that meets its specific needs and requirements of each project they undertake.

2015-01 Bond Newsletter

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2015-01

BOOM OR BUST… seems to be the central issue in every economic discussion. There is no question about the fact that 2014 was a “BOOM” in our South Florida market. There are naysayers who feel that we are headed for another “BUST”, particularly in the condo marketplace. The truth is, we have never had a condo bust in terms of over-building. What we experienced in 2008 was a national financial crisis that affected all markets including the real estate market. The approximate 10,000 unsold condo units that were on the market when our economy went over the cliff in the second half of 2008 were absorbed within the next couple of years, long before the end of the recession. So the answer to “Are we over-building condos” is “No” as long as we don’t experience another national economic crisis. Our condominium market is worldwide and unless we dive into a national or worldwide recession, there is a market for all the condominium units that we can build.

HOW LONG IS THE BOOM GOING TO LAST? First of all, no economic growth is consistently linear. In the best of times, it is always three steps forward and one step back. We have had and will always have every 7-8 years some retraction (recession) in our economy. In those times, growth may flatten or retract for a short period of time.

Let’s look at Florida not in the next 3-5 years, but for the next 25 years. In that regard, please note the following:

  1. 10,000 baby boomers each day reach retirement age. Obviously all do not retire, but many will and those who have not, are obviously on the cusp of retirement. Florida is arguably the most attractive state in the United States for the retirees to bring their 401Ks and settle in a condo, townhouse or ALF. When you consider the fact that Florida has no personal income tax, probably the best Homestead Exemption Laws in the country and, without question, the best weather of any state in the nation, Florida becomes a prime destination, not only for retirees, but for businesses who are looking to relocate.

  2. California currently has 38 million residents, Texas 27 million and Florida is the third largest state in the nation with approximately 20 million residents. Based upon more than one demographic study that has been done, it is projected that Florida will grow faster in raw population than any other state in the country in the next 25 years. One demographic study suggested that Florida will double its population in the next 25 years and those of us that are still here will be sharing Florida with approximately 40 million other residents. When you realize that there are 47 states in this country that don’t even have 20 million people today, the amount of infrastructure that it will take to accommodate 20 million people is almost impossible to fathom.

Once again, growth is never linear, but if you want to look at Florida from 5,000 feet, you would see nothing but growth and prosperity for the next quarter of a century and probably longer.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY… is an economy unto itself. Florida may grow rapidly, but Miami-Dade County is on fire and will be for many years. Miami-Dade County is no longer a place for disenfranchised Central and South Americans to invest their capital (usually by buying a condo), but Miami-Dade County is now a worldwide destination with prospects for aggressive economic growth far into the future.

In 2014, there was a 52% increase in construction contracts awarded here in South Florida with a total value of these contracts coming in at approximately $10 billion. That was $3.4 billion more than was awarded in 2013. To give further credence to our projections for population growth, 2014 saw a 62% increase from 2013 in the residential sector.

IN CONCLUSION… construction in Florida for the next 25 years is going to be hot and Miami-Dade County is on fire for the foreseeable future. From my personal perspective, the entire State of Florida is wonderful, but Miami is truly paradise.

***

AFTER MY VERY OPTIMISTIC VIEW OF FLORIDA… I hate to be pessimistic, but the growing population on this earth does provide us with some challenges. After listening to the dire prognostications for the ability of Californians to flush the toilet next year if drastic measures are not taken to alleviate the water shortages caused by their four year drought, I did some research as it relates to “water”. In that regard, be advised that 97.5% or more of all water on earth is salt water. Less than 0.75% of the fresh water remaining is accessible to sustain all non-marine plant and animal life.

Peak water is the point where the demands for safe clean fresh water begin to exceed the combined abilities of nature and man to replenish and supply it affordably and without harming ecosystems. The term was coined by Hydrologists who in a 2010 peer-reviewed article distinguished between Peek Renewable, Peek Non-Renewable and Peek Ecological Water to demonstrate that although there is a vast amount of water on earth, sustainability managed water is becoming scarce.

Water scarcity is no longer just a third world problem. Drought, drilling, agricultural, industrial and other demands on an already stressed water supply have brought about an unprecedented levels of ground water depletion throughout the U.S. The Key Ogallala Aquifer, for example, is just one of many being over-pumped at unsustainable rates. And once depleted, natural replacement could take up to 1,300 years.

