With 16+ years as a licensed insurance agent, Michelle applies that knowledge and experience when offering expert advice to customers on how to protect themselves and their assets.
She patiently explains the complexities and nuances of insurance policies in such a way that, "even a six year old can understand it". She recommends the right amount of protection that takes into consideration the customer's individual needs and budget.
Michelle can help you decide which policies and bonds to purchase, and the amounts. If you complete the Contact Us form below, and the name of the state where you reside, she will email you a helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet and Premium Rate Sheet. This only applies to residents of the states outlined below.
Michelle L. Riley, Independent Insurance Producer, holds an active insurance license in the following states:
Alabama: License No. 0567331
Florida: License No. W107023
Georgia: License No. 2991235
Indiana: License No. 3383416
Mississippi: License No. 10256338
Tennessee: License No. 2265895
Texas: License No. 2164414
Michelle is authorized to sell a variety of insurance products in the states listed above. Additional states will be added in 2019.
She is an appointed CNA Surety Agent - a trusted name in the business. For more information about CNA Surety, go to their website at CNASurety.
You can reach Michelle by phone seven days a week. The best days to call are Sunday thru Friday. Central Time Zone.
Phone: (256) 361-9074
Fax: (515) 724-6009
Your home state decides if it wants its notaries to be bonded or not. If a bond is required, your state determines the bond amount, as well as the cost to be paid by notaries. If, for personal reasons, you find that you aren't able to secure a bond, a licensed insurance agent can talk with you about options, if available. The start and end dates for the bond should mirror the same dates of your notary commission. If your commission lasts four years, the bond should also last four years. When it's time for you to renew your notary commission, it will also be time for you to purchase a new bond.
Contrary to popular belief, the Notary Bond is NOT insurance. It's more like a guarantee or promise. The National Notary Association, the nation's largest association for notaries, explains it perfectly in Twelve Steps to a Flawless Notarization: "The bond protects the public against the Notary's misconduct in the event the Notary has no funds to reimbursed a damaged victim. Under law, any funds paid out to a victim by the bonding company must be repaid by the Notary. - pg. 52".
E & O is a type of professional liability insurance. In most states, E & O insurance is optional. It is left up to the notary to decide whether to purchase insurance, how much to purchase, and the type of coverage, up to the limits outlined in the policy.
Unless a notary completes formal notary training, he/she may not be aware of an important fact that is stressed repeatedly in Peter J. Van Alstyne's Notary Public Encyclopedia: "The notary is personally liable for all damages proximately caused by her misconduct and negligence. There is no limit to the amount for damages the notary could be liable. The scope of the notary's liability is unlimited"- page 360".
In the absence of E & O insurance, the notary will have to hire an attorney or represent herself in court, pay for court fees and investigation fees. If the court rules against the notary, she will also be responsible for the settlement of any claims.
Associations like the National Notary Association, and Indiana Notary Association suggest that notaries should consider purchasing a policy with a limit of at least a $25,000. While that's a good start and it's better than nothing, The Bond Lady recommends a higher policy limit especially since an E & O policy covers the settlement of any claims, cost of the investigation, court fees, and attorney fees.
Notary Signing Agents are specially trained, professional notaries who are hired to do more than notarize signatures. The documents that they handle are typically for transactions involving real property/real estate. These additional responsibilities equate to additional risk which is why it is recommended that NSA's purchase both Notary E&O and Notary Signing Agent E&O. A policy typically covers missed signatures, documents lost in shipping, printing errors; mistakes caused by the signing agent which led to the loan not closing, or requiring a title officer to hire a different signing agent. Similar to Notary E & O insurance, the settlement of any claims, cost of the investigation, court fees, and attorney fees would be covered, up to the limits outlined in the policy.
If companies that employ three (3) or more notaries should consider purchasing a Group (Blanket) E & O policy instead of separate policies for each notary. Group policies are more cost effective and easier to manage. Ask The Bond Lady to explain how a group policy differs from an individual one.
Professionals like Mobile/Traveling Notaries, and Notary Signing Agents should take heed. Even though you may have purchased E & O insurance you may not have covered all of the risks. Have you upgraded your auto insurance policy to recognize it is used for business purposes? What if you accidentally damage someone's property while you are at their home? Do customers come to your home office? If so, what happens if they trip and fall? A resentful competitor accuses of you slander or libel and wants to sue you - are you insured for that?
Employer-sponsored notaries should talk to their supervisor about notary liability. Since it is the notary who is personally liable for all damages, you'll want to be 100% certain that the company's insurance outlines it will protect you when notarizing signatures at work for the company and its employees. Don't just assume that it will.
There is not cookie-cutter approach to selecting the right type and amount of liability insurance. Every notary's situation is different. The best decision a notary can make is to have a conversation with a licensed insurance agent who specializes in this type risk.
Below are just of a few of the surety bonds and insurance policies offered. If you desire something different, or at a lower or higher amount, just ask. Buyers Remorse? Did you just pay for something you don't want anymore? No problem. Call or send an email The Bond Lady will be happy to refund your money in full. Surprised? Don't be. It's called good customer service.
The attached PDF documents may be required, or may provide useful information.
The National Notary Association put together a great video on notary liability. As mentioned, Step #1 should always be to contact the Surety or Insurance Company who issued your Bond or E & O Insurance. If you have any questions about Bonds & E & O, please call The Bond Lady.
Helpful tips for Notaries to follow to prevent a claim being filed against your Bond or E & O Insurance. Ask The Bond Lady for a quote for Errors and Omission Insurance.