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28.203 Acceptability of individual sureties.

28.203 Acceptability of individual sureties.

      (a) An individual surety is acceptable for all types of bonds except position schedule bonds. The contracting officer shall determine the acceptability of individuals proposed as sureties, and shall ensure that the surety’s pledged assets are sufficient to cover the bond obligation. (See 28.203-7 for information on excluded individual sureties.)

      (b) An individual surety must execute the bond, and the unencumbered value of the assets (exclusive of all outstanding pledges for other bond obligations) pledged by the individual surety, must equal or exceed the penal amount of each bond. The individual surety shall execute the Standard Form 28 and provide a security interest in accordance with 28.203-1. One individual surety is adequate support for a bond, provided the unencumbered value of the assets pledged by that individual surety equal or exceed the amount of the bond. An offeror may submit up to three individual sureties for each bond, in which case the pledged assets, when combined, must equal or exceed the penal amount of the bond. Each individual surety must accept both joint and several liability to the extent of the penal amount of the bond.

      (c) If the contracting officer determines that no individual surety in support of a bid guarantee is acceptable, the offeror utilizing the individual surety shall be rejected as nonresponsible, except as provided in 28.101-4. A finding of nonresponsibility based on unacceptability of an individual surety, need not be referred to the Small Business Administration for a competency review. (See 19.602-1(a)(2)(i) and 61 Comp. Gen. 456 (1982).)

      (d) A contractor submitting an unacceptable individual surety in satisfaction of a performance or payment bond requirement may be permitted a reasonable time, as determined by the contracting officer, to substitute an acceptable surety for a surety previously determined to be unacceptable.

      (e) When evaluating individual sureties, contracting officers may obtain assistance from the office identified in 28.202(d).

      (f) Contracting officers shall obtain the opinion of legal counsel as to the adequacy of the documents pledging the assets prior to accepting the bid guarantee and payment and performance bonds.

      (g) Evidence of possible criminal or fraudulent activities by an individual surety shall be referred to the appropriate agency official in accordance with agency procedures.