Bolstered by the rapidly growing ABS market, financial guarantors enjoyed their best year ever in 2001, according to The Association of Financial Guaranty Insurors. However, it remains to be seen whether this trend will continue into 2002 (see next week's ASR Guarantor supplement first quarter review).

Still, the $371 billion of par value securities insured in 2001 represents a 36% increase from the previous year and 27% more than the previous record. Of that total, $219 billion or 40.9% of the total insured securities were asset-backed.

The AFGI represents nine insurers of ABS and municipal products. Members include ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation, ACE Guaranty Re Inc., Ambac Assurance Corporation, Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, Financial Security Assurance Inc., MBIA Insurance Corporation, Radian Reinsurance Inc., RAM Reinsurance Company Ltd. and XL Capital Assurance Inc.

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