The environmental community is currently pushing very hard to put limitations on hydraulic fracturing based upon the fact that it does end up consuming tremendous amounts of vital potable water. The current environmental “war cry”, as it relates to “peak water”, is that we are almost to that point and that we are sacrificing tremendous amounts of water to get oil and we can’t drink oil, yet we keep sacrificing our drinking water to get it. Environmental hand wringing on many fronts is not that uncommon, but in this case their argument against fracking may be something to think about.

***

IN THE FIRST BOND NEWSLETTER OF EACH YEAR, WE ALWAYS HAVE A “CURRENT EVENT” TEST JUST LIKE YOU DID IN GRADE SCHOOL… There are a total of 23 questions with the answers at the end of the bond newsletter.

  1. Unhappy voters dealt the Democrats a devastating defeat in the November congressional elections, as Republicans captured control of the Senate and expanded their margin in the House. What issue, according to exit polls, was most on the voters’ minds?

  2. Within $500 million, how much did candidates, parties, and outside groups spend in total to influence voters in the 2014 midterm elections?

  1. The voter turnout for the midterms was the lowest for any election cycle since 1942. Within 5 percentage points, what percentage of the voting-eligible population voted?

  2. Fill in the missing word: Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor who served as an architect of the Affordable Care Act, was caught on video saying the law passed because of the “ of the American voter.”

  3. About 70,000 people, mostly children, tried to enter the U.S. at the Mexican border this year. Which three countries, now overrun by drug gangs and plagued with violence and social breakdown, are most of these migrants from?

  4. The two Dallas nurses who were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia had contact with 344 people before they were diagnosed and hospitalized. How many of those 344 people later tested positive for Ebola?

  5. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied assisting rebels in eastern Ukraine. When confronted by photos and videos showing Russian troops in Ukraine, which of the following excuses did Russian officials not used?

  1. The soldiers were on vacation

  2. The images were Photo shopped and borrowed from video games

  3. The soldiers got lost and crossed the border by mistake

  4. The soldiers were actually Ukrainians pretending to be Russians

  1. Grover Norquist, the conservative anti-tax activist, caused surprise when he attended which countercultural festival this summer, where he drank absinthe and appeared at a talk on psychedelic drugs?

  2. Six young Iranians were sentenced to 91 lashes and up to one year in jail for the crime of making a hit YouTube video in which they danced to which feel-good song?

  3. A Turkish cosmetics company used a photo of imprisoned al Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in an ad without realizing who he was. What product did he inadvertently advertise?

  4. Facebook created a stir when it offered women employees a new health benefit. What was it?

  5. Two commercial flights had to make unscheduled landings because of out-of-control confrontations between passengers. What did two passengers want to do that infuriated the passengers behind them?

  6. What is the name of the new powdered nutritional drink that contains 35 essential nutrients and is being marketed as a total meal replacement, making it unnecessary to buy any prepared food?

  7. What word did Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg say should be banned when describing assertive and opinionated girls and women?

  8. The first-ever global study of anti-Semitic attitudes this year found that what share of the world’s population openly admits strongly anti-Jewish views?

  1. 9 percent

  2. 25 percent

  3. 45 percent

  1. The average cost of college rose by what percentage from 1989 to 2010?

  1. 90 percent

  2. 180 percent

  3. 207 percent

  1. A Pew Research Center poll found that what percentage of American adults did not read a single book last year?

  1. 12 percent

  2. 23 percent

  3. 52 percent

  1. Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops to seize Crimea in February and formally annexed it a few weeks later. Until 1954, Crimea was part of Russia. Who gave the strategic peninsula to Ukraine as a gift?

  2. The new prime minister of which country was a polarizing choice because he was state governor during a 2002 massacre of Muslim citizens?

  3. Which two countries won rights to host World Cup soccer tournaments in 2018 and 2022 amid allegations of bribery?

  4. What is the meaning of “Boko Haram,” the name of the Islamist group that has been kidnapping girls across Nigeria?

  5. Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Olympic sprinter, was found guilty of manslaughter in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. To how many years in prison was he sentenced?

