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MBIA 10-K 2010
FORM 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

United States

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

Form 10-K

 

 

 

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009

or

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from              to             

Commission File Number 1-9583

 

 

MBIA INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Connecticut   06-1185706
(State of incorporation)  

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

113 King Street, Armonk, New York   10504
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (914) 273-4545

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange

on which registered

Common Stock, par value $1 per share   New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  ¨    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  x

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer  x    Accelerated filer  ¨    Non-accelerated filer  ¨     Smaller reporting company  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes  ¨    No  x

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of June 30, 2009 was $680,082,504.

As of February 25, 2010, 204,267,261 shares of Common Stock, par value $1 per share, were outstanding.

Documents incorporated by reference. Portions of the Definitive Proxy Statement of the Registrant, which will be filed on or before March 31, 2010, are incorporated by reference into Parts I and III.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  PART I   

Item 1.

 

Business

   1

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

   25

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

   38

Item 2.

 

Properties

   38

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

   38

Item 4.

 

Reserved

   44
  PART II   

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

   45

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

   47

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

   48

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

   126

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

   127

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

   242

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

   242

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

   242
  PART III   

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

   243

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

   243

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

   243

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

   243

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

   243
  PART IV   

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

   244
 

Signatures

   248
 

Schedule I

   249
 

Schedule II

   250
 

Schedule IV

   254
 

Exhibit Index

   255


Table of Contents

Part I

Item 1. Business

OVERVIEW OF OUR SERVICES

MBIA Inc. (“MBIA,” the “Company,” “we” or “us”) provides financial guarantee insurance, as well as related reinsurance, advisory and portfolio services for the public and structured finance markets, and investment management services, including advisory services, on a global basis. The Company was incorporated as a business corporation under the laws of the state of Connecticut in 1986.

Financial Guarantee Business

Our financial guarantee insurance generally provides investors with an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee of the payment of the principal, interest or other amounts owing on insured obligations when due or, in the event that we have the right at our discretion to accelerate insured obligations upon default or otherwise, upon our election to accelerate. Because a financial guarantor’s ratings are generally assigned to insured obligations, the principal economic value of financial guarantee insurance for capital markets issuers has been the lower interest cost of an insured obligation relative to the same obligation on an uninsured basis. For investors, our insurance provides not only an additional level of credit protection but also the benefit of our portfolio monitoring and remediation skills throughout the life of the insurance policy. In addition, for complex financings and for obligations of issuers that are not well-known by investors, insured obligations have historically received greater market acceptance than uninsured obligations.

We conduct our financial guarantee business, as well as related reinsurance, advisory and portfolio services, through our wholly-owned subsidiaries National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation (“National”), our United States (“U.S.”) public finance only financial guarantee company, and MBIA Insurance Corporation (“MBIA Corp.”), which together with its subsidiaries, writes global structured finance and non-U.S. public finance financial guarantee insurance. MBIA Corp. is the successor to the business of the Municipal Bond Insurance Association (the “Association”), which began writing financial guarantees for municipal bonds in 1974. MBIA Corp. is the parent of Capital Markets Assurance Corporation (“CapMAC”) and until February 2009 was the parent of National, both financial guarantee insurance companies that were acquired by MBIA Corp.

In February 2009, we restructured our business to re-launch National as a U.S. public finance-only financial guarantee company (the “Transformation”) through a series of transactions, including the transfer of National (then known as MBIA Insurance Corp. of Illinois) from MBIA Corp. to a newly established holding company, National Public Finance Guarantee Holdings, Inc., that is 100% owned by MBIA Inc., and the reinsurance by National of the U.S. public finance businesses of MBIA Corp. and a third-party financial guarantor, Financial Guaranty Insurance Corporation (“FGIC”). Pending litigation challenging the establishment of National constrained our new business writings in 2009. The Transformation is described more fully under the “Our Insurance Operations—National Portfolio” section below and the Transformation-related litigation is described more fully under “Legal Proceedings” in Part I, Item 3.

After giving effect to the Transformation, MBIA Corp.’s remaining portfolio consists of global structured finance and non-U.S. public finance business. MBIA Corp. also owns MBIA UK Insurance Limited (“MBIA UK”), a financial guarantee insurance company that is regulated and supervised by the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom and is authorized to carry out insurance business in the United Kingdom and in the European Economic Area on a cross border services basis. MBIA UK’s principal line of business is the guarantee of both structured finance and public finance debt obligations in selected international markets. MBIA UK also insures the policies previously insured by MBIA Assurance S.A. (“MBIA Assurance”), a French insurance company owned by MBIA Corp. which was dissolved in 2007 after the transfer of MBIA Assurance’s obligations to MBIA UK. MBIA Corp. writes financial guarantee insurance in Mexico through MBIA México, S.A. de C.V. (“MBIA Mexico”). Generally, throughout the text, references to MBIA Corp. include the activities of its subsidiaries, MBIA UK, MBIA Mexico and CapMAC.

Investment Management Business

We conduct our investment management business primarily through wholly-owned subsidiaries of Cutwater Holdings, LLC (together, “Cutwater”), formerly known as MBIA Asset Management, LLC. Cutwater offers advisory services, including cash management, discretionary asset management and structured products on a

 

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fee-for-service basis. We offer these services to public, not-for-profit, corporate and financial services clients, including the Company and its subsidiaries. Cutwater also manages asset/liability products and conduit programs, which are being wound down.

OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY

Our ratings downgrades and mounting concerns about monoline insurers impaired our ability to write new business in late 2007 and 2008, and pending litigation challenging the establishment of National constrained our new insurance business writings in 2009. Furthermore, unprecedented levels of delinquency and loss in our structured finance business, primarily in our insured residential mortgage-backed (“RMBS”) and insured credit default swaps (“CDS”) portfolios, continue to place considerable stress on our economic results.

In response to these events, we are continuing efforts that we began in the fourth quarter of 2007 to strengthen our balance sheet and transform our business model.

Strategic Transformation

On February 25, 2008, we announced a strategic plan to restructure our business as soon as feasible, with a goal of within five years. A significant component of the plan is the creation of separate legal operating entities for our public finance, structured finance and international financial guarantee businesses as well as our investment management business. The objectives behind this initiative are to provide greater resilience and financial flexibility under extreme market stress, to obtain the highest possible ratings for each business, and to create more transparency to investors and policyholders. In February 2009 we completed the first key step in the strategic plan with the establishment of a U.S. public finance-only financial guarantee company through the Transformation.

The next step in the Transformation, which is unlikely to occur prior to resolution of certain of the Transformation-related litigation, will be to further position National to write new U.S. public finance financial guarantee insurance policies through the achievement of high stable ratings. It is our intent to capitalize National at a level consistent with the highest achievable credit ratings through internal capital growth at National and potentially by raising third-party capital. However, no assurance can be given that we will be able to achieve such ratings.

In February 2010, the Company took another step in its strategic plan by restructuring its investment management subsidiaries and renaming its investment advisory companies under the “Cutwater” name to reflect and communicate their organizational separation from the Company’s insurance operations and the wind-down of the Company’s asset/liability products and conduit businesses. In particular, the investment advisory business now operates under a wholly-owned “Cutwater” branded holding company of MBIA Inc. that no longer owns the wind-down businesses. Cutwater plans to continue to increase third-party assets under management by taking advantage of strong demand for advisory services resulting from recent fixed-income market volatility and secular growth in fixed-income asset classes due to demographics and product innovation. Currently, the majority of assets under management are from third-party clients and this percentage is anticipated to increase over time.

Capital Preservation, Liquidity Management and Deleveraging

We have taken several steps to preserve capital, enhance liquidity and deleverage the company, including raising $2.65 billion in new debt and equity capital and converting our $400 million soft capital facility into cash.

First, in 2008, we began aggressively pursuing our rights against sellers/servicers who we believe fraudulently induced us into writing insurance on their securitizations and breached their contractual obligations by placing ineligible collateral into the transactions and failing to cure such breaches or repurchase or replace the ineligible collateral upon demand. If we recover the expected damages for the losses resulting from ineligible loans in these transactions from these sellers/servicers, of which only a portion has been reflected in our loss reserves to date, and we receive other recoveries associated with defaulted RMBS transactions, we will substantially enhance our capital position. There can be no assurance, however, that we will recover these damages in full or in a time frame necessary to meet liquidity requirements.

 

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Second, we have enhanced our liquidity risk management framework, the primary objective of which is to monitor potential liquidity constraints in our asset and liability portfolios and guide the proactive matching of liquidity resources to needs. Our liquidity risk management framework monitors the Company’s cash and liquid asset resources using stress-scenario testing to ensure that we maintain cash and liquid securities in an amount in excess of all stress scenario payment requirements. These measurements are performed on a legal entity and operating segment basis. When liquidity resources fall short of our target liquidity cushions at any level, we generally increase our cash holdings position by selling or financing assets and/or drawing upon one or more of contingent sources of liquidity.

Third, we have purchased and may, from time to time, directly or indirectly, seek to purchase instruments guaranteed by us or seek to commute policies where such actions are intended to reduce future expected economic losses. The amount of exposure reduced, if any, and the nature of any such actions will depend on market conditions, pricing levels from time to time and other considerations. In some cases, these activities may result in a reduction of expected impairments or loss reserves, but in all cases they are intended to limit our ultimate losses and to reduce the future volatility in loss development on the related policies.

Finally, we have repurchased debt obligations of the Company and its subsidiaries at substantial discounts, improving the Company’s book value and enhancing long term liquidity, and may continue to do so at prices that we deem to be economically advantageous.

New Business Activities and Legal Entity Changes

In addition to implementing these initiatives, we also began to expand the services offered by our businesses through reinsurance and financial advisory transactions.

Reinsurance

While the industry-wide reduction in credit ratings has led to reduced demand for bond insurance across all financial markets, National generated new business premiums in 2009 from reinsurance provided on a large portfolio of U.S. public finance exposure originally insured by FGIC with total net par assumed of $181 billion (the “FGIC Transaction”), which was completed in 2008.

Financial Advisory Services

 

   

In 2009, the Company expanded the provision of financial advisory services to Latin American clients in the infrastructure sectors. LatAm Capital Advisors, Inc. (“LatAm”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, provides advice in the valuation and structuring of capital markets transactions and is seeking to expand into third-party fund management utilizing its regional expertise in infrastructure asset management. LatAm focuses on services that benefit existing clients of the Company and will also forge new relationships in selected countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Transactions completed in 2009 include the financial re-leveraging of a major toll road and infrastructure asset valuations.

 

   

In 2009, the Company established MBIA International Advisory Limited in the United Kingdom, a new financial advisory subsidiary, and is seeking regulatory approval to begin providing financial advisory services to clients in the European Economic Area in 2010.

Legal Entity Changes

 

   

In February 2010, we restructured and renamed our investment management subsidiaries as described above under “Strategic Transformation.”

 

   

In addition, in 2009 the Company formed a new subsidiary, Optinuity Alliance Resources Corporation (“Optinuity”), that provides management and portfolio remediation services to MBIA Inc. subsidiaries and which is evaluating opportunities to provide portfolio remediation services to third-party financial guarantors, particularly those that are distressed.

 

   

In 2009, the Company acquired 100% of the ownership interests in LaCrosse Financial Products, LLC (“LaCrosse”) and its parent company LaCrosse Financial Products Member, LLC from a third party who administered these special purpose vehicles. LaCrosse historically issued credit default swaps (“CDSs”)

 

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guaranteed by MBIA Corp. and MBIA UK and has historically been consolidated into the Company’s financial statements under the criteria for variable interest entities. The acquisitions permit the Company, among other things, to more easily administer the LaCrosse CDS contracts guaranteed by MBIA Corp. and MBIA UK by eliminating a third-party administrator.

The Company plans to continue to evaluate opportunities to participate in the structured finance and international markets in the future as such opportunities arise.

We continue to evaluate our business model and may pursue a different set of strategies in the future. There can be no assurance that the strategies that have been implemented or that will be pursued in the future in connection with this evaluation will result in high stable credit ratings for each of our insurance companies or for MBIA Inc., will enable us to write new financial guarantee business, will otherwise improve our financial condition, business condition or operations or will not result in a material adverse effect on the Company.

