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Zurich's specialist Surety unit has been at the forefront of the surety bond market for over 65 years. A Zurich bond is a guarantee of the obligations of one counterparty to another, with the guarantee that Zurich will cover any potential loss and damages up to the agreed bond limit.

Our appetite is to support strong financially sound organisations based both in the UK and overseas requiring meaningful surety capacity of £10million or more and typically having revenues in excess of £100 million.

  • Products and Services

    More details about our solutions

    • Performance bond - a guarantee to an employer of the performance of a contract, in accordance with terms and conditions.

    • Advance payment bond - a guarantee given when money is paid before goods or services are supplied.

    • Retention bond - a guarantee issued in place of money that would otherwise be held as retention.

    • Road and sewer bond - bonds to ensure that statutory obligations in relation to the construction and maintenance of roads or sewers are fulfilled.

    • For the full list of bonds available, please see the factsheet.

    Standard Bonds


    The advantages of having a Zurich Bond facility.

    1. Improved working capital as banking facilities are not reduced by bonding lines. Experienced Finance Directors and Treasurers regard a Zurich facility as being an essential complement to banking facilities.
    2. You can plan ahead and tender for new work in the knowledge that you have a facility available to meet your bonding requirements.
    3. As your customers' requirements will vary, our underwriting is flexible and responsive.
    4. We review bond wordings at tender or negotiation stage (without any additional charge) and work with you and your advisors to identify unusual or onerous bonding risks. We understand the issues you face.
    5. We understand the issues you face.

    Remember, we are here to help you.

    Once you have a bonding facility we will give your bond applications individual attention and encourage you, as part of your own risk management, to work with us in checking bond wordings at tender or negotiation stage to address problematic conditions. We will work with you and your customer to provide a bond that works for you both

    PFI & PPP

    The increasing use of private finance to fund capital projects for the provision of public facilities such as roads, hospitals, schools, prisons, courts and police headquarters and the introduction of 'best value' requirements following the Local Government Act 1999, have resulted in the need for a wider range of bonds.

    Bonds may be required not only to guarantee the contractual performance of a construction contract, but also to guarantee the performance of facilities management and operational obligations. Funders and providers of capital require adequate security to ensure completion and delivery of the project, upon which the revenue stream required to service the financial obligations of the concession company (or SPV) will normally be dependent. As a result, bond amounts may be more than the customary 10% of contract value.

    Contract and operational considerations might mean that bonds are needed over longer periods and that they include speedy recourse and dispute resolution mechanisms.

    Zurich has been involved in a large number of transactions for PPP, PFI and best-value arrangements and our experienced team can work speedily and knowledgeably with professionals and funders to produce bespoke bond documentation for each project. Zurich's investment-grade strength can support you in delivering major projects.

    If you'd like to know more please contact us.

    LGPS & service providers

    The importance of the services sector has increased as more major corporations and public sector organisations outsource non-core services for greater efficiency and cost saving. Support services and facilities management providers are expanding their activities in response to growing demand and the need for quality service was increased by the Local Government Act 1999 which introduced a 'best value' test for such arrangements.

    Zurich works with service providers and facilities management contractors to meet the requirements of employers, municipal and government bodies to secure the performance of key or essential services by the provision of bonding arrangements underpinning contracts. We also offer bonds that guarantee the work of private sector contractors joining the Local Government Pension Scheme as 'Transferee Admission Bodies' in accordance with Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations.

    Zurich appreciates that these service and outsourcing contracts are individual arrangements, with detailed negotiations involved in each case. We work flexibly with everyone involved to devise a bonding structure that matches requirements.

    We would be pleased to work with service providers and facilities management contractors to develop bonding arrangements and structures that meet their contractual commitments and the protection requirements of the employer.


    Local authorities and statutory agencies require bonds in connection with agreements under the Highways, Water and Planning Acts and other statutory provisions. These bonds guarantee that you, the developer, will complete the roads or sewers to enable them to be adopted by the local authority or perform undertakings entered into under the Planning Acts.

    If you are, or are likely to be, a party to an agreement of this type, why not arrange a separate bonding facility with Zurich?

    With a Zurich facility, you have the added advantage of our technical expertise and for the more complex requirements, we will work with you to tailor an agreement for your individual development.

    If you would like to know more about a Zurich bond facility then please contact us. Alternatively see details of our simple application procedure on the application form page.