  6. Name the three Latin American countries with women presidents.

***

WORLD WAR II WAS BOTH AN AMAZING AND TRAGIC PERIOD OF TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY… I think we all agree that even a single serviceman killed or wounded in the line of duty is a tragedy. In a perfect world, there would be no wars with the inevitable death and destruction. I am amazed, as I read World War II history, how resilient our military was and how strong the American people were as they daily endured the severe losses that we did during that terrible war. On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during World War II (about 220 a day). People who were not around during World War II have no understanding of the magnitude of the war or the losses we suffered. Our ability as a nation to produce the weapons of war (ships, aircrafts, tanks, guns, etc.) is arguably why we do not all speak German today.

Just looking at the aircrafts and pilots that flew the aircrafts in World War II gives us an amazing look at what our manufacturing capabilities were and of the courage of the pilots who flew the planes that we produced by the thousands. The following are a few facts to highlight both our economic power and the courage of our pilots:

  1. During World War II, 276,000 aircrafts were manufactured in the United States.

  2. 43,000 planes were lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat.

  3. From Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945 (2,433 days), America lost an average of 170 planes a day.

  4. A B-17 carried 2,500 gallons of high octane fuel and carried a crew of 10 Airmen.

  5. 9.7 billions of gasoline were consumed by the aircraft in World War II.

  6. 108 million hours of flying time were undertaken by our pilots during the war.

  7. 260,000 million rounds of aircraft ammo were fired overseas.

  8. 2.3 million combat flights were flown.

  9. There were 299,230 aircraft utilized and 808,471 aircraft engines used, including 799,972 propellers.

  10. Almost 1,000 planes disappeared on route from the U.S. to foreign countries during World War II.

  11. 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas, including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 in Europe) and 20,633 due to non-combat casualties overseas.

  12. In a single 376 plane raid in August of 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16% loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England that evening

  13. In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete the intended 25-mission tour in Europe.

  14. Over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat and another 18,000 wounded. Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including those “liberated” by Soviets, but never returned. More than 41,000 were captured. Half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. Total airmen casualties were 121,867.

I could go on endlessly with World War II statistics, but to conclude, at its height in mid-1944, the U.S.A.A.F. had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.

Today, the U.S. Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with approximately 5,500 manned and nearly 200 unmanned aircraft. That’s about 12% of the manpower and 7% of the airplanes of the World War II peak.

***

AS A PUBLIC SERVICE, I AM OUTLINING SEVEN (7) THINGS… that you might want to consider avoiding in 2015:

  1. Too much sugar…is a primary cause of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

  2. Artificial sweeteners…may be just as bad. A new study indicates that the additives can alter the body’s metabolism to make weight gain more likely, particularly around the mid-section.

  3. Pot smoking…can damage developing brains. Today’s more potent strains, in fact, can cause structural changes in a key region of the brains of people younger than 26.

  4. Pop stardom…leads to an early grave, an Australian study has revealed. Sydney University Professor, Dianna Kenny, looked at more than 12,000 popular musicians who died from 1950 to 2014 and found that their life spans were roughly 25 years shorter than the average American’s.

  5. Playing football…damages brains, even in players who don’t suffer concussions. Studies have shown that at least one-third of NFL players will develop some form of cognitive disorder.

  6. Low Vitamin D…levels can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

  7. An unhappy marriage…can break your heart – literally. A new study from Michigan State University indicates that people in contentious marriages are much more likely to develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack or stroke than their more happily wed contemporaries.

***

BASED UPON OUR REMARKABLE… Florida economy, contractors are testing the limits of their bonding programs more than they have since 2006. Nielson, Hoover & Company, Inc. is the largest surety broker in the Southeast United States in a large part due to our ability to constructively work with our accounts and their surety markets in extending aggregate programs. We understand, as our surety partners do, that the underwriting process is as much about management and organization as it is about the balance sheet.

If you have surety credit claustrophobia and are feeling penned in by the limits that your current broker and surety company are imposing on you, please give us a call and allow us to show you how we have opened up surety credit lines for so many contractors.

