A new report by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services analyst Robert Green said the first half of 2000 boasted the best-priced asset-backed policies in five years, and those opportunities are helping to shrink municipals' share of the insurers' overall business.

Green said that bond insurers can group opportunities and pay the most attention to the sectors with the highest profitability. "What's different now is that the bond insurance industry has the ability to divide up business between three product lines," he said. "Those lines are public finance, asset-backed and international."

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