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New Insurer Has Links to FGIC Corp.

Infrastructure Bond Assurance Corp. has advertised its formation as a new financial guaranty insurance company in the pages of the New York Times, making it at least the second company to do so in the last three weeks.

Many of the people listed in the legal notice are current employees of FGIC Corp., the parent company for bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., which was the third-largest bond insurer before the credit crisis hit. This year, FGIC has written two deals for total volume of $250.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

IBAC is set to be capitalized with $2.5 million in seed capital, according the legal advertisement in the newspaper. Much like a similar effort attributed to Macquarie Group several weeks ago, it is being formed for the purpose of transacting surety, credit, residual value, and financial guaranty insurance.

Those listed as the undersigned include Frank J. Bivona, chief executive officer for FGIC Corp., Donna J. Blank, chief financial officer for FGIC Corp., A. Edward Turi3d, general counsel, Brian S. Moore, senior vice president with investor relations and marketing, and Sean N. Woodroffe, senior vice president in human resources and administration. Robert B. Lamm and Steven P. Natko are also employees at FGIC.

The affiliation of the others listed, John F. Donohoe and Nicola Santoro, was not immediately known.

The principal office for the proposed company will be Manhattan, placing it firmly under the jurisdiction of New York state Insurance Department superintendant Eric Dinallo.

A notice of intention is required by New York insurance law, section 1201(a), which says the company must submit to regulators, in writing, the various details of a new stock or mutual insurance company. If the superintendant approves, the proposed incorporators must then publish the notice in a "public newspaper of general circulation," in the same county as the office location, twice a week for three successive weeks or once a week for six successive weeks.

Insurance department officials did not comment further, and calls to representatives of FGIC were not immediately returned.

The advertisement lists Vincent Laurenzano, a consultant with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, as the person to whom any correspondence or interest should be sent. He is working with the client to secure regulatory and legal approval in forming the new insurer.

Moody's Investors Service gives FGIC a Baa3 rating, on review for possible downgrade; Standard & Poor's assigns a rating of BB, on negative watch; and Fitch Ratings has the bond insurer rated BBB, with a negative outlook.

FGIC has suffered billions of dollars in losses, and the erosion in claims paying abilities and reserve capital, from falling values on policies written to insure collateralized debt obligations made on mortgage-backed securities.

FGIC had a statutory capital cushion of about $301 million above the threshold dictated by insurance regulators at the end of the first quarter, according to analysis conducted by Rob Haines, a senior analyst at research firm CreditSights.

In early May, FGIC said it had received a number of proposals from interested investors, including reinsurers and private equity providers, looking for ways to help the insurer enhance its capital position and protect its policyholders. The formation of a new company is just one option, and the process of posting a legal notice is part of the necessary documentation.

At the beginning of the year, FGIC asked New York insurance regulators to split the company into two, with one keeping responsibility of the public finance credits and the other charged with monitoring and paying any losses for the policies written on structured credits.

FGIC is closely held by a collection of private equity and insurance firms, made up of Blackstone Group LP, Cypress Group, CIVC Partners LP, and PMI Group Inc. As the company has fallen into financial trouble, its parents have been reluctant to contribute any additional capital.

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