Statements included in this Form 10-K which are not historical or current facts are “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words “believe,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “expect,” “intend,” “will likely result,” or “will continue,” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical earnings and those presently anticipated or projected. We wish to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only to their respective dates.

Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ materially from estimates contained in or underlying the Company’s forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed under “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements” in Part II, Item 7.

OUR INSURANCE OPERATIONS

Our U.S. public finance insurance business is conducted through National and our structured finance and international insurance operations are conducted through MBIA Corp. and its subsidiaries. Our ratings downgrades and mounting concerns about monoline insurers have impaired our ability to write new business since 2007. Pending litigation challenging the establishment of National has further constrained new business writing in 2009. However, we expect that once the pending litigation is favorably resolved, we will be able to obtain the highest possible credit ratings and achieve the market acceptance necessary to meet our stated objectives.

We are compensated for our insurance policies by insurance premiums paid upfront and/or on an installment basis. Historically, our financial guarantee insurance was offered in both the new issue and secondary markets on a global basis. Transactions in the new issue market were sold either through negotiated offerings or competitive bidding. In negotiated transactions, either the issuer or the underwriter purchases the insurance policy directly from an insurer. For municipal bond issues involving competitive bidding, the insurance is offered as an option to the underwriters bidding on the transaction. The successful bidder would then have the option to purchase the insurance, or at times the issuer can purchase the insurance. We also issue insurance policies to guarantee the payment of principal and interest on municipal obligations being traded in the secondary market upon the request of a broker or an existing holder of uninsured bonds. The premium is generally paid by the owner of the obligation. In addition, we have provided financial guarantees to debt service reserve funds. The primary risk in our insurance operations is that of adverse credit performance in the insured portfolio.

We seek to maintain a diversified insured portfolio and have designed each insured portfolio to manage and diversify risk based on a variety of criteria including revenue source, issue size, type of asset, industry concentrations, type of bond and geographic area. The insurance policies issued or reinsured by the Company’s licensed insurers generally provide an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee of the payment required to be made by, on or behalf of the obligor to a designated paying agent for the holders of the insured obligations of an amount equal to the payment of the principal of, and interest or other amounts owing on, insured obligations when due or, in the event that the insurance company has the right, at its discretion, to accelerate insured obligations upon default or otherwise, upon the insurance company’s election to accelerate.

 

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In the event of a default in payment of principal, interest or other insured amounts by an issuer, the insurance company promises to make funds available in the insured amount generally on the next business day following notification for U.S. transactions and within longer timeframes for international transactions, depending on the terms of the insurance policy. Our insurance companies provide for this payment, in some cases through a third-party bank, upon receipt of proof of ownership of the obligations due, as well as upon receipt of instruments appointing the insurer as agent for the holders and evidencing the assignment of the rights of the holders with respect to the payments made by the insurer. With respect to insurance policies issued by FGIC and reinsured by National under the FGIC Transaction, National has agreed to comply with the terms of the original FGIC policies.

Because we generally guarantee to the holder of the underlying obligation the timely payment of amounts due on such obligation in accordance with its original payment schedule, in the case of a default or other triggering event on an insured obligation, payments under the insurance policy cannot be accelerated against us, except in certain limited circumstances, unless we consent to the acceleration. In the event of a default, however, we may have the right, in our sole discretion, to accelerate the obligations and pay them in full. Otherwise, we are required to pay principal, interest or other amounts only as scheduled payments come due. Typically, even if the holders are permitted by the terms of the insured obligations to have the full amount of principal, accrued interest or other amounts due, declared due and payable immediately in the event of a default, we are required to pay only the amounts scheduled to be paid, but not in fact paid, on each scheduled payment date. Our payment obligations after a default vary by deal and by insurance type. There are three primary types of policy payment requirements: (i) timely interest and ultimate principal; (ii) ultimate principal only at final maturity; and (iii) payments upon settlement of individual collateral losses as they occur after parties subordinated to us in a transaction have absorbed their share of losses. With respect to the insurance of CDS contracts, in certain events, including the insolvency or payment default of the insurer or the issuer of the CDS, the CDS contract is subject to termination and the counterparty can make a claim for the full amount due on termination.

National Portfolio

Through its reinsurance of U.S. public finance financial guarantees from MBIA Corp. and FGIC, National’s insurance portfolio consists of municipal bonds, including tax-exempt and taxable indebtedness of United States political subdivisions, as well as utility districts, airports, health care institutions, higher educational facilities, student loan issuers, housing authorities and other similar agencies and obligations issued by private entities that finance projects that serve a substantial public purpose. Municipal bonds and privately issued bonds used for the financing of public purpose projects generally are supported by taxes, assessments, user fees or tariffs related to the use of these projects, by lease payments or by other similar types of revenue streams.

FGIC Transaction

In the third quarter of 2008, MBIA Corp. closed the FGIC Transaction, in which MBIA Corp. assumed a significant portion of FGIC’s U.S. public finance insurance portfolio. As of the closing date, the reinsured portfolio consisted of investment grade credits, primarily in the general obligation, water and sewer, tax-backed and transportation sectors, and did not contain any CDS contracts, below investment grade credits or other credits that were inconsistent with our credit underwriting standards. The reinsurance was provided on a “cut-through” basis, which enables FGIC’s policyholders to receive the benefit of MBIA Corp.’s reinsurance by allowing them to present claims directly to MBIA Corp. The FGIC reinsurance agreement is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to this Form 10-K and any description of it in this Form 10-K is qualified in its entirety by the agreement.

Under the FGIC Transaction, MBIA Corp. assumed a total net par of approximately $181 billion and received upfront unearned premiums, net of a ceding commission paid to FGIC, of approximately $717 million. As required by the New York State Insurance Department in connection with its approval of the reinsurance transaction, the funds were placed in a trust and, in accordance with the terms of the trust, released on June 30, 2009. On December 1, 2008, MBIA Corp. entered into an Administrative Services Agreement with FGIC allowing MBIA Corp. to administer and remediate credits in the portfolio.

MBIA Corp. subsequently assigned its rights, interests, and obligations under the FGIC reinsurance agreement to National as part of the Transformation described below. In addition, MBIA Corp. assigned all of its rights and interests in the trust to National as payment to National of the amount of the net unearned premium reserve (net of ceding commission) associated with the FGIC insurance policies; as such, assets were released from the trust to National on June 30, 2009.

 

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Transformation

Under the Transformation, the Company executed a series of transactions to establish National as a U.S. public finance-only financial guarantee company. The stock of National, formerly known as MBIA Insurance Corp. of Illinois, a financial guarantee insurance company which was acquired by the Company in 1989 and was a direct subsidiary of MBIA Corp., was transferred by MBIA Corp. to the Company, then contributed by the Company to a newly established intermediate holding company, National Public Finance Guarantee Holdings, Inc., which is itself a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. National was previously domiciled in Illinois until it was redomesticated to New York effective December 1, 2009.

In addition, on February 17, 2009, MBIA Corp. ceded all of its U.S. public finance business to National by entering into a Quota Share Reinsurance Agreement with National, effective January 1, 2009 (the “MBIA Corp. Reinsurance Agreement”), and by assigning to National pursuant to a separate assignment agreement its rights, interests and obligations with respect to the U.S. public finance business of FGIC that was reinsured by MBIA Corp. pursuant to a reinsurance agreement with FGIC (the “FGIC Reinsurance Agreement”). The MBIA Corp. Reinsurance Agreement is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to this Form 10-K and any description of it in this Form 10-K is qualified in its entirety by the agreement. The portfolio transferred to National by reinsurance or through the assignment of the FGIC Reinsurance Agreement consists entirely of U.S. public finance business with total net par outstanding of approximately $554 billion as of January 1, 2009. The reinsurance and assignment transactions between MBIA Corp. and National became effective as of January 1, 2009.

In connection with the reinsurance and assignment transactions, MBIA Corp. paid to National a premium to reinsure the policies covered by the MBIA Corp. Reinsurance Agreement and the assignment agreement, net of a ceding commission on the unearned premium reserve, and National was further capitalized through a dividend and return of capital paid by MBIA Corp. to MBIA Inc., which was contributed to National.

MBIA Corp. and National received the required regulatory approvals from the New York and Illinois insurance departments prior to executing the Transformation. National was previously domiciled in Illinois and redomesticated to New York effective December 1, 2009.

MBIA Corp. continues to insure its remaining book of structured finance and international business, as well as the Guaranteed Investment Contracts and medium-term notes (“MTNs”) managed by Cutwater. The Transformation has constrained the ability of National and MBIA Corp. to pay dividends to MBIA Inc. which affects the Company’s liquidity. The impact of the Transformation on the Company’s liquidity is described further in “Note 18: Insurance Regulations and Dividends” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA Inc. and Subsidiaries in Part II, Item 8.

In general, references herein to National-insured or issued policies include those insurance policies reinsured from MBIA Corp. or under the FGIC Transaction, unless indicated otherwise.

Portfolio Profile

As of December 31, 2009, National had 29,765 insurance policies outstanding diversified among 11,629 “credits,” which we define as any group of issues supported by the same revenue source.

As of December 31, 2009, the net par amount outstanding on National’s insured U.S. public finance obligations was $508.0 billion. Net insurance in force, which includes all insured debt service, as of December 31, 2009 was $821.7 billion.

 

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The table below sets forth information with respect to the original par amount insured per issue in the National portfolio as of December 31, 2009:

National U.S. Public Finance Original Par Amount Per Issue

as of December 31, 2009(1)

 

Original Par Amount Written Per Issue

   Number of
Issues
Outstanding
   % of Total
Number of
Issues
Outstanding
    Net Par
Amount
Outstanding
(In billions)
   % of Net Par
Amount
Outstanding
 

Less than $10 million

   20,652    69.4   $ 61.7    12.2

$10-25 million

   4,549    15.3     72.6    14.3

$25-50 million

   2,268    7.6     79.9    15.7

$50-100 million

   1,311    4.4     90.9    17.9

$100-200 million

   648    2.2     89.6    17.6

$200-300 million

   192    0.7     46.4    9.1

$300-400 million

   72    0.2     24.5    4.8

$400-500 million

   41    0.1     18.2    3.6

Greater than $500 million

   32    0.1     24.2    4.8
                        

Total

   29,765    100.0   $ 508.0    100.0
                        

 

(1)

Net of reinsurance.

All of the policies were underwritten on the assumption that the insurance will remain in force until maturity of the insured obligations. National estimates that the average life of its domestic public finance insurance policies in force as of December 31, 2009 was 10.8 years. The average life was determined by applying a weighted average calculation, using the remaining years to contractual maturity and weighting them on the basis of the remaining debt service insured. No assumptions were made for any future refundings, early redemptions or terminations of insured issues. Average annual insured debt service on the portfolio as of December 31, 2009 was $44.6 billion.

The table below shows the diversification by type of U.S. public finance insurance that was outstanding as of December 31, 2009:

National U.S. Public Finance Net Par Amount Outstanding by Bond Type as of December 31, 2009(1)

 

In millions

   Net Par
Amount

Bond Type

  

Public Finance: United States

  

General Fund Obligation

   $ 193,541

General Fund Obligation—Lease

     41,389

Municipal Utilities

     90,344

Taxed Backed

     63,051

Transportation

     49,123

Health Care

     16,241

Higher Education

     27,454

Student Loans—Public Finance

     2,164

Municipal Housing

     6,948

Military Housing

     8,273

Investor-Owned Utilities

     7,367

Other

     2,095
      

Total United States—Public Finance

   $ 507,990
      

 

(1)

Net of reinsurance.

 

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National’s underwriting guidelines limit the net insurance in force for any one insured credit. In addition, National is subject to both rating agency and regulatory single-risk limits with respect to any insured bond issue. See the “Insurance Regulation” section below for a description of these regulatory requirements. As of December 31, 2009, National’s net par amount outstanding for its ten largest insured U.S. public finance credits totaled $29.8 billion, representing 5.9% of National’s total U.S. public finance net par amount outstanding.

