Beginning in 1989, Mr. Elia was a co-owner of an insurance agency specializing in surety bonds….mainly performance and payment bonds for contractors, but also all types of license, permit, statutory and financial guarantee bonds. One day in 1996, a graphic designer came into Mr. Elia’s office and wanted to know if Mr. Elia could provide a bond for direct mail promotions, that he was designing for automobile retailers. Mr. Elia told him that he could. The graphic designer informed Mr. Elia that he was not just looking for the statutory bond, but was also looking for a contract to pay off the prize if someone won the direct mail prize being offered. Mr. Elia told him that he would do some research and let him know.
Mr. Elia began to research “Prize Indemnity Coverage” and found out that this particular form of coverage was underwritten within the “Entertainment” division of a large US carrier. Mr. Elia contacted the VP and AVP in charge of this specialty for the company. Mr. Elia explained the need of his client and they came to an agreement that they could supply the coverage. The company also explained they underwrote “hole in one coverage” for golf tournaments, which was the major business within prize indemnity. After approximately six months, Mr. Elia was licensed with this “Entertainment” division, and he issued his first prize indemnity contract. Mr. Elia’s current agency at the time was named SURETEK. Mr. Elia was looking for a similar sounding name for his new venture, and he came up with SUREBET….SUREBET Prize Indemnity.
The idea of “Hole in One Coverage” intrigued Mr. Elia, but prior to his conversations with his “Entertainment” underwriter, he had no idea it even existed or how to get into the business. Eventually, the company attended a golf tournament and met with an event planner (tournament promoter), who was receptive to getting a hole in one contract proposal.
With growing revenues, Mr. Elia negotiated a new underwriter agreement with another US carrier that is still intact today. Mr. Elia remained full time in the Hole in One Coverage business beginning March of 1998. He enjoyed the business so much that by June 1999, he began the transition process whereby he sold his interest in SURETEK and acquired the remaining business of SUREBET. The deal was completed in March of 2000. Since then, the company has expanded its business each year, and currently is the 4th largest Hole in One coverage provider in the US.