9 Major Insurance Companies Are Profiting the Most Off the Broken Bail System

Chances are you’ve never heard of Bermuda-based insurance investment conglomerate Randall & Quilter and its wholly owned Florida-based company Accredited Surety.

Accredited is one of nine major insurance companies that underwrite most of the money-bail businesses in the U.S. Companies like Accredited play a significant role in propping up the two-tiered American justice system that sells liberty to people who can afford it, plunges people into debt who struggle to pay it back, and deprives many others the opportunity to return to their lives, families, and jobs while the court determines their guilt or innocence.

And because of its unapologetic gluttony, Accredited is our bail shark of the month.

Like a proud parent, R&Q was “pleased to announce” its acquisition of Accredited in 2014. In a press release, R&Q Chairman and CEO Ken Randall said, “We are delighted to have reached agreement with Accredited. There is an excellent cultural fit and this represents an important milestone in … securing stable income streams from associated fee and distribution income.”

Clearly, that culture is profit.

On its website, Accredited makes clear that it is not just peripherally involved in the U.S. bail business. Rather it promises to “provide Accredited agents with the support they need to successfully operate a bail agency in today’s market.” The company goes so far as to make explicit that this support extends to protecting the status quo by fighting bail reform.

In its own words, “Accredited has established a long track record of initiating and supporting legislative efforts to improve and preserve the bail industry.” That’s a modest way to describe its attempts to influence the legislature in Florida and around the country, investing tens of thousands of dollars in lobbying along the way.

And it’s no wonder they’re invested in protecting the status quo. In a report to regulators, Accredited boasted they’ve never incurred a loss from their investments in the bail industry. It’s easy money because the system is rigged in their favor and against our communities.

Accredited and companies like it prop up an arcane system, one that existed long before the U.S. Constitution and one that does not live up to its promises of liberty, equal treatment under the law, innocence until proven guilty, and the right to a fair and speedy trial to safeguard these protections. Once intended to ensure that people appeared in court to face and defend themselves against an accusation, the centuries-old money bail system has been thoroughly perverted.

Money bail in the U.S. now generates major profits for bail bond companies backed by Accredited and its ilk. But it’s also responsible for the widespread incarceration of people whose only pretrial pathway to going home to their families and jobs is to sign a contract backed by an insurance company like Accredited. Signing that contract means paying a fee that they will never get back, even if the charges are dropped a day after the contract is signed.

Stop Bail Profiteer Companies

Globally, only two countries allow for-profit bail bond companies: the Philippines and the U.S. Most nations, it seems, have recognized that they shouldn’t allow private enterprise to play a major gatekeeping role in our justice system — like determining who does and doesn’t remain in jail while presumed innocent — and to make its decisions based on people’s wealth and the company’s profits.

The bottom line is that when multinational insurance investor R&Q acquired Accredited, the company absorbed one of the major players in a bail bond system that profits off our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, draining resources out of communities most impacted by mass incarceration. And Accredited plans to keep growing its “core business” unless we continue to mobilize to stop it.

We’ve already started to reform bail practices in cities and states across the country. But in 2018, we’re doubling down on this strategy. In some 37 states — and counting — the ACLU will try to put the for-profit bail industry out of business for good.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

That's right ... they shouldn’t allow private enterprise to play a major gatekeeping role in our justice system" ..., but what we will see happen is the government will become the major player "in a bail bond system that profits off our nation’s most vulnerable citizens ."

Anonymous

The ACLU has the best Campaign Finance Reform "guidelines" of any organization. Maybe it could work even better with a Citizen-Voucher element. In other words every American resident - including prisoners - receive an equal voting share or voucher for "representation" in our pay-to-play government.

For example: since those harmed by these insurance companies and the private prison industry, far out number the profiteers - this democratic system would better protect the interests of American residents.

The ACLU guidelines - as I understand them - don't ban corporate dollars but better represent actual people. Maybe some form of voucher system would work.

Justified

Perchance you should state all if the facts of bail rather than writing a one-sided hit piece. Without bail bondsman in place a large portion of defendants fail to appear for their court dates making a mockery of the court, and worse yet, the victims of their crimes.
Bail Bondsman provide a free service to the counties they serve by tracking absconders though multiple jurisdictions and states where law enforcement either isn't permitted or lack the finances/ manpower prevent it.
Keep in mind these offenders were arrested for crimes. Crimes have victims and the offenders ARE NOT the victims.

Kay Ketzenberger

A lot of these people are arrested for stuff like driving with an expired driver's license. Or not having insurance. Or not having paid parking tickets. Gosh, really hardened criminals! But they get a fine they can't pay, and get stuck in jail, and you guys just love it, because they have to pay YOU to get them out. Screw that. Bail for these kinds of minor offenses should be outlawed. Make your money on the big crimes.

Calvin

I disagree, those charged with a crime and thrown in jail are victims or innocent until a judge or jury says otherwise. ( PR ) personal recognizance bonds already exist in many jurisdictions around the country. I believe the evidence will show, that most people who receive them actually show up for court .

Anonymous

Udi is a Liar and a scam artist who makes up bs story's about the bail industry. what Udi will not tell you is now riddled with crime the states that have bail reform are now. The sad part is Udi could not care about how dangerous things are.

Anonymous

Don't bother telling your readers that the funding you receive from George Soros, The Mark Zuckerburg Foundation and other deep pocketed donors is 50 times greater than the bail industry funding sources. For every one attorney or lobbyist the bail industry has, your side has ten! The ACLU, and entities like yours, are spending astronomical sums of money to pull on the heart strings and falsely educate the public. The monetary bail system does not hold people in custody "simple because they are poor". At least be honest about it.

Anonymous

Please name the other major insurance companies profiting from is bail system.

Anonymous

More over sight is needed in bail reform.Who is watching the watcher's?

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