KBRA Affirms AA+ Financial Strength Ratings of Assured Guaranty’s U.S., U.K. and European Insurance Subsidiaries
Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) (together with its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty) announced that Kroll Bond Rating Agency LLC (KBRA) has affirmed the AA+ insurance financial strength rating of Assured Guaranty Corp. (AGC), Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGM) and AGM’s U.K. and European subsidiaries Assured Guaranty UK Limited (AGUK) and Assured Guaranty (Europe) SA (AGE). All the ratings have Stable Outlooks.
In its October surveillance report affirming the AA+ ratings of AGM and its U.K. and European subsidiaries, KBRA wrote:
- “AGM’s rating reflects its substantial claims paying resources, skilled management team and ability to withstand KBRA’s conservative stress scenario losses as applied across the company’s insured portfolio.”
- KBRA noted AGM’s “[e]xperienced management team which operates with a mature and high-functioning operating platform supported by strong governance and risk management systems.”
- “Municipal market insured penetration has increased and is currently at its highest levels since 2009.”
- “AGM’s exposure to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, long a key area of focus for KBRA, has materially decreased as the Commonwealth’s plan of adjustment was confirmed and consummated in early 2022. A resolution of Highway and Transportation Authority (HTA) bonds, which is expected in late 2022, will leave Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) as the only remaining material Puerto Rico exposure within the portfolio yet to be resolved.”
- “KBRA notes that Assured’s financial position has become significantly less vulnerable to unfavorable outcomes with respect to Puerto Rico and that ultimate resolution at a level which is favorable when compared to KBRA’s conservative stress case would, all things equal, have a positive impact on AGM’s capital position under KBRA’s cash flow analysis.”
- “AGUK and AGE benefit from extensive intra-group financial support agreements.”
In its October surveillance report affirming the AA+ ratings of AGC, KBRA noted that:
- “AGC’s rating reflects its strong capital position and claims paying resources relative to conservative stress scenario losses, skilled management team and ability to withstand KBRA’s conservative stress scenario losses as applied across the company’s insured portfolio.”
- “[T]here are signs of increased activity in certain structured finance sectors as well as international infrastructure.”
- “A resolution of Highway and Transportation Authority (HTA) bonds, which is expected in late 2022, will leave Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) as the only remaining material Puerto Rico exposure within the portfolio yet to be resolved.”
- “The insured portfolio remains substantially smaller since the credit crisis and leverage metrics remain historically low. AGC is a strategically important entity within the Assured platform and has historically been used as the vehicle for portfolio acquisitions.”
In commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic, KBRA wrote: “KBRA has viewed the COVID-19 pandemic primarily as a liquidity event in the near-term as financial guaranty policies only cover scheduled principal and interest. Economic recovery from the pandemic has generally exceeded expectations with the influx of federal aid and stimulus monies. KBRA observes that the Federal response was highly effective for most municipal creditors.”
In response to the report, Dominic Frederico, President and CEO of Assured Guaranty said: “We are pleased with the affirmation of our AA+ (Stable Outlook) rating for AGC, AGM and AGM’s U.K. and European subsidiaries. Our company has remained well capitalized and performed well during the pandemic, and we have now achieved a long sought-after resolution to these Puerto Rico credits, as referenced in the report. Insured penetration over the last two years has increased relative to historical levels post the global financial crisis, and we believe we are well positioned for new business opportunities while maintaining our prudent credit and risk management processes. As KBRA noted in their report, we have a proven management team and a well-developed governance framework on which to do so.”
Any forward-looking statements made in this press release reflect Assured Guaranty’s current views with respect to future events and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, difficulties executing Assured Guaranty’s business strategy; those risks and uncertainties resulting from changes in rating agency models or opinions; the development, course and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the governmental and private actions taken in response, and the global consequences of the pandemic and such actions; adverse credit developments in Puerto Rico or other portions of Assured Guaranty’s insured portfolio and the impact of those developments on rating agency models and opinions; insured losses in excess of those expected by Assured Guaranty or the failure of Assured Guaranty to realize loss recoveries that are assumed in its expected loss estimates for insurance exposures, including as a result of the failure to resolve Assured Guaranty's Puerto Rico exposure in a manner substantially consistent with the support agreements signed to date; other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time, management’s response to these factors, and other risk factors identified in Assured Guaranty’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are made as of October 31, 2022. Assured Guaranty undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
Assured Guaranty Ltd. is a publicly traded (NYSE: AGO) Bermuda-based holding company. Through its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty provides credit enhancement products to the U.S. and international public finance, infrastructure and structured finance markets, and also provides asset management services. More information on Assured Guaranty Ltd. and its subsidiaries can be found at AssuredGuaranty.com.