***

BEING A POLICE OFFICER… is a difficult and dangerous profession. The events of this last year magnifies the necessity for clear thinking and the ability to make split second decisions. The ramifications of making the wrong decision at the wrong time are obvious… People are injured or lives or lost. I am a great proponent of police officers wearing video cams as a way of protecting themselves and protecting the public. For a number of years, police car videos have been common in police departments around the country. In that regard, please note the following comments that were taken off actual police car videos around the country.

  1. You know, stop lights don’t come any redder than the one you just went through.”

  2. Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they are new. They will stretch after you wear them awhile.”

  3. If you take your hands off the car, I will make your birth certificate a worthless document.”

  4. If you run, you will only go to jail tired.”

  5. Can you run faster than 1,200 feet per second? Because that’s the speed of the bullet that will be chasing you.”

  6. You don’t know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want on the ticket”

  7. Yes sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don’t think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?”

  8. The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?”

  9. Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step on monkey poop.”

  10. In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC.” (National Crime Information Center)

  11. Just how big were those two beers you said you had?”

  12. No sir, we don’t have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we are allowed to write as many tickets as we can.”

  13. I am glad to hear that the Chief (of Police) is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bail.”

***

IN PARTING… let me leave you with five (5) undeniable facts:

  1. We all love to spend money buying new clothes, but we never realize that the best moments in our lives are enjoyed without clothes.

  2. Having a cold drink on a hot day with a few friends is nice, but having a hot friend on a cold night after a few drinks – PRICELESS

  3. Breaking news: Condoms do not guarantee safe sex anymore. A friend of mine was wearing one when he was shot dead by the woman’s husband.

  4. Arguing over a girl’s bust size is like choosing between Molson Heineken, Carlsberg, and Budweiser. Men may state their preferences, but will grab whatever is available.

  5. I haven’t verified this on Snoops, but it sounds legit… A recent study found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

***

SOMETHING WE ALL INTUITIVELY KNOW… When the early Jesuit fathers preached of Hurons and Choctaws, they often prayed for forgiveness from the vengeance of the Squaws. Twas the women not the warriors that turned those brave explorers pale, for the Female of the Species is more deadly than the male. – Kipling

***

(1) The economy (2) $4 billion (3) 36.4 percent (4) “Stupidity” (5) Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (6) 0 (7) (d) The soldiers were actually Ukrainians pretending to be Russians (8) Burning Man in Nevada (9) Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” (10) Body hair-removal cream (11) Paying to freeze their eggs for future in vitro fertilization (12) Recline their seats (13) Soylent (14) “Bossy” (15) (b) 25 percent (16) (c) 307 percent (17) (b) 23 percent (18) Soviet Union leader Nikita Khruschev (19) India (Narendra Modi) (20) Russia and Qatar (21) “Western education is forbidden.” (22) Five (23) Argentina (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner), Brazil (Dilma Rousseff), Chile (Michele Bachelet)

Charles J. Nielson

CJN/cb

CHECK-OUT OUR NEW FREE MOBILE APP ON iTUNES THAT ALLOWS

YOU TO REQUEST A SURETY BOND ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

We are proud to introduce our new, fast and convenient mobile application “#1 Bond Request” for use with the iPad. This free app is now available for download on iTunes and allows you to quickly and easily submit a bond request from any location no matter how remote.

The app was created with several unique features including the ability to store your company’s information, saving you the hassle of having to re-type this data every time you submit a bond request, including a bid amount, bid bond percentage, duration, retainage, etc. In addition, integration with the iOS camera eliminates the need to scan and attach documents for bond requests.

Once a bond request is submitted, one of our surety specialist will have it prepared and sent to you. If you are not already a client, we will analyze your request and provide the right strategy to maximize your surety credit.

The “#1 Bond Request” app is free and available today at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1-bond-request/id866492100?mt=8. You can also visit www.nielsonbonds.com to obtain a request form or you can submit the request electronically through our website.

AS PART OF OUR NEW CORPORATE RE-BRANDING, NIELSON HOOVER GROUP IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE LAUNCH OF OUR NEW WEBSITE.

Our new site has been created to offer a more user-friendly experience and to meet the demands of our mobile users. Some of the key features of the new design include the ability for visitors to easily navigate through the diverse risk management companies under the Nielson Hoover umbrella, including: Nielson, Hoover & Company, Collinsworth, Alter, Fowler & French, LLC, Collinsworth, Alter, Lambert, LLC and Suretegrity, the only company in the country with the technology to deliver all Surety Bond offerings instantly online.

