Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buffett's Bond Insurer to Go National, Regulators Say (ABK; BRK.A; MBI)

From Bloomberg:

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to expand its new bond insurer nationwide in exchange for faster licensing, a group of U.S. state regulators said today.

Cathy Weatherford, chief executive officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, on Jan. 10 offered to help speed approvals if Buffett's new company agreed to simultaneously apply to all states with a uniform application, NAIC spokesman Scott Holeman said today.

``Berkshire has committed,'' Holeman said in an interview.

Berkshire's bond insurer may help stabilize debt markets, which have been roiled by the prospect that MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc., the industry's biggest guarantors, may lose their top credit rankings. A downgrade may affect $2.4 trillion in assets industrywide, and Fitch has already stripped its AAA rating from Ambac after losses tied to subprime loans....MORE