An ERISA fidelity bond is a type of insurance that protects the plan against losses caused by acts of fraud or dishonesty. Every person who “handles funds or other property” of an employee benefit plan is required to be bonded unless covered under an exemption under ERISA. ERISA makes it an unlawful act for any person to “receive, handle, disburse, or otherwise exercise custody or control of plan funds or property” without being properly bonded.
In a typical bond, the plan is the named insured and a surety company (insurer) is the party that provides the bond.
The bonding requirements generally apply to most ERISA retirement plans. Generally, each person must be bonded in an amount equal to at least 10% of the amount of funds he or she handled in the preceding year (The bond amount cannot be less than $1,000, and the Department cannot require a plan official to be bonded for more than $500,000, or $1,000,000 for plans that hold employer securities.).