The site’s refreshed look, combined with its easy navigation, enhanced content, and mobile optimization, helps emphasize the company’s commitment to our clients as well as provide a detailed overview of the products and services that the Nielson Hoover Group has to offer. In addition, the site allows you to easily and quickly make a bond request online or to reach out to any member of our team instantly online with the click of a button.

To take a look, go to http://www.nielsonhoovergroup.com

2014-02 Bond Newsletter

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IF A BEAUTIFUL AREA IN A PERFECT CLIMATE AND A BOOMING ECONOMY DEFINE “PARADISE”… then those of you living in South Florida are enjoying your own personal paradise. When the economy went over the cliff in the second half of 2008, our prospects for a quick recovery looked very gloomy. Economic pundits were predicting that the approximate 10,000 condo units on the market, principally in Miami-Dade County at that time, would take ten (10) years to be absorbed into the marketplace. Within 2½ years most of that inventory had been absorbed and new condominiums were being planned.

According to some very reliable and high profile sources in the real estate marketplace, the last condo boom will look anemic compared to what will be coming within the next 5-10 years. It is important to realize that the real estate bust that we experienced after the crash of 2008 was not a real estate problem, but a national financial meltdown. There is absolutely no evidence that we have ever over built condos in our marketplace. The process of selling condominiums has been disrupted by national and international financial issues, but the demand for the product itself has always been there. Over 90% of the condominiums in the South Florida market are sold to other than U.S. citizens. The market for our condominiums is therefore worldwide with less than 10% being purchased by U.S. residents. It is difficult, if not impossible, to gauge the demand for a real estate product where the demand is generated from around the globe.

Although the data changes on a daily basis, since the rebuilding boom has started, there have been 268 condominiums in the planning, construction or completed stages. Twenty six (26) have been completed, forty (40) are under construction and the remainder are somewhere in the planning or permitting stages. The South American financing approach to the condominiums has proven to be a viable and successful approach thus far. The banks, however, are starting to feel a bit left out and a number of banks are competing for the business.

***

LET’S TAKE A BREATHER FROM OUR “IT’S GREAT TO LIVE IN PARADISE” SCENARIO… and talk about how men can extend their enjoyment of paradise by living a little bit longer. New research has uncovered a surefire way to add up to 20 years to men’s lives: castrate them. When Korean researchers analyzed the genealogical records of males who were castrated as boys to serve in the Palace of the Chosun Dynasty between the late 14th and early 20th centuries, they found that the Eunuchs lived between 14 and 19 years longer on average, than their non-castrated peers. The records also show that 3 of the 81 Eunuchs lived to be 100, a rate about 130 times higher than among people in developed countries today. The findings support “the idea that male sex hormones decrease the life span of men”.

In contrast to estrogen, which appears to enhance longevity, testosterone seems to weaken the immune system and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower levels of the male hormone may be a main reason why women tend to live longer than men and are ten times as likely to reach the age of 110. I have given you the facts men, you know what to do.

***

ON A LOOK FORWARD BASIS FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS… Florida may have the best economic prospect in the nation. Two demographic studies have predicted that Florida’s population could double in the next 25 years. That would put us at approximately 40 million people. Miami-Dade County is the economic engine of Florida and, as I mentioned in my previous bond newsletter, the United Nations recognizes 195 countries in the world and if Miami-Dade County were a country, we would be the 60th largest economy in the world. There are 135 countries with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) less than Miami-Dade County’s.

In my world, Florida is one of the three (3) largest surety premium producing states in the nation (California, Texas, Florida). Ironically, Florida has never produced a “jumbo” construction company…one that produces $1.0 billion or more of revenue on an annual basis. Last year, the largest Florida construction entity produced $443 million of revenue.