MBIA Corp. Insured Portfolio

MBIA Corp. has insured and reinsured structured finance and international financial obligations which are sold in the new issue and secondary markets, including:

 

   

structured finance and asset-backed obligations, including obligations collateralized by diverse pools of corporate loans or secured by or payable from a specific pool of assets having an ascertainable future cash flow;

 

   

payments due under credit and other derivatives, including termination payments that may become due upon the occurrence of certain events, as further described below;

 

   

privately issued bonds used for the financing of public purpose projects or entities, which are located outside of the United States and that include toll roads, bridges, airports, public transportation facilities, utilities and other types of infrastructure projects serving a substantial public purpose; and

 

   

obligations of sovereign and sub-sovereign issuers, which includes regions, departments or their equivalent in each jurisdiction as well as sovereign owned entities that are supported by a sovereign state, region or department.

As of December 31, 2009, MBIA Corp. had 1,323 policies outstanding in its insured portfolio. In addition, MBIA Corp. had 311 insurance policies outstanding relating to asset/liability products liabilities issued by the Company and its subsidiaries. MBIA Corp.’s total policies are diversified among 865 “credits,” which we define as any group of issues supported by the same revenue source.

In addition, certain of our insurance policies guarantee payments due under CDSs and other derivatives, including termination payments that may become due upon the occurrence of certain events, such as the insolvency of or a payment default by the financial guarantor or the CDS issuer. In 2008 the Company announced that it had ceased insuring new credit derivative contracts within its insurance operations except for transactions related to the reduction of existing insured credit derivative exposure.

Structured Finance and Asset-Backed Obligations

Structured finance obligations insured by MBIA Corp. typically are securities repayable from expected cash flows generated by a specified pool of assets, such as residential and commercial mortgages, insurance policies, consumer loans, corporate loans and bonds, trade and export receivables, leases for equipment, aircraft and real property, private sector student loans, and infrastructure projects. Structured finance obligations are either secured by undivided interests or collateralized by the related assets. Additional policies have included payments due under CDSs and other derivatives, including termination payments that may become due upon the occurrence of certain events, such as the insolvency of or a payment default by the financial guarantor or the CDS issuer.

Structured finance transactions are often structured such that the insured obligations are intended to benefit from some form of credit enhancements such as over-collateralization, subordination, excess cash flow or first loss protection, to cover credit risks. Structured finance obligations contain risks including asset risk, which relates to the amount and quality of asset coverage, structural risk, which relates to the extent to which the transaction structure protects the interests of the investors from the bankruptcy of the originator of the underlying assets or the issuer of the securities, and servicer risk, which relates to problems with the transaction servicer (the entity which is responsible for collecting the cash flow from the asset pool) that could affect the servicing of the underlying assets. Additionally, the inclusion of a large number of ineligible mortgage loans in MBIA Corp.-insured transactions has resulted in unforeseen risks to many transactions which has caused, and may continue to cause, material losses beyond any stress analyses undertaken at origination.

Credit Derivatives

In 2008, the Company announced that it had ceased insuring new credit derivative contracts except in transactions related to the reduction of existing insured credit derivative exposure. In addition, the Company announced that it had suspended the writing of all new structured finance business for approximately six months.

 

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Since that temporary suspension we adjusted target structured finance risk sectors and underwriting criteria in this business and are continuing to track developments in the structured finance industry. Currently, the structured finance industry is generating very few credit enhancement opportunities for the Company, and it is uncertain how or when the Company may re-engage this market.

International Obligations

Outside the United States, financial guarantee insurance has been used by issuers of sovereign and sub-sovereign bonds, structured finance securities, utility debt and financing for public purpose projects, among others. We have insured both structured finance and public finance obligations in select international markets and the risk profile of our international exposure is similar to that in the United States, although there are unique risk factors related to each country and region that are evaluated at origination and on an ongoing basis. These factors include legal, regulatory, economic and political variables, the sophistication of and trends in local capital markets and currency exchange risks. Ongoing privatization initiatives in some regions have shifted the financing of new projects from the government to the capital markets, where investors can benefit from the default protection provided by financial guarantee insurance. The development of structured finance securitizations has varied to date by region depending on the development stage of the local capital markets and the impact of financial regulatory requirements, accounting standards and legal systems.

Portfolio Profile

As of December 31, 2009, the net par amount outstanding on MBIA Corp.’s insured obligations, including insured obligations of MBIA UK, MBIA Mexico and CapMAC (excluding $6.0 billion of MBIA insured investment agreements and MTNs for our asset/liability products transactions) (the “Structured Finance and International Portfolio”) was $204.5 billion. Net insurance in force for the above portfolio, which includes all insured debt service, as of December 31, 2009 was $264.6 billion.

The table below sets forth information with respect to the original par amount insured per issue in MBIA Corp.’s Structured Finance and International Portfolio as of December 31, 2009:

MBIA Corp. Original Par Amount for the Structured Finance and International

Portfolio Per Issue as of December 31, 2009(1)(2)

 

Original Par Amount Written Per Issue

   Number of
Issues
Outstanding
   % of Total
Number of
Issues
Outstanding
    Net Par
Amount
Outstanding
(In billions)
   % of Net Par
Amount
Outstanding
 

Less than $10 million

   355    26.8   $ 1.2    0.6

$10-25 million

   229    17.3        3.9    1.9   

$25-50 million

   170    12.9        6.2    3.0   

$50-100 million

   159    12.0        11.8    5.8   

$100-200 million

   133    10.1        19.7    9.6   

$200-300 million

   77    5.8        18.6    9.1   

$300-400 million

   48    3.6        16.6    8.1   

$400-500 million

   28    2.1        12.5    6.1   

Greater than $500 million

   124    9.4        114.0    55.8   
                        

Total

   1,323    100.0   $ 204.5    100.0
                        

 

(1)

Net of reinsurance.

(2)

Excludes $6.0 billion relating to investment agreements and MTNs issued by affiliates of the Company through our asset/liabilities products segment and guaranteed by MBIA Corp.

MBIA Corp. underwrites its policies on the assumption that the insurance will remain in force until maturity of the insured obligations. MBIA Corp. estimates that the average life of its structured finance and international insurance policies in force as of December 31, 2009 was 8.5 years. The average life was determined by applying a calculation using the remaining years to contractual maturity for international obligations and estimated maturity

 

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for structured finance obligations and weighting them on the basis of the remaining debt service insured. No assumptions were made for any future refundings, early redemptions or terminations of insured issues. Average annual insured debt service on the portfolio as of December 31, 2009 was $24.2 billion.

The table below shows the diversification by type of Structured Finance and International insurance that was outstanding as of December 31, 2009:

MBIA Corp. Net Par Outstanding for the Structured Finance and International

Portfolio by Bond Type as of December 31, 2009(1)

 

In millions

   Net Par
Amount

Bond Type

  

Public Finance: Non-United States

  

International Utilities

   $ 11,214

Sovereign and Sub-Sovereign

     10,821

Transportation

     9,862

Local Governments (2)

     433

Health Care

     85
      

Total Public Finance—Non-United States

     32,415
      

Structured Finance: United States

  

Collateralized Debt Obligations (3)

     77,116

Mortgage-Backed Residential

     19,320

Mortgage-Backed Commercial

     420

Consumer Asset Backed:

  

Auto Loans

     4,131

Student Loans—Structured Finance

     1,234

Manufactured Housing

     1,648

Other Consumer Asset Backed

     482

Corporate Asset Backed:

  

Aircraft Portfolio Lease Securitizations

     2,597

Rental Car Fleets

     1,798

Secured Airline Equip Securitizations

     2,319

Other Operating Assets

     878

Structured Insurance Securitizations

     4,878

Franchise Assets

     894

Intellectual Property

     3,293

Other Corporate Asset Backed

     1,625
      

Total United States

     122,633
      

Structured Finance: Non-United States

  

Collateralized Debt Obligations (3)

     35,051

Mortgage-Backed Residential

     2,221

Mortgage-Backed Commercial

     4,211

Corporate Asset Backed:

  

Aircraft Portfolio Lease Securitizations

     1,518

Secured Airline Equip Securitizations

     332

Structured Insurance Securitizations

     100

Franchise Assets

     866

Future Flow

     1,666

Other Corporate Asset Backed

     3,516
      

Total Non-United States

     49,481
      

Total Global Structured Finance

     172,114
      

Total

   $ 204,529
      

 

(1)

Par amount outstanding, net of reinsurance.

(2)

Includes municipal-owned entities backed by the sponsoring local government.

(3)

Includes transactions (represented by structured pools of primarily investment grade corporate credit risks or commercial real estate assets) that do not include typical CDO structuring characteristics, such as tranched credit risk, cash flow waterfalls, or interest and over-collateralization coverage tests.

 

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MBIA Corp.’s underwriting guidelines limit the net insurance in force for any one insured credit. In addition, MBIA Corp. is subject to both rating agency and regulatory single-risk limits with respect to any insured bond issue. See the “Insurance Regulation” section below for a description of these regulatory requirements. As of December 31, 2009, MBIA Corp.’s net par amount outstanding for its ten largest non-U.S. public finance credits insured totaled $12.6 billion, representing 6.1% of MBIA Corp.’s total net structured finance and international par amount outstanding, and the net par outstanding for its ten largest structured finance credits (without aggregating issues of common issuers), was $22.9 billion, representing 11.2% of the total.

Risk Management

MBIA’s risk management is comprised of different units that oversee credit, market and operational risks at transaction origination and in ongoing portfolio monitoring and surveillance. Our Special Situations Group monitors certain transactions that require special expertise or that are subject to intensive remediation. MBIA Corp. and National each has a credit risk committee to review underwriting decisions and processes. On an enterprise-wide basis there are four central executive committees that provide risk oversight with the Risk Oversight Committee focused on firm-wide risk review, policies and decisions related to credit market, operational, legal, financial and business risks, the Loss Reserve Committee reviewing reserve activity and the Executive Credit and Market Risk/Investment Committees reviewing specific transactions and portfolios. Prior to the Transformation the risk management function was performed enterprise wide by a Risk Management Division, which managed origination and ongoing insured portfolio concentrations and exposure limits, and the Insured Portfolio Management Division, which managed monitoring and remediation.

The Board of Directors and its Committees oversee different risks faced by the Company and its subsidiaries. The Board regularly evaluates and discusses risks associated with strategic initiatives, and the CEO’s risk management performance is one of the criteria used by the Board in evaluating the CEO. On an annual basis, the Board also evaluates and approves the Company’s risk tolerance guidelines. The purpose of the Risk Tolerance Policy is to delineate the types of risk considered tolerable and justifiable within the Company, and provides the basis upon which risk criteria and procedures are developed and applied consistently across the Company. The Board’s Audit Committee and its Finance and Risk Committee also play an important role in overseeing different types of risks.

The Audit Committee’s oversees risks associated with financial and other reporting, auditing, legal and regulatory compliance, and risks that may otherwise result from the Company’s operations. The Audit Committee oversees these risks by monitoring (i) the integrity of the financial statements of the Company and of other material financial disclosures made by the Company, (ii) the qualifications and independence of the Company’s independent auditor, (iii) the performance of the Company’s internal audit function and independent auditor, (iv) the Company’s compliance policies and procedures and its compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and (v) the performance of the Company’s operational risk management function.

The Finance and Risk Committee oversees the Company’s credit risk governance framework, market risk, liquidity risk and other material financial risks. The Finance and Risk Committee oversees these risks by monitoring the Company’s (i) investment portfolio and policies, (ii) capital and liquidity policies and practices, (iii) market risk management and (iv) the governance of credit risk in the Company and its subsidiaries. The Finance and Risk Committee’s responsibilities help manage risks associated with the Company’s investment and insured portfolios, liquidity and lines of business.

At each regular meeting of the Board, the Chairs of each of these committees reports to the full Board regarding the meetings and activities of the committee.

Origination, Monitoring and Remediation

We monitor and remediate our existing insured portfolios on an ongoing basis. Although our monitoring and remediation activities vary somewhat by sector and bond type, in all cases we focus on assessing event risk and possible losses under stress.

 

   

U.S. Public Finance: For U.S. public finance, our underwriting at origination and ongoing monitoring focuses on economic, political trends, issuer or project debt and financial management, construction and start up risk, adequacy of historical and anticipated cash flows under stress, satisfactory legal structure

 

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and bond security provisions, viable tax and economic bases, including consideration of tax limitations and unemployment trends, adequacy of stressed loss coverage and project feasibility, including satisfactory reports from consulting engineers, traffic advisors and others, if applicable. Depending on the transaction, specialized cash flow analyses may be conducted to understand loss sensitivity. In addition, specialized credit analysts consider the potential event risk of natural disasters or headline events on both single transactions and across a sector, as well as regulatory issues. U.S. public finance transactions are monitored periodically by reviewing trustee, issuer and project financial and operating reports as well as reports provided by technical advisors and counsel. Projects are periodically visited by MBIA personnel.

