"We believe the resources that Starkweather provides along with the surety experience and bonding companies represented, enables us to increase our penetration with Starkweather’s Massachusetts and Connecticut offices."
David J. Byrne III has been appointed vice president and bond manager of the new surety bonding division at Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc. Previously, Byrne was the owner of Byrne Bonding & Insurance LLC, which was acquired by Starkweather.
PBN: Byrne Bonding & Insurance has been a division of Starkweather & Shepley since December. How have operations been difference since the acquisition?
BYRNE: It has been different since Byrne Bonding & Insurance LLC was acquired by Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc. Our level of surety activity has increased significantly since we are now physically located in Starkweather’s East Providence office. The proximity facilitates cross selling and new-account opportunities.
PBN: Have you observed products people seem to be favoring lately?
BYRNE: In the past six months I have not observed a demand for new products. However, I have witnessed an increasing need for our primary product, performance and payment bonds. With the difficult economy, users of surety bonds appreciate the protection that is provided at a very reasonable price and are now requiring bonds where they previously may not have even been considered.
PBN: Right now, what percentage of your business is commercial versus residential business?
BYRNE: Very little of our bond business is residential. Our surety income is generated primarily through construction projects that are fueled by the federal government or local states and municipalities. In addition, local banks and private lenders are also requiring bonds on construction projects that are owned privately to make sure that the project is completed according to all contract terms and that all the related bills are paid.
PBN: Are you looking to expand, and why or why not?
BYRNE: We are definitely looking to expand. We believe the resources that Starkweather provides along with the surety experience and bonding companies represented, enables us to increase our penetration with Starkweather’s Massachusetts and Connecticut offices.
PBN: Based on what you are seeing could you make a conclusion about construction and the economy for the next year or two?
BYRNE: It is very difficult to make any meaningful long-range conclusion about the construction or the economy. I am optimistic, however, that there is more work coming out to bid than we have seen in the past several years.
In addition, interest rates remain low, which encourages the private sector and many public improvement project scan no longer be postponed or delayed. It may not be tomorrow but better economic times are ahead.