Assured Guaranty Launch Municipal Assurance

July 23, 2013

Bermuda-based Assured Guaranty Ltd. announced the launch of Municipal Assurance Corp. [MAC], a new municipal bond insurance company that will insure only select categories of U.S. municipal bonds.

The new company opens for business with $1.5 billion of claims-paying resources, financial strength ratings of AA+ (stable outlook) from Kroll Bond Rating Agency and AA- (stable outlook) from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, and insurance licenses in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

MAC has been capitalized to approximately $800 million through cash and securities contributed by Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGM) and Assured Guaranty Corp. (AGC), which own MAC jointly via a holding company. Additionally, MAC has an initial statutory unearned premium reserve of $709 million from a $103 billion net statutory par ($111 billion net GAAP par), 100% investment grade book of insured U.S. municipal bonds reinsured by it from AGM and AGC.

Dominic Frederico, President and Chief Executive Officer of Assured Guaranty, said: “We are pleased to launch MAC to provide an additional choice to municipal bond investors and issuers, especially those who prefer an insurer focused exclusively on the most familiar types of U.S. municipal bonds.

“MAC will complement the municipal bond insurance businesses of AGM and AGC, which continue their U.S. public finance activity and bring their own particular strengths to the market. We believe MAC will help build greater overall demand for municipal bond insurance and that, with our three platforms, Assured Guaranty will expand its leadership in the industry.

“Unlike a typical start-up, MAC begins life with the same proven management, underwriting team and surveillance staff as AGM and AGC, as well as Assured Guaranty’s well-developed operational infrastructure and enterprise risk management systems. This, combined with the income from its $1.5 billion investment portfolio and the premium revenue from its reinsurance portfolio, will enhance its financial strength compared with start-ups that drain capital in their early years,“ added Mr. Frederico.

As of today, MAC is licensed in 38 jurisdictions. MAC is pursuing licenses in the remaining states through the expedited approval process offered by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Review of Electronic Application Coordination and Processing (REACAP) Program. (A list of states where MAC is licensed and those states where it is authorized to offer insurance appears at the bottom of this press release.)

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  1. David Henry says:

    It’s always encouraging to see new product capacity come to market, but I can’t help but wonder, is insuring muni bonds a good move at this particular point in time?