 

   

International Public Finance: International public finance transactions are underwritten, monitored and remediated in a manner consistent with U.S. public finance transactions. In addition, specialized credit analysts consider country risk, and projects are also periodically visited by MBIA personnel. Furthermore, counterparty exposures are reviewed periodically and when a counterparty is downgraded.

 

   

Structured Finance Transactions: For structured transactions, we focus on the historical and projected cash flows generated by the assets, credit and operational strength of the originator, servicer, manager and/or operator of the assets, and the nature of the transaction’s structure (including the degree of protection from bankruptcy of the originator or servicer). We use both probability modeling and cash flow sensitivity analysis (both at the transaction and asset specific levels) to test asset performance assumptions and performance covenants, triggers and remedies. Structured finance transactions are monitored periodically by reviewing periodic trustee, servicer and portfolio manager statements, compliance reviews with transaction documents and ongoing analyses of cash flows. Specialized credit analysts monitor servicer performance, including potentially through site visits, forensic audits, management meetings and financial statement reviews. In addition to servicer performance monitoring, these credit analysts also track counterparty exposures to individual financial institutions and corporate entities across all of MBIA’s insured portfolios. The credit portfolio manager and analysts use various quantitative tools and qualitative analyses to test for credit quality, correlation, liquidity and capital sensitivity within the insured portfolio. Such portfolio analyses are used in understanding risk concentrations and in periodic reporting to the Risk Oversight Committee and the Finance and Risk Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors.

Key to our ongoing monitoring is early detection of deterioration in either transaction credit quality or macroeconomic or market factors that could adversely impact an insured credit. If a problem is detected, analysts work with the issuer, trustee, legal counsel, servicer, other creditors and underwriters or other related parties to reduce chances of default and the potential severity of loss upon a default. We typically require the issuer, servicer and the trustee to furnish periodic financial and asset information, including audited financial statements for review. Potential problems uncovered through this review, such as poor financial or operating results, low fund balances, covenant or trigger violations, trustee or servicer problems, or excessive litigation, could result in an immediate surveillance alert and an evaluation of possible remedial actions. Ongoing analyses, as appropriate, of general economic and regulatory conditions, state and municipal finances and budget developments are also conducted to evaluate the impact on issuers and credits within our insured portfolio. For troubled credits, we develop loss mitigation strategies and in the event of significant stress may involve a dedicated workout unit, the Special Situations Group, to assess and monitor the credit and, if necessary, develop and implement a remediation strategy.

In an effort to mitigate losses, the Special Situations Group is regularly involved in the ongoing remediation of credits that may involve, among other things, waivers or renegotiations of financial covenants or triggers, waivers of contractual provisions, the granting of consents, and the taking of various other remedial actions. The nature of any remedial action is based on the type of insured issue and the nature and scope of the event giving rise to the remediation. In most cases, as part of any such remedial activity, we are able to improve our security position and obtain concessions from the issuer of the insured bonds. From time to time, the issuer of our insured bond may, with our consent, restructure the insured obligation by extending the term, increasing or decreasing the par amount or decreasing the related interest rate, sometimes with our insuring the restructured obligation.

We use an internal credit rating system to monitor credits, with frequency of review based on risk type, internal rating, performance and credit quality. Credits with performance issues are designated as “Caution List-Low,” “Caution List-Medium” or “Caution List-High” based on the nature and extent of our concerns, but these

 

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categories do not require establishment of any case basis reserves. In the event we determine that a claim for payment is possible with respect to an insured issue using probability-weighted expected cash flows based on available information, including market data, we place the issue on the “Classified List” and establish a case basis reserve for that insured issue.

Credit Risk Models

We use credit risk models to test qualitative judgments, to design appropriate structures and to understand sensitivity within transactions and across broader portfolio exposure concentrations. Models are updated to reflect changes in both portfolio and transaction data and also in expectations of stressed future outcomes. For portfolio monitoring we use internal and third-party models based on individual deal attributes and customized structures and these models are also used to determine case basis loss reserves and, where applicable, to mark-to-market any insured obligations that are required for financial reporting. When using third-party models, we perform the same review and analyses of the collateral, deal structure, performance triggers and cash flow waterfalls as when using our internal models. See “Risk Factors—Insured Portfolio Loss Related Risk Factors—Financial modeling contains uncertainty over ultimate outcomes which makes it difficult to estimate liquidity, potential paid claims, loss reserves and mark-to-market” in Part I, Item 1A.

Market Risk Assessment

We measure and assess market risk on a consolidated basis and in the investment management business. Key market risks are changes in interest rates, credit spreads and foreign exchange. The market risk function measures and monitors such risks using various models and methodologies to test economic exposure under market stress, including parallel and non-parallel shifts in the yield curve, changes in credit spreads, stressed liquidity scenarios and stressed counterparty exposures. The analyses are used in testing investment portfolio guidelines and are reported to the Executive Market/Investment Committee and the Finance and Risk Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors.

Operational Risk Assessment

The Operational Risk function identifies and assesses potential economic loss or reputational impact arising from processes, systems, or staff actions, as well as identifying vulnerabilities to operational disruptions caused by external events. Operational risk is generally managed using a self-assessment process across our business units and Internal Audit reviews to monitor controls associated with the execution of key processes. The Operational Risk group reports periodically to management’s Risk Oversight Committee and the Audit Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors. The Audit Committee reviews the Company’s operational risk profile, risk event activity and ongoing risk mitigation efforts.

Losses and Reserves

Loss and loss adjustment expense (“LAE”) reserves are established by Loss Reserve Committees in each of our major operating insurance companies (National, MBIA Corp. and MBIA UK) and reviewed by our executive Loss Reserve Committee, which consists of members of senior management. The Company’s loss and LAE reserves as of December 31, 2009 represent case basis reserves and accruals for LAE incurred. Case basis reserves represent the Company’s estimate of expected losses to be paid under an insurance contract, net of potential recoveries and discounted using a current risk-free interest rate, on insured obligations that have defaulted or are expected to default when this amount exceeds unearned premium revenue.

For a further discussion of the methodology used by the Company for determining when a case basis reserve is established, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Estimates––Loss and Loss Adjustment Expense Reserves” in Part II, Item 7. Management believes that our reserves are adequate to cover the ultimate net cost of claims. However, because the reserves are based on management’s judgment and estimates, there can be no assurance that the ultimate liability will not exceed such estimates or that the timing of claims payments and the realization of recoveries will not create liquidity issues for the insurance companies.

 

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Reinsurance

Outward Reinsurance

State insurance laws and regulations, as well as the rating agencies who rate our insurance companies impose minimum capital requirements on financial guarantee companies, limiting the aggregate amount of insurance and the maximum size of any single risk exposure which may be written. Historically, we have decreased the insured exposure in our portfolio and increased our capacity to write new business by reinsuring certain of our gross liabilities with third parties on an aggregate and single risk basis through treaty and facultative reinsurance. Additionally, we have entered into agreements under which we are entitled to reimbursement of losses on our insured portfolio but which do not qualify as reinsurance under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). In the future, we do not intend to utilize reinsurance to a material degree for these purposes.

As primary insurers, our insurance companies are required to honor their obligations to their policyholders whether or not our reinsurers and other reimbursement parties perform their agreement obligations to us. We monitor the financial position and financial strength rating of all of our reinsurers on a regular basis. Over the past several years, most of the Company’s reinsurers have been downgraded and all are now subject to more frequent rating agency review. Although there was no material impact on the Company for any of the rating agency actions through 2009 relating to its reinsurers, the overall benefit of the reinsurance to MBIA is reduced. When a reinsurer is downgraded by one or more of the rating agencies, less capital credit is given to MBIA under rating agency capital adequacy assessment models. Additionally, any significant rating downgrade or financial deterioration of one or more of our reinsurers could require the establishment of reserves against any receivables due from the reinsurer. To offset the counterparty risk, MBIA requires certain unauthorized reinsurers to maintain bank letters of credit or establish trust accounts to cover liabilities ceded to such reinsurers under reinsurance contracts. As of December 31, 2009, the amount of funds held for the benefit of MBIA totaled $830 million. The Company remains liable on a primary basis for all reinsured risk, and although MBIA believes that its reinsurers remain capable of meeting their obligations, there can be no assurance of such in the future.

The Company generally retains the right to reassume the business ceded to reinsurers under certain circumstances, including rating downgrades of its reinsurers. In 2009, MBIA recaptured business from six reinsurers as a result of their ratings downgrades. Additionally, business from two reinsurers was recaptured during 2009 unrelated to reassumption rights based on ratings changes. The Company also maintained other reimbursement agreements with its reinsurers that were not accounted for as reinsurance, which were also commuted during 2009 and were not related to a rating downgrade. Under its commutation agreements, the Company is paid an amount based on estimates of present and future exposures and taking into account the time value of money, which amount includes, but is not limited to, the unearned premium reserves and loss reserves established for the insurance policies associated with the commuted reinsurance. In exchange for payment of the agreed amount, the reinsurer’s exposure to the ceded policies is commuted.

We may also look to reduce risks embedded in our insured portfolio on an individual and portfolio-wide basis by entering into derivative transactions or other types of hedging arrangements.

Channel Re Reinsurance Agreements

In February 2004, the Company, together with Renaissance Re Holdings, Ltd., Koch Financial Re, Ltd. and Partner Reinsurance Company Ltd., formed Channel Re, a Bermuda-based financial guarantee reinsurance company then rated Triple-A by S&P and Moody’s. Channel Re’s ratings have since been withdrawn at its request following a series of downgrades. The Company invested $63.7 million for a 17.4% ownership interest in Channel Re. In February 2004, MBIA Corp. and Channel Re entered into arrangements whereby Channel Re agreed to provide committed reinsurance capacity to MBIA Corp. at least through June 30, 2008, a date which was later extended to June 30, 2010. Under treaty and facultative reinsurance arrangements, MBIA Corp. agreed to cede to Channel Re and Channel Re agreed to assume from MBIA Corp. varying percentages of designated insurance policies issued by MBIA Corp. The amount of any policy subject to the committed reinsurance arrangements is based on the type of risk insured and on other factors. The reinsurance arrangements provide Channel Re with certain preferential terms, including those related to ceding commissions. In June 2009 Channel Re was put into run off by its Board of Directors and a run off plan was reviewed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority and approved by the Channel Re Board in September 2009. The run off plan stipulates that no additional business will be ceded to Channel Re and provides for the ongoing management of Channel Re during the run off period.

 

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For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company expects Channel Re to continue to report negative shareholders’ equity on a GAAP basis primarily due to unrealized losses on ceded insured derivatives based on fair value accounting. The Company believes Channel Re has sufficient liquidity supporting its business to fund existing obligations related to ceded insured credit derivatives contracts and financial guarantee policies. Although amounts on deposit in trust accounts for the benefit of MBIA limit the potential for Channel Re to default on its obligations to MBIA, there can be no assurance that Channel Re will not default on its obligations to MBIA that exceed the amounts already held in the trust accounts.

Intercompany Reinsurance Arrangements

Under the Transformation, MBIA Corp. and National entered into the MBIA Corp. Reinsurance Agreement as well as an assignment agreement under which MBIA Corp. assigned its rights and obligations under the FGIC Reinsurance Agreement. In addition, National entered into second-to-pay policies covering the policies covered by each of these agreements. Each of these transactions and the terms of those documents are further described under the “Our Insurance Operations—National Portfolio” section above.

MBIA Corp. has entered into a reinsurance agreement with MBIA UK providing for MBIA Corp.’s reimbursement of the losses incurred by MBIA UK in excess of a specified threshold and a net worth maintenance agreement in which MBIA Corp. agrees to maintain the net worth of MBIA UK, to remain its sole shareholder and not to pledge its shares. Under the reinsurance agreement, MBIA Corp. has agreed to reimburse MBIA UK on an excess-of-loss basis for losses incurred in each calendar year for net retained insurance liability, subject to certain contract limitations. Under the net worth maintenance agreement, MBIA Corp. agrees to maintain a minimum capital and surplus position at MBIA UK in accordance with United Kingdom and New York State regulatory requirements.

