Become an SBA surety partner

Are you a surety bond company or licensed surety agent? Do you underwrite contract surety bonds? If so, SBA may be a valuable partner to you.


Why partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)?

  • Security

    SBA covers as much as 90% of a surety’s losses if a small business defaults.
  • New clients

    Bubble map of people
    Expand your business and partner with clients in SBA’s network.
  • Support small business

    Provide small businesses access to contract work.

Prior Approval vs. Preferred

SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee program has two components: the Prior Approval surety bond program and the Preferred surety bond program. In the Prior Approval program, all bond guarantee applications are submitted to SBA for prior review and approval. In the Preferred program, sureties have the authority to issue, monitor, and service bonds without prior approval by SBA.

Guarantee rates

For surety bonds issued in either program, SBA guarantees 90% of the losses incurred on contracts up to $100,000, and on contracts awarded to the following types of businesses:

  • Socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses
  • Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program small businesses
  • 8(a) Business Development Program small businesses
  • Veteran or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small businesses

SBA offers an 80% guarantee on bonds for all other individual contracts up to $9 million or up to $14 million if a federal contracting officer certifies that SBA’s guarantee is necessary for the small business to get a bond.

Eligibility requirements for the Prior Approval program

To be eligible to participate in the Prior Approval program, a surety must meet the following requirements:

  • Be approved by the U.S. Treasury Department to issue surety bonds
  • Use standards generally accepted by the surety industry in underwriting bond applications
  • Agree to not charge a bond premium in excess of that authorized by the applicable state insurance department, nor impose any non-premium fee unless such a fee is permitted by applicable state law
  • Comply with all requirements contained in 13 CFR Part 115, Subparts A and B

Eligibility requirements for the Preferred program

To participate in the Preferred program, a surety must meet the eligibility requirements of the Prior Approval program, as well as these additional requirements:

  • Have an underwriting limitation of at least $9 million and up to $14 million for a federal contract
  • The underwriting authority for SBA-guaranteed bonds must be vested only in the surety’s salaried employees
  • The final settlement authority for claims must be vested only in the surety’s salaried employees
  • Comply with all requirements contained in 13 CFR Part 115, Subparts A and C

Apply to be a participating surety partner

Infographic of the surety bond company application process.

You must include the following information in your application to participate in SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee program.

  • The name of the company applying, names and titles of key executives, points of contact responsible for the management and administration of its programs, and a company organizational chart
  • A summary statement describing any ongoing or planned mergers, acquisitions, or other changes in organizational structure or key management positions that may influence participation and performance in the program, including any revisions to the company organizational chart
  • A narrative summary including the following:
    • Summary of why you want to participate in the program
    • Projected annual SBA bond activity, including the number of bonds and total dollar value for each of the first three years of program participation
  • Your performance over each of the past three years, including:
    • Number of bonds issued and total dollar value
    • Number of contract defaults and the total dollar value
    • Total dollar value of recoveries
  • Narrative summary of the standards, processes, and procedures for underwriting, including any applicable manuals.
  • Narrative summary of the standards, processes, and procedures for administering and paying claims and submitting claim reimbursement requests to SBA, including any applicable manuals.

Submit all application information to: 

U.S. Small Business Administration
Office of Surety Guarantees
Attn: OSG Director
409 Third St. SW, Suite 8600
Washington, DC 20416

Become an SBA-authorized surety agent

If you’re a surety agent interested in working with SBA, contact a surety company that’s already authorized to participate in SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee program.

Last updated March 18, 2024