Florida has no real smoke stack industry. Jumbo construction companies are produced by huge manufacturing facilities, pharmaceutical facilities, and large government projects, particularly those that come under the Army Corps of Engineers. We are a very middle market economy with large contractors doing between $150 million and $250 million of revenue a year. Most of our construction economy is generated by contractors doing between $5 million and $50 million a year. These projects are typically funded by multiple municipalities and taxing districts in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. After the recession, the funding dried up and these projects stopped. It is only now that we are seeing the slow return of these projects, but the various municipalities in South Florida are a year or two (2) behind the private money. Tax revenues have to regenerate themselves to fund the capital budgets. For the last couple of years the tax revenues in Miami-Dade County have risen rather dramatically. Last year the county’s tax rolls rose (now at $210 billion) and tax revenue rose by 6.5% which hopefully will have a positive effect on the county’s capital budgets.

***

IT IS NO SECRET… I have not been a fan of our current President, but feel duty bound to acknowledge a recent study done by a group that rated President Obama the fourth best President:

(1) Reagan and 9 others tied for first.
(2) 15 Presidents tied for second.
(3) 18 other Presidents tied for third.
(4) Obama came in 4th.

Based upon all that is going on from an economic and international perspective, I am certain I will not get as much push back as I might have gotten a few years ago. From a military standpoint, I consider myself a “hawk”. I think we should and that we must maintain the strongest military in the world. There is a reasonable debate as it relates to ground troops and their numbers. On the other hand, we must dominate the skies and we must dominate the seas. It concerns me that Obama’s plans to shrink the Navy, and China’s rate of building their Navy, would give China Naval dominance within seven (7) years. This can never happen.

On the other hand, I do agree with President Obama that there is no United States solution to Iraq, Syria, Libya, and particularly Afghanistan. These countries consist primarily of tribal cultures that have existed in some cases for thousands of years. Without completely annihilating the populations and starting from scratch, we cannot change them no matter how much blood we leave in the sand.

Whether it is ISIS or al-Qaeda, we are not going to militarily wipe them out. We can drastically diminish their ability to act against us as we have been doing for years in a number of African countries. Al-Qaeda continues to exist, but the airstrikes and drones have contained that threat. In the Middle East, citizens of the various countries are going to have to step up to secure their borders and their way of life. I think that we can do a tremendous amount based upon airstrikes and drones to assist their efforts, but I do agree with President Obama that it would be foolish to send any troops into any one of those countries. We should never have been in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. Everything that we need to do can be accomplished from thirty thousand feet, and with our superior intelligence gathering abilities.

Our military continues to say that airstrikes are not enough to destroy ISIS and they may be correct, but no matter what we do, we probably are not going to destroy ISIS. I am totally unconvinced that our air power cannot contain them, along with the intelligence and training that we can provide for the locals. It is interesting to note that a number of years after the end of the Vietnam War, the leaders of North Vietnam admitted that if we had continued our B-52 bombing strikes over Hanoi for one more month, they would have surrendered to the U.S. The Air Force, intelligence, and drones are the answer to containing the various threats around the world, not American blood. To a great extent, even as a hawk, I subscribe to the great Lao-Tzu who said: “It was only when you see a mosquito landing on your testicles that you realize that there is always a way to solve problems without using violence.”

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IN MY OPINION IT IS OVER… Whether drastic changes come in the next five (5) years or whether we stumble on a little longer, the end of the age of entitlement is around the corner. The welfare state seemed like a good idea at the time. In the economic boom following World War II, successive Presidents launched a great liberal experiment — an “entitlement paradise” in which everyone would enjoy a job, a home, a lifetime pension and the most sophisticated medical care on the planet.

These things can no longer be considered privileges; they were rights, which “fairness” demanded that the government provide, if you couldn’t provide them yourself. But today, with crushing debt and an aging population, the experiment is failing as far as I am concerned. When President Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security, the average life span of American men was 58 years of age. Now many people live into their 80’s and 90’s, thanks to costly drugs, artificial hips, and organ transplants for which they expect to pay little, if anything.

People collect far more in Medicare and Social Security than they contribute while working. To pay these bills, the U.S. has been printing money, and taking on $17 trillion in debt. Is it cold hearted or cruel to note the obvious? We can no longer afford to guarantee every American the good life. Good intentions are fine, but without means, they are useless and in the very near future some very difficult political and economic realities are going to be forced upon our government and the American people.