MBIA Corp. and CapMAC entered into a reinsurance agreement under which MBIA Corp. agreed to reinsure 100% of the net liability and other obligations of CapMAC in exchange for CapMAC’s payment of a premium equal to the ceded reserves and contingency reserves.

MBIA Corp. has also entered into a reinsurance agreement and net worth maintenance agreement with MBIA Mexico pursuant to which MBIA Corp. reinsures 100% of the business underwritten by MBIA Mexico and agrees to maintain the amount of capital in MBIA Mexico required by applicable law or regulation.

Insurance Regulation

The Company’s insurance subsidiaries are licensed to issue financial guarantee policies in multiple jurisdictions as needed to conduct their business activities, including the United Kingdom and Mexico for subsidiaries operating in those jurisdictions, and are subject to insurance regulations in those jurisdictions. National, MBIA Corp. and CapMAC are incorporated and licensed to do insurance business in, and are subject to primary insurance regulation and supervision by, the State of New York (their state of incorporation). On December 1, 2009 National became incorporated in the State of New York and the New York State Insurance Department became its primary regulator. Until December 1, 2009, National was subject to primary insurance regulation and supervision by the State of Illinois.

The extent of state insurance regulation and supervision varies by jurisdiction, but New York, the United Kingdom, Mexico and most other jurisdictions have laws and regulations prescribing minimum standards of solvency, including minimum capital requirements, and business conduct which must be maintained by insurance companies. These laws prescribe permitted classes and concentrations of investments. In addition, some state laws and regulations require the approval or filing of policy forms and rates. MBIA Corp. and National each are required to file detailed annual financial statements with the New York State Insurance Department (“NYSID”) and similar supervisory agencies in each of the other jurisdictions in which it is licensed. The operations and accounts of the insurance companies are subject to examination by these regulatory agencies at regular intervals.

New York Insurance Regulation

Our domestic insurance companies are licensed to provide financial guarantee insurance under Article 69 of the New York Insurance Law. Article 69 defines financial guarantee insurance to include any guarantee under which loss is payable upon proof of occurrence of financial loss to an insured as a result of certain events. These events

 

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include the failure of any obligor on or any issuer of any debt instrument or other monetary obligation to pay principal, interest, premium, dividend or purchase price of or on such instrument or obligation when due. Under Article 69, our domestic insurance companies are permitted to transact financial guarantee insurance, surety insurance and credit insurance and such other kinds of business to the extent necessarily or properly incidental to the kinds of insurance which they are authorized to transact. In addition, they are empowered to assume or reinsure the kinds of insurance described above.

In light of the substantial losses incurred by financial guarantee companies, the NYSID issued in Circular Letter No. 19 (2008) on September 22, 2008, new “Best Practices” guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for financial guarantors, which it plans to formalize as regulation or legislation. In general, the Guidelines impose restrictions on the issuance of financial guarantee insurance policies and increase required capitalization levels. Included among the recommendations are: (1) restrictions on the issuance of policies insuring asset-backed securities (“ABS”) that consist of other pools of ABS, as well as on policies insuring, and the underlying terms of, insured CDSs, a market in which the Company no longer participates; (2) limits on a guarantor’s exposure to not only the issuer of debt, but also the initial lender and servicer of each category of obligation, as well as increased reporting obligations regarding exposures to particular categories of debt or exposures over a calendar year period; (3) a requirement that all, rather than a subset, of insured bonds be at least 95% investment grade, based on aggregate net liability; (4) increases in the required amount of paid-in capital to at least $15,000,000, the required amount of paid-in surplus to at least $165,000,000 and the amount of minimum surplus to policyholders to a figure in excess of $150,000,000, as well as changes to capital and contingency reserve requirements in connection with certain ABS.

Furthermore, on June 11, 2009, a new bill (Bill No. AO8855) was introduced into the New York General Assembly at the request of New York’s governor to amend the New York Insurance Law to enhance the regulation of financial guarantee insurers. The proposed bill would, among other things, (i) eliminate the capacity of financial guarantee insurers to guarantee CDSs, (ii) increase minimum capital requirements, (iii) impose tighter underwriting standards that include liquidity adequacy and controls and remediation rights standards, (iv) specify a discount rate applicable to loss reserves, (v) revise single risk limits and impose sector limits and (vi) require reporting of certain decreases in policyholder surplus.

Dividend Limitations

The laws of New York regulate the payment of dividends by National, MBIA Corp. and CapMAC and provide that a New York domestic stock property/casualty insurance company may not declare or distribute dividends except out of statutory earned surplus. New York law provides that the sum of (i) the amount of dividends declared or distributed during the preceding 12-month period and (ii) the dividend to be declared may not exceed the lesser of (a) 10% of policyholders’ surplus, as shown by the most recent statutory financial statement on file with the NYSID, or (b) 100% of adjusted net investment income for such 12-month period (the net investment income for such 12-month period plus the excess, if any, of net investment income over dividends declared or distributed during the two-year period preceding such 12-month period), unless the New York Superintendent of Insurance approves a greater dividend distribution based upon a finding that the insurer will retain sufficient surplus to support its obligations and writings. As a result of the Transformation, MBIA Corp. was not able to pay dividends without prior approval from the Superintendent until February 17, 2010. Neither MBIA Corp. nor National is expected to be able to pay dividends, including, in the case of MBIA Corp., dividends on its preferred stock, following its year end 2009 statutory financial statement filing due to a projected earned surplus deficit as of December 31, 2009. See “Note 18: Insurance Regulations and Dividends” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA Inc. and Subsidiaries in Part II, Item 8.

The foregoing dividend limitations are determined in accordance with Statutory Accounting Practices (“SAP”), which generally produce statutory earnings in amounts less than earnings computed in accordance with GAAP. Similarly, policyholders’ surplus, computed on a SAP basis, will normally be less than net worth computed on a GAAP basis. See “Note 16: Statutory Accounting Practices” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA Corp. and Subsidiaries and “Note 13: Statutory Accounting Practices” in the Notes to Financial Statements of National filed as Exhibits to this Form 10-K for additional information.

 

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Illinois Insurance Regulation

National was domiciled in Illinois and, in connection with the Transformation, it redomesticated to New York effective December 1, 2009.

Contingency Reserves

As financial guarantee insurers, our domestic insurance companies are required by the laws and regulations of New York, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey and Wisconsin to maintain, as applicable, contingency reserves on their municipal bond, ABS or other financial guarantee liabilities. Under New Jersey, Illinois and Wisconsin regulations, contributions by an insurance company to its contingency reserves are required to equal 50% of earned premiums on its municipal bond business. Under New York law, an insurance company is required to contribute to contingency reserves 50% of premiums as they are earned on policies written prior to July 1, 1989 (net of reinsurance), and, with respect to policies written on and after July 1, 1989, such an insurer must make contributions over a period of 15 or 20 years (based on issue type), or until the contingency reserve for such insured issues equals the greater of 50% of premiums written for the relevant category of insurance or a percentage of the principal guaranteed, varying from 0.55% to 2.5%, depending upon the type of obligation guaranteed (net of collateral reinsurance, refunding, refinancings and certain insured securities). California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa and Maryland laws impose a generally similar requirement, and in California the insurance commissioner can require an insurer to maintain additional reserves if the commissioner determines that the insurer’s reserves are inadequate. The contribution to and maintenance of the contingency reserve limit the amount of earned surplus that might otherwise be available for the payment of dividends. In each of these states, our domestic insurance companies may apply for release of portions of their contingency reserves in certain circumstances.

Risk Limits

The laws and regulations of these states also limit both the aggregate and individual securities risks that our domestic insurance companies may insure on a net basis based on the type of obligations insured. The individual limits are generally on the amount of insured par and/or annual debt service for a given insured issue, entity or revenues source and stated as a percentage of the insurer’s policyholders’ surplus and contingency reserves. The aggregate risk limits limit the aggregate amount of insured par to a stated multiple of the insurer’s policyholders’ surplus and contingency reserves based on the types of obligations insured. The aggregate risk limits can range from 300:1 for certain municipal obligations to 50:1 for certain non-municipal obligations.

As a result of the Transformation and the reinsurance of the MBIA Corp. and FGIC portfolios by National, National exceeded as of the closing date certain single and aggregate risk limits under the New York laws and regulations, and MBIA Corp. exceeded as of the closing date certain single risk limits under New York laws and regulations. These insurers obtained waivers from the NYSID of those limits. In connection with the waivers, they submitted a plan to the applicable insurance departments to achieve compliance with the applicable regulatory limits. Under the plans, they agreed not to write new financial guarantee insurance for certain issuers until they were in compliance with their single risk limits and agreed to take commercially reasonable steps, including considering reinsurance, the addition of capital and other risk mitigation strategies, in order to comply with the regulatory single and aggregate risk limits. As a condition to granting the waiver, the NYSID required that, upon written notice from the NYSID, MBIA Corp. and National, as applicable, would cease writing new financial guarantee insurance if it were not in compliance with the risk limitation requirements by December 31, 2009. Neither National nor MBIA Corp. have come into compliance with the single or aggregate risk limits and consequently are writing virtually no new business at present. National’s statutory capital is continuing to grow as its insured portfolio amortizes. National believes that it will be able to obtain approval to write new business from the NYSID. Given the current statutory capital of MBIA Corp. and conditions in the structured finance market, MBIA Corp. does not expect to write new business in the near term.

Holding Company Regulation

MBIA Corp., National, and CapMAC also are subject to regulation under the insurance holding company statutes of New York. The requirements of holding company statutes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but generally require insurance companies that are part of an insurance holding company system to register and file certain reports describing, among other information, their capital structure, ownership and financial condition. The holding

 

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company statutes also generally require prior approval of changes in control, of certain dividends and other inter-corporate transfers of assets, and of certain transactions between insurance companies, their parents and affiliates. The holding company statutes impose standards on certain transactions with related companies, which include, among other requirements, that all transactions be fair and reasonable and those transactions not in the ordinary course of business exceeding specified limits receive prior regulatory approval.

Change of Control

Prior approval by the NYSID is required for any entity seeking to acquire, directly or indirectly, “control” of National, MBIA Corp. or CapMAC. In many states, including New York, “control” is presumed to exist if 10% or more of the voting securities of the insurer are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by an entity, although the insurance regulator may find that “control” in fact does or does not exist when an entity owns or controls either a lesser or greater amount of securities. The United Kingdom Financial Services Authority also has a requirement for prior approval of any controlling person. MBIA Corp. would require the prior approval of the Mexican SHCP in order to transfer the shares it currently holds in MBIA Mexico.

Insurance Guarantee Funds

National, MBIA Corp. and CapMAC are exempt from assessments by the insurance guarantee funds in the majority of the states in which they do business. Guarantee fund laws in most states require insurers transacting business in the state to participate in guarantee associations, which pay claims of policyholders and third-party claimants against impaired or insolvent insurance companies doing business in the state. In most states, insurers licensed to write only municipal bond insurance, financial guarantee insurance and other forms of surety insurance are exempt from assessment by these funds and their policyholders are prohibited from making claims on these funds.

 

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OUR INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Our investment management services operations consist of our advisory services business and our wind-down asset/liability products and conduits businesses. In the advisory services segment our registered investment advisors provide fixed-income asset management services for third parties and the investment portfolios of the Company and its affiliates (including the wind-down businesses) on a fee-for-service basis.

The ratings downgrades of MBIA Corp. significantly adversely affected our funding activities in our asset/liability products and conduits businesses and resulted in the collateralization and/or termination of a substantial portion of our investment agreements. As a result of the winding down of these businesses, we are refocusing our investment management services’ new business operations solely on advisory services.

The Company has operated its advisory services segment since 1991 and had $42.1 billion in institutional assets under management as of December 31, 2009, including $16.7 billion from the Company and its subsidiaries. The segment has produced strong investment performance for its clients and has focused on providing high quality client support. The Company believes there is strong demand for its services given its track record and recent fixed-income market volatility and secular growth in fixed-income asset classes due to demographic changes and product innovation. In order to develop and grow our third-party advisory business, we have renamed our advisory services companies under the “Cutwater” name and re-branded them to reflect and communicate their organizational separation from the Company’s insurance operations and the wind-down businesses. In particular, the investment advisory business now operates under a wholly-owned “Cutwater” branded holding company of MBIA Inc. that no longer owns the wind-down businesses.

