Assured Guaranty Corp. announced yesterday it has hired six professionals for its U.S. public finance staff over the past three months as it continues to fulfill growing demand for its services.

The hires include director George Huang in underwriting and director Eric Torkelson in legal. The remaining hires include one in underwriting, one in risk management and surveillance, and two in legal.

The public finance group has expanded to 27 employees from 15 since last December as downgrades to other insurers have helped the triple-A rated Assured grow rapidly through the first half of the year. It has wrapped $16.2 billion of municipal bonds in 2008 on 482 issues for a market share of 30.1%, according to preliminary Thomson Reuters data. It backed just $3.6 billion of bonds all of last year.

"The additional underwriting talent will help sustain Assured's track record of providing timely and responsive service to the U.S. public finance market," Assured president Michael Schozer said in a statement. "Our recent hires will expand our ability to service important business sectors including utilities, higher education, project finance, public private partnerships, and general government core products."

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