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GREAT BRITAIN AND GERMANY… in my opinion are the only two fiscally responsible economies in Europe. It is, therefore, disappointing when we see the Germans start to slip from basic economic and social reasonableness. The German government has proposed giving time off to grandparents so they can help their children care for their grandchildren. Family Minister, Kristina Schroder, said working grandparents should have the right to take up to three (3) years of leave without losing their jobs or credit towards their retirement benefits. In Germany the law requires that the parents who take maternity leave will get paid, but the grandparents who take advantage of their three (3) year leave will not get paid when they are not working. As stupid as the grandparents maternity leave law is, at least they do not require employers to continue to pay wages for the grandparents…at least not yet.

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SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT VLADIMIR PUTIN AND HIS UKRANIAN ASPIRATIONS… but in my opinion, President Putin has his act together, knows what he wants and has a plan to achieve it. In addition, Russia is smart enough not to let their culture and society be changed or controlled by an immigrating Muslim population as much as Europe and Great Britain have.

President Putin gave a speech to the Duma (Russian Parliament) about the tensions with minorities in Russia. The speech was as follows:

“In Russia, live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law and live the life of Muslims, then we advise them to go to those places where that’s the State law.

Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desire, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’. We will not tolerate disrespect of Russian culture. We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Muslims are taking over those countries and they will not take over Russia. The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of Sharia Law and Muslims.

When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that the Muslim’s minorities are not Russians.”

The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a five (5) minute standing ovation. Our legislative bodies both on a national and state level would be well advised to listen to Putin if our culture and way of life is to survive.

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THE ALL IMPORTANT MID-TERM ELECTIONS ARE COMING UPON US… On a national level, the key question is whether or not the Republicans will take the Senate. Based upon my reading and research, I would give the Republican Party a 60% chance of taking the Senate. We will need to win seven (7) additional seats to have a majority in the Senate. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is safe. The Republicans have the possibility of picking up eleven (11) additional seats, but I think we will add no more than six (6) to the House of Representatives.

As far as the gubernatorial race in the State of Florida is concerned, to me that situation is “black and white”. First of all, I think Rick Scott has done an excellent job (not perfect, but excellent) as Governor. There are over 2,500 business regulations that Governor Scott has trashed. There is a lot of argument as to how many jobs have been created under Governor Scott, but without question, Governor Scott’s pro-business policies have created over a half a million jobs compared to over one million jobs lost under the previous administration. Governor Scott and his administration have cut taxes twenty-four (24) times since he has been in office and will be cutting another $500 million in taxes this year, including a rollback of vehicle registration fees that were increased under Governor Crist. By the way, unemployment has been reduced by 6.3% and we have paid down $36.6 billion in State debt and paid back another $3.5 billion borrowed from the Federal Government for unemployment assistance. We have a balanced budget and for those of you concerned about crime, the crime rate in the State of Florida is now at a forty-two (42) year low…need more be said.

Although I think the political party of any candidate should be subordinate to the qualities of the individual, it is important to understand that a candidate’s policies on any issue are often mandated by the masters that they serve…the political parties that pays for their campaign. Therefore, it is very difficult for a Republican or a Democrat to stray too far from the stated party platforms. In that regard and for those interested, let me provide a comparison of the party platforms between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party as follows:

REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM

 

Safeguarding Religious Freedom: HHS Mandate

  • Republican Party opposes the HHS Mandate and firmly believes the government has no right to force individuals to abandon their religious beliefs and violate their moral values by forcing us to provide sterilization, abortions on demand and contraceptive coverage to their employees.
  • Republican Party supports the public display of the Ten Commandments in government agencies, judicial courts and public schools.
  • Republican Party affirms every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious objects or symbols, or becoming subject to government-imposed hiring practices.
  • Republican Party supports the right of students to engage in student led prayer in public schools, athletic events, and graduation ceremonies, when done in conformity with constitutional standards.
  • Republican Party deplores the increasing incidence of attacks against religious symbols, as well as incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Abortion – Protecting Innocent Life

  • Republican Party supports the Sanctity of Human Life and refuses to fund organizations performing abortions, like Planned Parenthood, the United Nations Convention on Women’s Rights, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Republican Party supports using adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells. Opposes investing federal funding and tax payer dollars in research that unethically destructs embryonic human life.
  • Republican Party opposes the use of public revenues to promote or perform abortions, nationally & international.
  • Republican Party supports the Born Alive Infants Protection Act that ensures infants who are born alive during an abortion receive the treatment and care that all newborn infants deserve.
  • Republican Party supports traditional family adoptions.