Our advisory services are offered in two major product lines, traditional and structured. Within the traditional product line, Cutwater offers cash management, customized asset management, discretionary asset management and fund accounting services to governments, insurance companies (including the Company’s insurance subsidiaries) corporations, pension funds, unions, endowments, foundations and investment companies in both pooled and separate account formats. These services are offered through registered investment advisers, and Cutwater receives asset management and administrative fees as compensation. Within the structured product line, Cutwater manages asset/liability programs, conduits, collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) and other funding vehicles (including the wind-down businesses) for banks, insurance companies, program trustees and investment companies, and it earns base and performance fees for its services.

Cutwater’s advisory services are offered through three principal operating subsidiaries: Cutwater Asset Management Corp. (“Cutwater-AMC” formerly MBIA Capital Management Corp.), a Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”)-registered investment adviser and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) member firm, Cutwater Investor Services Corp. (“Cutwater-ISC” formerly MBIA Municipal Investors Service Corp.), an SEC-registered investment adviser, and Cutwater Asset Management UK Limited (“Cutwater-UK,” formerly MBIA Asset Management UK Limited), a Financial Services Authority registered investment advisor based in London.

Investment Management Services Regulation

Cutwater is subject to various federal and state securities and investment regulations. As an SEC-registered investment adviser and a FINRA member firm, Cutwater-AMC is subject to the requirements of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, a Federal statute which regulates registered investment advisers, and to FINRA rules and regulations. As an adviser to registered investment companies, Cutwater-AMC is also responsible for compliance with applicable provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940. As sponsor/administrator of pooled investment programs, Cutwater-ISC and Cutwater Colorado Investor Services Corporation, each of which is an SEC-registered investment adviser, are subject to the requirements of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as well as certain state laws governing the operation of and permitted investments in local government investment pools. The activities of Cutwater-UK are subject to supervision by the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority.

 

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OUR WIND-DOWN BUSINESSES

Since the downgrades of MBIA Corp., we have not issued debt in connection with either the asset/liability products or conduits businesses, and we believe the outstanding liability balances and corresponding asset balances will continue to decline over time as liabilities mature, terminate, or are repurchased by the Company.

Asset/Liability Products

The asset/liability products business historically raised funds for investment through several sources: (1) customized investment agreements issued by the Company and one of its subsidiaries for bond proceeds and other funds; and (2) issuance of MTNs with varying maturities issued by our subsidiary MBIA Global Funding, LLC (“GFL”). All of these products are guaranteed by MBIA Corp. In addition, GFL would lend the proceeds of its GFL MTN issuances to the Company (“GFL Loans”). Under agreements between the Company and MBIA Corp., the Company invested the proceeds of the investment agreements and GFL Loans in eligible investments, which consisted of investment grade securities with a minimum average double-A credit quality rating at purchase and which are pledged to MBIA Corp. as security for its guarantees on investment agreements and GFL MTNs. MBIA Inc. primarily purchased domestic securities and lent a portion of the proceeds from investment agreements and GFL MTNs to Euro Asset Acquisition Limited, which primarily purchased foreign assets as permitted under the Company’s investment guidelines. While MBIA Corp. enjoyed Triple-A insurer financial strength ratings, the Company generally earned a positive spread between the yields on assets and liabilities in this business, but since the third quarter of 2008 the lower yield earned on greater holdings of cash and cash equivalents coupled with the increased cost of funding liabilities has resulted in a negative spread. The primary risks in the business include the risk that assets default or fall in value and are not available to service liabilities, and liquidity risk associated with any mismatch of assets and liabilities and/or collateral posting requirements.

The Company has managed the asset/liability products segment within a number of risk and liquidity parameters monitored by the Executive Market/Investment Committee and maintains cash and liquidity resources that it believes will be sufficient to make all payments due on the investment agreement and GFL MTN obligations and to meet other financial requirements such as posting collateral and paying operating expenses. However, there can be no assurance that our liquidity resources may not decline, or be insufficient to meet our obligations, as described under “Risk Factors—Liquidity and Market Related Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A. In addition, the Company, National and MBIA Corp. have provided funds to the asset/liability products segment which are available to use for cash and/or collateral posting needs. In particular, as a result of the illiquidity of fixed-income markets during 2008, we implemented intercompany agreements to provide additional liquidity from MBIA Inc., National and MBIA Corp. to the asset/liability products business, which has reduced the liquidity resources available to MBIA Inc., National and MBIA Corp. for other purposes. In the event that the value of the assets in the asset/liability products business is insufficient to repay the investment agreement and GFL MTN obligations or other financial requirements when due, the Company, or MBIA Corp. as guarantor of the investment agreements and GFL MTNs, may be called upon to satisfy the obligations.

Conduits

The conduits were used by banks and other financial institutions to raise funds for their customers in the capital markets. The conduits provided funding for multiple customers through special purpose vehicles that issue commercial paper and MTNs. The proceeds from these issuances were used to either make loans to customers who are secured by certain assets or to purchase assets from customers. All transactions in the conduits were insured by MBIA Corp. and subject to MBIA Corp.’s standard underwriting process. The conduits received an administrative fee as compensation for these services. No new MTNs have been issued since 2007 and there have been no outstanding issues of commercial paper since 2008.

The conduits present immaterial liquidity risk to the Company because of liquidity agreements independently entered into by one of the two conduits with third-party providers and because the assets of the second conduit are structured to mature by or before the maturity date of the liabilities. All of the liquidity agreements have been drawn.

 

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INVESTMENTS AND INVESTMENT POLICY

Investment objectives, policies and guidelines related to the Company’s insurance operations and the wind-down businesses are subject to review and approval by the Finance and Risk Committee of the Board of Directors and the Executive Market/Investment Committee of the Company. Cutwater manages the proprietary investment portfolios of the Company and its subsidiaries in accordance with the guidelines adopted for each such portfolio. Investment objectives, policies and guidelines related to investment activity on behalf of our insurance companies are also subject to review and approval by the respective Investment Committee of their Boards of Directors.

To continue to optimize capital resources and provide for claims-paying capabilities, the investment objectives and policies of our insurance operations are tailored to reflect their various strategies and operating conditions. The investment objectives of MBIA Corp. and its subsidiaries are primarily to maintain adequate liquidity to meet claims-paying and other corporate needs and secondarily to maximize after-tax yield within defined investment risk limits. The investment objectives of National set preservation of capital as the primary objective, subject to an appropriate degree of liquidity, and optimization of after-tax income and total return as secondary objectives. The investment portfolio of each insurance subsidiary is managed by Cutwater under separate investment services agreements.

The investment objectives and policies of the wind-down businesses reflect the characteristics of those programs. The primary investment objective is to provide sufficient liquidity to meet maturing liabilities (including intercompany liquidity agreements) and collateral posting obligations, while maximizing the net residual value of assets to liabilities in each program.

COMPETITION

Our insurance companies compete with other monoline insurance companies, as well as other forms of credit enhancement, in writing financial guarantee business.

Our ability to attract and compete for financial guarantee business is largely dependent on the financial strength ratings assigned to our insurance companies by the major rating agencies. During 2008 and 2009, every significant monoline financial guarantee insurer was downgraded by one or more of the major rating agencies. In addition, during 2009 the only two financial guarantee insurers that were underwriting significant new business merged, further reducing competition in the market. Currently, that company is the only financial guarantee company that is underwriting significant new business. Given the capital position of the other licensed financial guarantee companies, we do not expect them to underwrite any new business in the near term. In the future, recapitalized existing bond insurers and/or newly formed entities may begin underwriting new business.

In addition, commercial banks also provide letters of credit as a means of credit enhancement for municipal securities. The use of letters of credit as an alternative to financial guarantee insurance within the U.S. municipal market increased substantially in 2008 and remained a significant presence in the market in 2009. Furthermore, in 2008 and 2009 uninsured issuances increased as a percentage of all new U.S. municipal securities issuances.

The actions by the major rating agencies with respect to the Company’s and our insurance companies’ ratings have adversely affected our ability to attract new financial guarantee business. Furthermore, we are unlikely to achieve our desired credit ratings until we resolve the Transformation litigation. As a result, we wrote virtually no new business in 2009. The structured finance industry is generating very few new business opportunities, and it continues to be uncertain as to how or when the Company may re-engage this market.

As mentioned above, financial guarantee insurance also competes with other forms of credit enhancement, including senior-subordinated structures, credit derivatives, letters of credit and alternative guarantees (for example, mortgage guarantees where pools of mortgages secure debt service payments) provided by banks and other financial institutions, some of which are governmental agencies. Other highly rated institutions, including pension funds and government sponsored entities, also offer third-party credit enhancement on asset-backed and municipal obligations. Financial guarantee insurance and other forms of credit enhancement also compete in nearly all instances with the issuer’s alternative of foregoing credit enhancement and paying a higher interest rate.

 

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If the interest savings from insurance or another form of credit enhancement are not greater than the cost of such credit enhancement, the issuer will generally choose to issue bonds without third-party enhancement. All of these alternative forms of credit enhancement or alternative executions could also affect our ability to reenter the financial guarantee business.

Certain characteristics of the financial guarantee insurance business act as barriers-to-entry to potential new competitors. For example, there are minimum capital requirements imposed on a financial guarantee insurance company by the rating agencies to obtain and maintain high financial strength ratings and these capital requirements may deter other companies from entering this market. However, there can be no assurance that these capital requirements will deter potential competitors from entering this market or that the market may not increasingly accept guarantees provided by lower rated insurers who have less stringent capital requirements. In addition, under New York law, multi-line insurers are prohibited from writing financial guarantee insurance in New York State. See the “Our Insurance Operations—Insurance Regulation” section above. However, there can be no assurance that major multi-line insurers or other financial institutions will not participate in financial guarantee insurance in the future, either directly or through monoline subsidiaries.

Our advisory services business, which now carries the “Cutwater” name, competes for business with a number of banks, insurance companies and independent companies which provide investment advisory services, as well as with companies who manage their investments in-house. Competition varies by product and typically can range from very large asset management firms to very small operations. Cutwater’s ability to compete for new advisory services business and to retain existing accounts is largely dependent on its investment performance for a specific client or in general (typically versus established benchmark indices), the consistency of its performance through market cycles, fee levels charged and the level of client service provided. Cutwater markets itself through its own field sales force as well as through various intermediaries such as broker dealers, investment consultants and financial advisors.

The Company also competes in the financial advisory market in Latin America through LatAm. LatAm’s ability to compete will depend on its ability to leverage its expertise in credit structuring and the surveillance, management and valuation of infrastructure assets to attract new financial advisory services clients in Latin America. Competition in these markets includes local and international investment banks and other diversified financial services providers.

RATING AGENCIES

Rating agencies perform periodic reviews of our insurance companies and other companies providing financial guarantee insurance. In rating financial guarantee companies, rating agencies focus on qualitative and quantitative characteristics in five key areas. Those are: (1) franchise value and business strategy; (2) insurance portfolio characteristics; (3) capital adequacy; (4) profitability; and (5) financial flexibility. Each agency has its own ratings criteria for financial guarantors and employs proprietary models to assess our risk adjusted leverage, risk concentrations and financial performance relative to the agency’s standards. The agencies also assess our corporate governance and factor this into their rating assessment. Currently, S&P and Moody’s rate the Company and its insurance companies.