    Housing associations

    Housing associations require bonds and guarantees to secure obligations under the Highways, Water, and Planning Acts.

    Zurich supports a large number of associations with substantial bonding facilities. A Zurich facility is an efficient way of meeting your requirements and improving working-capital resources by avoiding utilisation of important banking facilities.

    With a Zurich facility, you also have the added advantage of our technical expertise. We will work with you to tailor agreements to your individual needs and to suit your individual commercial arrangements.

    If you would like to know more about a Zurich bond facility please contact us.


    Are you aware that there is an alternative to the bank for customs bonds and guarantees?

    Zurich is an approved issuer of guarantees for HM Revenue & Customs. A deferment guarantee to HM Revenue & Customs allows you to take a period of credit, up to one month, for the payment of taxes and duty payable on the import or movement of goods from bonded warehouses.

    A Zurich customs bond facility leaves your bank credit lines available for working capital and other funding requirements.

    Zurich has developed long-term successful relationships with businesses requiring customs bonds. We would be pleased to discuss how we can help your business.


    Prudent employers protect their investment in projects by seeking performance bonds. A bond provides the comfort of an independent assessment of the contractor's ability to complete the project and a guarantee of payment up to an agreed limit (in the UK, usually 10% of the contract price) upon default and in cases where the contractor becomes insolvent.

    With our long-established reputation and the strength of the Zurich Financial Services Group behind us, you can trust the financial protection offered by a Zurich bond.

    We apply rigorous vetting procedures to all contractors, taking into account their ability, experience and financial strength. Where we provide bond facilities we make a point of getting to know bonded contractors and their senior personnel.

    A contractor who can supply a Zurich bond provides that extra level of confidence and financial protection.

    Your contractual rights are protected even if the contractor becomes insolvent. We will work with you to decide on the most cost-effective and prompt way of completing the project.

    A number of employers have put in place cost-effective bond schemes with Zurich for all their projects. We would be pleased to provide further details. See our contact list to find out how to get in touch with us.


    We always remember that clients have a choice. An independent professional surety broker is able to give objective advice. We recognise the important role that you have to play in making sure that your client has adequate bonding facilities in place on the right terms. We believe in working together with you to help your clients.

    We understand that it is important for you to receive prompt replies which is why we aim to deal with your facility applications within two working days and process bond requests for clients by return.

    We take a flexible approach to underwriting and offer bespoke surety structures for complex projects, including joint ventures.

    If you are looking for a bonding facility for a client please contact us.

  • FAQs

    What is a surety bond?

    A surety bond is a guarantee to pay the direct loss suffered as a result of a breach of contractual or legal obligations. In practice, this breach would usually occur if the party responsible for these obligations becomes insolvent. A surety bond is a written agreement that transfers risk of contractors default to a surety providing protection for the employer under a contract.

    Why have a bond from an insurance company?

    Zurich Global Corporate UK's surety business, formerly carried on by Zurich GSG Limited has been at the forefront of the specialist surety bond market for over 60 years. We are a member of Zurich Insurance Group Limited – one of the largest insurance and financial services providers in the world.

    Our superior technical expertise means that we can offer invaluable assistance with bond wordings, working with you and your advisors to identify unusual or onerous bonding risks (although we always recommend that clients should obtain their own independent legal advice on bonded transactions)

    All applications receive the highest personal attention. Facility applications are usually reviewed within two working days. Once a facility is in place, we will issue bonds on the same day*

    You can plan ahead and tender for new work in the knowledge that you have a facility available to meet your bonding requirements.

    When a bank issues a bond, the value of such a bond is usually offset against a contractor’s bank facilities. Having a Zurich surety facility means that your working capital and bank borrowing facilities are not affected. Zurich surety bonds can be a very useful addition to your company’s liquidity.

    Beneficiaries of a Zurich bond can be assured that not only have we assessed the financial strength of our clients, but also their capacity and capability to fulfil their contractual obligations to completion.

    Zurich will review bond wordings, without any additional charge, and work with you and your advisors to identify unusual or onerous bonding risks.

    *It may be necessary to negotiate amendments to non-standard bond forms.

    What type of bonds do Zurich provide?

    We issue many types of bonds and guarantees for different industries and obligations. Some examples of the bonds we provide include; performance bonds, advance payment bonds, retention bonds, road and sewer bonds, infrastructure bonds, HM Revenue & Customs bonds, regulatory and license bonds and court bonds. This list is not exhaustive and if you do not see the product you require listed please contact us to see if we can assist.