Education: Return education to parents – Abstinence

  • Republican Party supports programs for teens and funding for abstinence education, as the responsible and expected standard of behavior.
  • Republican Party supports School Choice, charter schools, vouchers and tax credits for attending faith-based or other nonpublic schools, as well as the option of home schooling.

Marriage – Preserving traditional marriage

  • Republican Party supports the Defense of Marriage Act, and recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  • Republican Party also encourages states to review their marriage and divorce laws to strengthen marriages.
  • Military, International and Homeland Security
    Republican Party opposes the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the Military, as this was the request made by its generals.
  • Republican Party supports Israel and all our allies, endorses strength through a strong Military force, a clear policy and firm position against our country’s enemies and support law enforcement agents for better Intelligence to fight bioterrorism and cyber-terrorism.
  • Budget, spending and taxes
    Republican Party favors the adoption of the Balanced Budget Amendment to force legislators to balance the budget every year except in time of war.
  • Republican Party understands our National Debt is a huge danger to our National Security and advocates reducing our expenses, minimizing regulations and running a smaller/smarter government.
    Republican Party believes in returning power to the states to return the power to the people.

Energy

  • Republican Party supports all energy sources and the Keystone Pipeline for energy independence and to secure American jobs.
DEMOCRAT PARTY PLATFORM

 

Safeguarding Religious Freedom: HHS Mandate

  • Democrat Party supports the HHS Mandate and the Supreme Court rules it Constitutional, so it is now the law of the land, and religious organizations, as well as employers with deep religious beliefs, are now forced to provide sterilization, abortions on demand and contraceptive coverage to their employees.
  • Democrat Party opposes the public display of the Ten Commandments and enforces the separation of church and state.
  • Democrat Party opposes all faith-based initiatives on government property, including government agencies, judicial courts and public schools.
  • Democrat Party bans students from engaging in prayer in public schools, athletic events and graduation ceremonies.
  • Democrat Party opposes all displays of religious objects or symbols in government property.

Abortion – A woman’s right to choose

  • Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose an abortion, regardless of ability to pay. It also supports organizations like Planned Parenthood and United Nations abortion rights efforts.
    Democrat Party supports investing federal funds and tax payer dollars in research that destructs embryonic human life.
  • Democrat Party supports using public funds to perform abortions through Planned Parenthood.
    Democrat Party opposes the Born Alive Protection Act, and passed legislation preventing physicians from providing medical care to babies born alive after a botched abortion.
  • Democrat Party supports gay adoption of children.

Education: Public Schools control education

  • Democrat Party supports providing age-appropriate sex education to children, as early as elementary grades.
  • Democrat Party opposes School Choice and prefers all schooling to be received through the Public School System.

Marriage – Same sex marriage and civil unions

  • Democrat Party opposes the Defense of Marriage Act and supports same sex marriages.
  • Democrat Party supports the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation.

Military, International and Homeland Security

  • Democrat Party repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in opposition of the recommendations of military leaders.
  • Democrat Party endorses a reduction in our military force and urged Israel to change its borders to benefit the Palestines.

Budget, spending and taxes

  • Democrat Party favors putting end to the special interest driven corporate loopholes and eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy.
    Democrat Party endorses Stimulus bills and bailouts to save failing industries.
  • Democrat Party believes in big government and looks to remove powers from the states and transfer them to the federal government.

Energy

  • Democrat Party only supports green energy to benefit the environment and prevent global warming.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA SHERIFF… has provided us with a very enlightened view of a liberal paradise.

“A liberal paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive health care, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities and only law enforcement has guns.

And believe it or not, such a place does exist, it’s called prison.”

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TRUST ME… If we currently do not have the privilege of providing surety credit for your company, there has never been a better time to set up a “back-up Line of Surety Credit”. Please give us a call and let’s discuss.

Parting shot: “The one difference between death and taxes is that death does not get worse every time Congress meets.” – Will Rogers