Until June 2008, MBIA Corp. held Triple-A financial strength ratings from S&P, which the Association received in 1974; from Moody’s, which the Association received in 1984; from Fitch, Inc., which MBIA Corp. received in 1995; and from Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (“RII”), which MBIA Corp. received in 1998. Fitch, Inc. withdrew its insurer financial strength ratings for MBIA Corp. and its insurance affiliates as well as all other related ratings in June 2008. At the Company’s request, RII canceled its ratings on MBIA Corp. and CapMAC in June 2008. National’s, MBIA Corp.’s and MBIA Inc.’s current financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s are summarized below:

 

Agency        Rating/Outlook     
    National   MBIA Insurance Corporation   MBIA Inc.
S&P   A / Developing outlook   BB+ / Negative outlook   BB-/ Negative outlook
Moody’s   Baa1 / Developing outlook   B3 / Negative outlook   Ba3 / Negative outlook

 

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As of December 31, 2008, prior to the Transformation the corresponding ratings were:

 

Agency        Rating/Outlook     
    National   MBIA Insurance Corporation   MBIA Inc.
S&P   AA / Negative   AA / Negative   A-/ Negative
Moody’s   Baa1 / Developing   Baa1 / Developing   Ba1 / Developing

CAPITAL FACILITIES

The Company does not currently maintain a capital facility. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity—Credit Facilities” in Part II, Item 7.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

For information on the Company’s financial information by segment, see Note 15, “Business Segments,” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA Inc. and Subsidiaries in Part II, Item 8.

EMPLOYEES

As of February 25, 2010, the Company had 416 employees, including 186 in Optinuity, 39 in National, 62 in MBIA Corp. and its subsidiaries, 124 in Cutwater and 5 in other subsidiaries. None of the Company’s domestic employees is covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Certain of the Company’s employees outside the United States are governed by national collective bargaining or similar agreements. The Company considers its employee relations to be satisfactory.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

The Company maintains a website at www.mbia.com. The Company is not including the information on its website as a part of, nor is it incorporating such information by reference into, this Form 10-K. The Company makes available through its website, free of charge, all of its SEC filings, including its annual reports on Form 10-K, its quarterly filings on Form 10-Q and any current reports on Form 8-K, as soon as is reasonably practicable after these materials have been filed with the SEC. All such filings were timely posted to the website in 2009.

 

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EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

The executive officers of the Company and their present ages and positions with the Company as of March 1, 2010 are set forth below:

 

Name

   Age   

Position and Term of Office

Joseph W. Brown

   61    Chief Executive Officer and Director (officer since February, 2008)

C. Edward Chaplin

   53    President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer (officer since June, 2006)

William C. Fallon

   50    President and Chief Operating Officer (officer since July, 2005)

Clifford D. Corso

   48    Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer (officer since September, 2004)

Mitchell I. Sonkin

   57    Executive Vice President and Chief Portfolio Officer (officer since April, 2004)

Ram D. Wertheim

   55    Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary (officer since January, 2000)

Joseph W. Brown (age 61) is Chief Executive Officer and director of the Company. Mr. Brown assumed the roles of Chairman, CEO and director in February 2008 after having retired as Executive Chairman of MBIA in May 2007. In May, 2009 the Company’s Board of Directors accepted Mr. Brown’s recommendation to split the roles of Chairman and CEO and elected Daniel P. Kearney as Non-Executive Chairman, with Mr. Brown continuing in the roles of CEO and director. Until May 2004, Mr. Brown had served as Chairman and CEO of MBIA and MBIA Corp. Mr. Brown originally joined the Company as Chairman and CEO in January 1999 after having been a director since 1986.

Prior to joining MBIA in 1999, Mr. Brown was Chairman and CEO of Talegen Holdings, Inc., an insurance holding company. Before his election as Chairman and CEO of Talegen, Mr. Brown was President and CEO of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. Mr. Brown joined Fireman’s Fund in 1974. He held numerous executive positions including Chief Financial Officer at the time of its IPO in 1985 from American Express and President and Chief Operating Officer at the time of its sale to Allianz AG in 1990.

Mr. Brown served on the board of Oxford Health Plans from 2000 to 2004 and on the Board of Fireman Fund Holdings prior to the sale of its insurance subsidiary to Allianz. He served on the SAFECO board from 2001 to September 2008 and was elected Non-executive Chairman in January 2006.

On November 6, 2008, the Board of Directors of MBIA Inc. appointed the other executive officers of the Company to the office set forth opposite his name above, effective as of November 6, 2008.

Prior to being named President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, C. Edward Chaplin (age 53) was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company. Prior to becoming an officer of the Company in June 2006, Mr. Chaplin had served as a director of the Company from December 2002 to May 2006 and as Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Prudential Financial Inc. since November 2000, responsible for Prudential’s capital and liquidity management, corporate finance, and banking and cash management. Mr. Chaplin had been with Prudential since 1983.

Prior to being named President and Chief Operating Officer, William C. Fallon (age 50) was Vice President of the Company and head of the Global Structured Finance Division. From July 2005 to March 1, 2007, Mr. Fallon was Vice President of the Company and head of Corporate and Strategic Planning. Prior to joining the Company in 2005, Mr. Fallon was a partner at McKinsey & Company and co-leader of that firm’s Corporate Finance and Strategy Practice.

Prior to being named Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Clifford D. Corso (age 48) was Vice President of the Company, the Company’s Chief Investment Officer and the president of Cutwater AMC. Mr. Corso retains the title of president of Cutwater AMC. He joined the Company in 1994 and has served as Chief Investment Officer since 2000.

Prior to being named Executive Vice President and Chief Portfolio Officer, Mitchell I. Sonkin (age 57) was Vice President of the Company and head of the IPM Division. Prior to joining the Company in April 2004, Mr. Sonkin was senior partner and co-chair of the Financial Restructuring Group of the international law firm of King & Spalding.

 

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Prior to being named Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Ram D. Wertheim (age 55) was Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Company. From February of 1998 until January 2000, he served in various capacities in the Global Structured Finance Division. Mr. Wertheim was, until February of 1998, the General Counsel of CapMAC Holdings Inc.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

References in the risk factors to the “Company” are to MBIA Inc., together with its domestic and international subsidiaries. References to “we,” “our” and “us” are to MBIA Inc. or the Company, as the context requires.

Insured Portfolio Loss Related Risk Factors

Continued deteriorating performance of our structured finance insured portfolio due to adverse developments in certain segments of the credit markets and material misrepresentations made by sponsors of transactions that we insured may materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and future business

We are exposed to credit risks in our portfolio that have arisen from continued deterioration in certain segments in the credit markets, which has led to the deterioration in the quality of assets and the collection of cash flows from such assets within structured securities that we have guaranteed. In addition, we are exposed to risk of deterioration of those assets arising from material misrepresentations made by transaction sponsors and the refusal of the sellers/servicers to perform under the related contracts.

Based on our forensic reviews and analysis of residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) and collateralized debt obligations (“CDO”) we insured, we believe that multiple sellers/servicers and counterparties that originated or sponsored transactions that we insured misrepresented the nature and/or quality of the assets that back those transactions, which materially contributed to the losses we have incurred to date on those transactions and which represent a substantial portion of the total losses we have incurred since the fourth quarter of 2007. Losses in these transactions and in other transactions due to misrepresentations could continue. In sizing loss reserves relating to these transactions, we take into account expected recoveries from those sellers/servicers arising from our contractual rights of put-back of ineligible loans. As of December 31, 2009 we had recognized estimated recoveries of $1.5 billion related to reviewed transactions. While we believe that the originators are contractually obligated to cure, purchase or replace the ineligible loans, if we fail to realize these expected recoveries our loss reserve estimates may not be adequate to cover potential claims.

Beginning in the second half of 2007, deterioration of the global credit markets coupled with the re-pricing of credit risk created extremely difficult market conditions and volatility in the credit markets. Initially, the concerns on the part of market participants were focused on the subprime segment of the U.S. mortgage-backed securities market. However, these concerns have since expanded to include a broad range of mortgage and asset-backed and other fixed-income securities, including those rated investment grade, the U.S. and international credit and interbank money markets generally, and a wide range of financial institutions and markets, asset classes and sectors. During the fourth quarter of 2008, disruptions and volatility in the credit markets reached unprecedented levels. During 2008, partly as a result of concerns about exposure to these assets, some of the largest companies in the financial sector received government support, were acquired by stronger firms or were allowed to fail.

As a consequence, while many segments of the global credit markets recovered in 2009, the performance of certain credits we insure, in particular RMBS and CDOs of asset-backed securities (“ABS”) has continued to deteriorate.

Although we have sought to underwrite direct RMBS, CDOs of ABS and other structured finance transactions with levels of subordination and other credit enhancements designed to protect us from loss in the event of poor performance of the underlying assets collateralizing the securities, we recorded case basis losses incurred of $770 million in 2009, which is calculated on a basis that is net of expected recoveries, due in part to projected inadequacies of such credit enhancements in securities we have guaranteed. Furthermore, since the third quarter of 2007 we have recorded case basis losses incurred of $2.7 billion (including $575 million of losses in 2009) related to insured RMBS exposures and impairments of $2.5 billion (including $777 million of impairments in 2009) related to insured credit derivatives. We believe that a substantial portion of those losses were the result of misrepresentations concerning the quality of the collateral backing those transactions, which we believe is the main cause of the high level of losses in those transactions and the primary reason why the original level of subordination and other credit enhancement has not been sufficient.

 

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No assurance can be given that any remaining credit enhancements will prove to be adequate to protect us from incurring additional material losses in view of the current significantly higher rates of delinquency, foreclosure and losses being observed among residential mortgages and home equity lines of credit. While further deterioration in some of the structured finance securities we insure is generally expected, the additional impact of misrepresentations made to us in transactions we insure and the impact of any future continued deterioration of the credit markets is unknown, as is the impact, if any, on potential claim payments and ultimate losses of the securities within our portfolio.

MBIA Corp. has insured a substantial amount of credit default swap (“CDS”) contracts that are backed by commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) and commercial real estate (“CRE”) portfolios. In 2009 we also saw deteriorating trends in delinquencies in mortgages underlying CMBS and CREs. To the extent that these trends continue to worsen and result in substantial defaults and losses on the underlying mortgages, we could incur substantial losses on our CMBS and CRE portfolio.

There can be no assurance that we will be successful, or that we will not be delayed, in enforcing the agreements governing the transactions we insure, and the failure to enforce such contractual provisions could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition

While we have sought to underwrite direct RMBS, CMBS and CDOs of ABS with levels of subordination and other credit enhancements designed to protect us from loss in the event of poor performance of the underlying assets collateralizing the securities in the insured portfolio, there can be no assurance that we will be successful, or that we will not be delayed, in enforcing the subordination provisions, credit enhancements or other contractual provisions of the RMBS, CMBS and CDOs of ABS that we insure in the event of litigation or the bankruptcy of other transaction parties. Though we are confident in our interpretation of these provisions, it is uncertain how such provisions will be interpreted by the courts in the event of an action for enforcement. Furthermore, we are required to pay losses on these securities until such time as we are able to enforce our contractual rights. Accordingly, the failure to timely enforce such subordination provisions, credit enhancements and other contractual provisions could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition.

Moreover, although the RMBS obligations we insure typically include contractual provisions obligating the sellers/services to cure, repurchase or replace ineligible loans that were included in the transaction, in certain transactions the sellers/servicers have breached this obligation. The unsatisfactory resolution of the contractually stipulated process to deal with the ineligible loans, in addition to the pervasive misrepresentations made by the certain sellers/servicers in inducing MBIA Corp. to write insurance of the transactions, has led to MBIA pursuing litigation with these sellers/servicers seeking to enforce our contractual rights and damages for both breaches of contract and fraud. While the Company believes that the respective sellers/services are obligated to cure, repurchase or replace the ineligible mortgage loans identified within our RMBS, successful challenges of such determinations by the sellers/servicers could result in the Company recovering less than the amount of its estimated recoveries. Furthermore, each of our seller/servicer litigations is in its early phases and may take up to several years to resolve, during which time we will be required to pay losses on the subject transactions. Accordingly, the failure to successfully and timely resolve our seller/servicer litigation could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition. See “Legal Proceedings” in Part I, Item 3.