    How do I apply for a bond?

    We usually need audited accounts for the last two years (consolidated accounts where the company is part of a group), up-to-date management accounts and details of your banking information. A copy of our facility and bond application forms can be downloaded from this site. Once we receive them we aim to review your application and contact you within two working days. All information provided will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

    Why do you need so much financial information?

    As a surety facility is a line of credit, we must assess your financial standing. Our rigorous underwriting criteria means that we need to understand your business which involves fully reviewing audited accounts up to date management figures and banking information.

    We underwrite on a consolidated basis, so if your company is part of a larger group of companies we do require financial information from your ultimate parent company.

    Once a facility is in place, although we like to maintain regular contact, we do not normally require further information until facility review and bonds can be issued with the assurance that a thorough assessment has taken place.

    Can you always offer terms after you receive applications?

    All applications for a surety facility are reviewed by an underwriter. Applications must meet our underwriting criteria in order for terms to be offered. In some cases a facility may only be offered subject to the satisfaction of additional conditions. In some cases we may, unfortunately, be unable to offer terms.

    What is the difference between surety & insurance?

    Surety bonds (as contracts of guarantee) are not contracts of insurance. They are made available on recourse terms so that, if the surety has to pay the employer, it is entitled to seek reimbursement from the principal / contractor.

    Unlike indemnity insurance, where the premiums effectively pay for any losses, surety bond premiums are ‘credit and service fees’ charged for the use of the surety company’s financial backing and guarantee.

    What is a counter indemnity?

    A counter indemnity is a legal agreement which entitles Zurich, as guarantor of your surety bonds, to be reimbursed in the event that we have to pay any claims under the bonds we have issued on your behalf.

    A counter indemnity reinforces our common law and statutory recourse rights against the company for whom we issue bonds and for its group.

    How much will my bond cost?

    We have no fixed rates. Each case is reviewed upon its own merits. The rate applicable will be determined by reference to all the factors considered in our underwriting appraisal but primarily the financial strength and the likely volume and nature of the bonds.

    Can I ask you to cancel a bond issued to guarantee my obligations?

    Generally not. Bonds (unlike indemnity insurance) are agreements between three persons (Employer / Contractor / Surety) for the benefit of one of them (the Employer). Unless the bond is released or expires in accordance with its express terms, only the Employer can agree to release / cancellation.

    What are your payment terms?

    Payment terms are normally 30 days, although on occasions payment will be required before a bond can be issued.

    Are you an authorised insurance company?

    Yes. Zurich Insurance plc is authorised by the Irish Financial Regulator and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Services Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Services Authority are available from us on request. Bonds are issued by Zurich Insurance plc through Zurich Surety, 2nd Floor Norfolk House, 7 Norfolk Street, Manchester, M2 1ZU.

    Why is it important bonds are obtained from a regulated company?

    The beneficiary of a bond must be certain that the bonds it obtains offer the protection it requires. It is therefore essential that the surety company can meet its obligations in the event of a claim. This certainty cannot be assured if bonds are not issued by regulated institutions.

    Employers should check proposed surety companies with the Association of British Insurers (who have a list of members, including Zurich, authorised to provide bonds) and the Financial Services Authority.

    What are your opening hours?

    Our core opening hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm although calls will normally be answered between 8:00am and 6:00pm.

    Still have other questions?

    We have tried to answer as many frequently asked questions as possible. If you cannot find an answer please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Application Forms

    Bond Application Forms

    To set up a new bond facility, all we need you to do is send us your:

    • Completed application form

    • Last two years' consolidated audited accounts (not applicable for Bonds of Caution/Estate Bonds)

    • Details of banking and borrowing facilities

    • Details of bonding requirements

    Once we have received them we aim to review your application and contact you within two working days.

    We will contact you outlining our facility terms and if acceptable to you, we will issue facility documents for signature and return.

    Once your facility is in place, we will assist you by reviewing bond wordings, free of charge.

    On receipt of your completed bond application form we will issue bonds on the same day*

    *It may be necessary to negotiate amendments to non-standard bond forms.

    You can print out your application form by following the links below:

  • Contact us

    If you’d like any more information on our products and services, we will be happy to help.

    Zurich Surety
    2nd Floor
    Norfolk House
    7 Norfolk Street
    M2 1ZU

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A printable summary of Zurich's Surety bonds and additional benefits.