Insurance-linked securitizations (ILS) are holding up even in the aftermath of the major natural disasters that hit during early 2011, said Standard & Poor’s in a release.

Catastrophe (CAT) bonds have performed within the agency’s expectations following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. “In our view, those bonds that market participants would have expected to default (or to experience a first event trigger) have given issuers the protection they sought, and those that were not expected to default have performed to investors’ expectations,” S&P said.

The agency downgraded four bonds following the Japanese disaster, and has also cut a transaction linked to tornados in the U.S. (see attached PDF for more details)

In addition, S&P has downgraded 11 bonds after the latest U.S. hurricane model from Risk, Modeling and Society (RMS) projected a 90% jump in losses for outstanding ILS. This may have slowed down issuance in the second quarter — the updated model came out in February.

Issuance of ILS in the first half totaled $1.57 billion, with Q1’s figure of $870 million breaking the quarterly record.

For the remainder of the year, S&P expects some issuance to roll over maturing debt, which is estimated at $0.6 billion from now through December.

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