Talent Agency Bond

A talent agency bond is an agreement between three entities; the principal (the agency obtaining the bond), the obligee (the government or entity providing licensure), and the surety company that issues and backs the bond. In this case, the principal is a talent agency that employs entertainers or performers, and most states require a talent agency bond to obtain a talent agency license. A talent agency bond is meant to protect the entertainers and performers of the talent agency against malpractice, breach of law, or unethical working conditions. If a talent agency were to break any state laws or regulations, a claim can be filed to compensate for the financial harm. They also serve as a sort of “quality guarantee” for clients and ensure that the agency is trustworthy and safe to work with. In addition, if the agency is a member of the SAG-AFTRA, they will need to have a SAG-AFTRA bond.

Example Talent Agency Bond (CA)
Example Talent Agency Bond (CA)

How Much Does a Talent Agency Bond Cost?

The cost, or premium, of a talent agency bond, varies depending on the state in which the agency is to be licensed. The premium is only a percentage of the total bond amount, so a business's premium can change depending on the total bond amount. The total bond amount required will vary depending on the state, but it can range between $500 to $100,000, so it is important to research before applying for the bond. The percentage that a business pays can range from 1-10% of the total bonded amount. Various factors, such as the applicant's credit score, financial history, and experience in the industry, will affect the premium. Of these factors, credit score is the most influential. Applicants with an excellent credit score will receive a lower rate for their bond than applicants with a poor credit history. Applicants with a lower credit score can expect to pay a higher rate, around 5-10% of the total bonded amount.

We’re committed to offering our customers the best rates available on the market for their bonds. To do this, we have partnered with over 10 insurance partners, allowing us to find the best price available for each customer. Each surety company will rate each business differently, so even if a business has been declined or quoted a high premium, we can find a great, affordable quote from one of our 10 partners.


Talent Agency Bond FAQ’s

Who needs a Talent Agency Bond?

In many states, talent agencies that employ any form of performers or entertainers (including but not limited to musicians, stage and film actors, fashion models, DJs, and athletes) need to obtain a talent agency bond to qualify for a talent agency license. Such states include the following:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wyoming

In addition, a special kind of talent agency bond is required for specific agencies or agents, called SAG-AFTRA, if they are part of the franchised SAG-AFTRA group - regardless of which state the entity obtained their Talent Agency Bond.

What is SAG-AFTRA and How is a SAG-AFTRA Bond Different?

SAG-AFTRA is a national entertainment worker’s union that combines two different American labor unions. The acronym stands for Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The group advocates for various types of entertainers, representing over 160,000 workers in the industry. Entertainers, agents, and agencies may enter into a contracted agreement with SAG-AFTRA to ensure industry standards to protect themselves and clients from exploitation, making them franchised agents of SAG-AFTRA. According to the group, franchised agents may only do business with fellow SAG-AFTRA members as a safeguard to guarantee that the union’s standards are being met. To further protect entertainers, franchised agents of the group are required to post a SAG-AFTRA bond, which is relatively similar to standard talent agency bonds with respect to their purpose and processes. The group also determined a set amount that the bond total stays at, around $20,000.

What Does a Talent Agency Bond Do, and How Does it Work?

Unlike insurance, a talent agency bond protects the clients and the government that the business deals with, not the principal itself. A talent agency bond is a legal agreement between the state, talent agency, and surety company. The bond guarantees that the talent agency will pay entertainers and employees on time, abide by the law, follow industry standards, and provide an ethical working environment. If the company is suspected to have breached state laws or industry standard agreements, the clients can file a claim against the principal. If the claim is valid, they will compensate and cover the cost of the damage or financial harm that the business may have caused to them. The most common claims on a talent agency bond are due to the agency not paying their entertainers accurate wages. When this happens, the bond can provide a safety net to ensure that they are compensated fairly and that employees are not exploited.

After the claim has been paid out, the surety company will expect to recoup the claim amount from the customer. This is because the bond was intended to cover the obligee and not the business, so the surety company requires the entity to repay them for the claim amount. In addition, it is essential to note that it is more difficult to get approved for a bond in the future after having been filed against with a proven claim.

How to get a Talent Agency license?

Before registering for a talent agency license, one must register their business. Most states also require employment agency licenses before applying for a talent agency license. This is because, in those states, talent agencies can be considered employment agencies, in which case the business will have to follow additional rules and regulations. Then, the states that require talent agency licenses will also require a posted Talent Agency bond. Once all of these have been met, you can submit your license application to your local regulating agency and will likely be required to submit the following:

  • Business registration documents
  • Fingerprints
  • Proof of worker’s compensation insurance

So, Should I Get A Talent Agency Bond?

If you are in one of the many states that legally require you to obtain a Talent Agency bond to be in compliance with your Talent Agency License, you must get a bond to operate legally. And, though there is no legal requirement in the other states, members of the SAG-AFTRA group are required to post a SAG-AFTRA bond. Additionally, posting a bond in such states serves as a quality assurance for clients and helps the business stand out. So, yes - we recommend that every talent agency applies for a talent agency bond.