Loss reserve estimates are subject to uncertainties and loss reserves may not be adequate to cover potential claims

The financial guarantees issued by our insurance companies insure the financial performance of the obligations guaranteed over an extended period of time, in some cases over 30 years, under policies that we have, in most circumstances, no right to cancel. As a result of the lack of statistical paid loss data due to the historically low level of paid claims in our financial guarantee business, we do not use traditional actuarial approaches to determine our loss reserves. The establishment of the appropriate level of loss reserves is an inherently uncertain process involving numerous estimates and subjective judgments by management, and therefore, there can be no assurance that actual paid claims in our insured portfolio will not exceed its loss reserves. Small changes in the assumptions underlying these estimates could significantly impact loss expectations. Additionally, we use both internal models as well as models generated by third-party consultants and customized by us to project future paid claims on our insured portfolio and establish loss reserves. There can be no assurance that the future loss

 

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projections based on these models are accurate. Losses on RMBS related to the large number of ineligible mortgage loans included in RMBS securitizations that we insured as well as unprecedented volatility in the credit markets that began in the fourth quarter of 2007 and continued into 2009 has caused us to increase our loss projections substantially several times especially for RMBS transactions, where expected losses are far worse than originally expected and in many cases far worse than the worst historical losses largely as a result of the high level of ineligible loans included in these transactions. As a result, historical loss data may have limited value in predicting future RMBS losses.

Moreover, in sizing loss reserves with respect to our insured transactions, we take into account expected recoveries from originators of the transactions arising from our contractual rights of put-back of ineligible loans. As of December 31, 2009 we had recognized estimated recoveries of $1.5 billion related to transactions where we reviewed the underlying mortgage loan files. While, based on that review, we believe that the originators are contractually obligated to cure, repurchase or replace the ineligible loans, if we fail to realize these estimated recoveries our losses will exceed our loss reserves, which reflect estimated recoveries. Furthermore, estimated recoveries may differ from realized recoveries due to the outcome of litigation, the cost of litigation, error in determining breach rates, counterparty credit risk, the potential for delay and other sources of uncertainty. See “—There can be no assurance that we will be successful, or that we will not be delayed, in enforcing the agreements governing the transactions we insure, and the failure to enforce such contractual provisions could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition” in this section and “Legal Proceedings” in Part I, Item 3.

We recorded case basis losses incurred of $2.7 billion since the third quarter of 2007 (including $575 million of losses in 2009) related to such insured RMBS exposures and case basis losses incurred of $770 million in 2009 related to the entire structured finance portfolio. Since our insured credit derivatives have similar terms, conditions, risks, and economic profiles to our financial guarantee insurance policies, we evaluate them for impairment periodically in the same way that we estimate loss and loss adjustment expense for our financial guarantee policies. Since the third quarter of 2007 we have recorded impairments of $2.5 billion (including $777 million of impairments in 2009) related to insured credit derivatives. Further deterioration in the performance of RMBS, CMBS, CDOs of ABS or other obligations we insure or reinsure could lead to the establishment of additional loss reserves or impairments and further losses or reductions in income. There can be no assurance that the estimates of probable and estimable losses are accurate. Actual paid claims could exceed our estimate and could significantly exceed our loss reserves. If our loss reserves are not adequate to cover actual paid claims, our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. Effective January 1, 2009, the Company adopted Accounting Standard Codification (“ASC”) 944-20, “Accounting for Financial Guarantee Insurance Contracts.” For additional information on the Company’s loss reserving methodology and ASC 944-20, see “Note 3—Recent Accounting Pronouncements” in Part II, Item 8, and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Estimates” in Part II, Item 7.

Recent difficult economic conditions may materially adversely affect our business and results of operations and we do not expect these conditions to improve in the near future

Our results of operations are materially affected by general economic conditions, both in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.

Beginning in the second half of 2007 and continuing in 2008, global financial, equity and other markets experienced significant stress, which reached unprecedented levels in the fourth quarter of 2008. While many segments of the global capital markets recovered in 2009, continued concerns over the availability and cost of credit for certain borrowers, the U.S. mortgage market, a declining or flat real estate market in the United States and geopolitical issues have contributed to diminished expectations for the global economy and the markets going forward. These factors, combined with low business and consumer confidence and high unemployment, have precipitated an economic slowdown which continues to challenge the U.S. and other overall economies.

Recessions, increases in corporate, municipal, sovereign, sub-sovereign or consumer default rates and other general economic conditions may adversely impact, and the weak performance of RMBS, including due to the inclusion of ineligible loans in RMBS we insured, has adversely impacted, and continues to impact, the Company’s prospects for future business, as well as the performance of our insured portfolios and the Company’s

 

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investment portfolio. In particular, the deterioration of certain sectors of the credit markets has caused a significant decline in the number of structured finance securities that have been issued since the fourth quarter of 2007. There can be no assurance that the market for structured finance securities will recover or that we will achieve the credit ratings necessary to insure new structured finance issuances, which may adversely affect our business prospects. In addition, U.S. public finance obligations supported by specified revenue streams, such as revenue bonds issued by toll road authorities, municipal utilities or airport authorities, may be adversely affected by revenue declines resulting from economic recession, reduced demand, changing demographics or other factors.

There can be no assurance that actions of the U.S. government, Federal Reserve and other governmental and regulatory bodies for the purpose of stabilizing underperforming segments of the financial markets and stimulating the economy will achieve the intended results

The U.S. federal government, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and other governmental and regulatory bodies have taken or are considering taking actions in response to the financial crisis affecting the banking system, financial markets, investment banks and other financial institutions. Such measures include enacting the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the “EESA”) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “ARRA”) in an effort to stabilize the economy through direct investments, spending and tax cuts.

There can be no assurance as to what long-term impact governmental actions will have on the underperforming segments of the financial markets, whether on the level of volatility, the level of lending by financial institutions, the prices buyers are willing to pay for financial assets or otherwise. Our business, financial condition and results of operations and the trading price of our common stock could be materially and adversely affected to the extent that the availability of credit in certain segments of the credit market and prices for real estate and structured finance assets remain at low levels. Furthermore, Congress has considered, and likely will continue to consider, legislative proposals that could impact the value of mortgage loans, such as legislation that would permit bankruptcy courts to reduce the principal balance of mortgage loans owed by bankrupt borrowers. If such legislation is enacted, it could cause loss of principal on certain transactions we insure which, in turn, would cause an increase in losses on such securities and increase the reserves that we must hold to support such securities. The choices made by the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC could have the effect of supporting some aspects of the financial services industry more than others. We cannot predict whether the funds made available by the U.S. federal government and its agencies will be enough to further stabilize and revive the poorly performing segments of the credit markets and the overall economy or, if additional amounts are necessary, whether Congress will be willing to make the necessary appropriations, what the public’s sentiment would be towards any such appropriations, or what additional requirements or conditions might be imposed on the use of any such additional funds.

Some of the state and local governments and finance authorities that issue public finance obligations we insure are experiencing unprecedented budget shortfalls that could result in increased credit losses or impairments on those obligations

We have historically experienced low levels of defaults in our U.S. public finance insured portfolio, including during the financial crisis that began in mid-2007. However, recently many state and local governments that issue some of the obligations we insure have reported unprecedented budget shortfalls that will require them to significantly raise taxes and/or cut spending in order to satisfy their obligations. While there has been some support provided by the U.S. federal government designed to provide aid to state and local governments, including through grants under the ARRA, certain state and local governments remain under extreme financial stress. If the issuers of the obligations in our public finance portfolio are unable to raise taxes, cut spending, or receive federal assistance, we may experience losses or impairments on those obligations, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Financial modeling contains uncertainty over ultimate outcomes which makes it difficult to estimate liquidity, potential paid claims, loss reserves and mark-to-market

The Company uses third-party and internal financial models to estimate liquidity, potential paid claims, loss reserves and mark-to-market. We use internal financial models to conduct liquidity stress-scenario testing to ensure that we maintain cash and liquid securities in an amount in excess of all stress scenario payment requirements. These measurements are performed on a legal entity and operating segment basis. We also rely on financial models, generated internally and supplemented by models generated by third parties, to estimate factors relating to the highly complex securities we insure, including future credit performance of the underlying assets, and to evaluate structures, rights and our potential obligations over time. We also use internal models for ongoing portfolio monitoring and to estimate case basis loss reserves and, where applicable, to mark our obligations under our contracts to market and may supplement such models with third-party models or use third-party experts to consult with our internal modeling specialists. Both internal and external models are subject to model risk and there can be no assurance that these models are accurate or comprehensive in estimating our liquidity, potential future paid claims and related loss reserves or that they are similar to methodologies employed by our competitors, counterparties or other market participants. Estimates of our future paid claims, in particular, may materially impact our liquidity position. In addition, changes to our paid claims, loss reserve or mark-to-market models have been made recently and may be warranted in the future. These changes could materially impact our financial results.

Our risk management policies and procedures may not detect or prevent future losses

We assess our risk management policies and procedures on a periodic basis. As a result of such assessment, we may take steps to change our internal risk assessment capabilities and procedures, our portfolio management policies, systems and processes and our policies and procedures for monitoring and assessing the performance of our insured portfolio in changing market conditions. There can be no assurance, however, that these steps will be adequate to avoid future losses.

Geopolitical conditions may adversely affect our insurance companies’ business prospects and insured portfolio

General global unrest, fraud, terrorism, catastrophic events, natural disasters, pandemics or similar events could further disrupt the economy in this country and around the world and could have a direct material adverse impact on certain industries and on general economic activity. The Company has exposure in certain sectors that could suffer increased delinquencies and defaults as a direct result of these types of events. Moreover, we are exposed to correlation risk as a result of the possibility that multiple credits will experience losses as a result of any such event or series of events, in particular exposures that are backed by revenues from business and personal travel, such as domestic enhanced equipment trust certificate aircraft securitizations and bonds backed by hotel taxes and car rental fleet securitizations. To the extent that certain corporate sectors may be vulnerable to credit deterioration and increased defaults in the event of future global unrest, CDOs backed by pools of corporate debt issuances in those stressed sectors could also be adversely impacted.

The Company’s insurance operations underwrite exposures to the Company’s reasonable expectation of future performance as well as at various stress levels estimating defaults and other conditions at levels higher than are reasonably expected to occur. There can be no assurance, however, that the Company will not incur material losses if the economic stress and increased defaults in certain sectors caused by global unrest, fraud, terrorism, catastrophic events, natural disasters, pandemics or similar events in the future is or will be more severe than the Company currently foresees and had assumed in underwriting its exposures.

Liquidity and Market Related Risk Factors

Adverse developments in the credit markets may materially and adversely affect our ability to meet liquidity needs

As a financial services company, we are particularly sensitive to liquidity risk, which is the probability that an enterprise will not have sufficient resources to meet contractual payment obligations when due. Management of liquidity risk is of critical importance to financial services companies, and most failures of financial institutions have

 

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occurred in large part due to their inability to maintain sufficient liquidity resources under adverse circumstances. Generally, lack of sufficient resources results from an enterprise’s inability to sell assets at values necessary to satisfy payment obligations, the inability to access new capital through the issuance of equity or debt and/or an unexpected acceleration of payments required to settle liabilities.

We encounter liquidity risk in our insurance operations, asset/liability products business and corporate operations. The effects of the credit crisis which began in the subprime segment of the mortgage-backed securities market and spread to a wide range of financial institutions and markets, asset losses and sectors, has caused the Company to experience material increased liquidity risk pressures in all of its operations and businesses. The insurance business experienced elevated loss payments, and with its ratings downgrades beginning in June 2008, a drop in cash from new direct insurance writings. The downgrades also had a material impact on the asset/liability segment as they triggered liability terminations and collateralization requirements, and asset sales to meet those terminations resulted in significant realized losses due to the need to sell devalued assets in the segment. In addition, the impact of this crisis on the Company’s operating businesses combined with the effect of the Transformation of our insurance business has eliminated those subsidiaries’ abilities to pay dividends to the holding company, if needed, to enable it to meet its debt service and other operating expense needs. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the Company or its subsidiaries will be able to access the capital markets, particularly before the Transformation litigation is resolved. See “Legal Proceedings” in Part I, Item 3. Finally, if certain of our corporate debt obligations were to become accelerated, which could occur due to MBIA Corp. entering rehabilitation proceedings, among other events, MBIA Inc. might have insufficient assets to repay the accelerated obligations.

If the current losses on the Company’s RMBS and CDO transactions continue to rise and market and adverse economic conditions persist for an extended period of time or worsen, the Company could face additional liquidity pressure in all of its operations and businesses. Further stress could increase liquidity demands on the Company or decrease its liquidity supply through additional defaulted insured exposures or devaluations and/or impairments of its invested assets. These pressures could arise from exposures beyond residential mortgage related stress, which to date has been the main cause of stress. For further discussion on the Company’s liquidity risk, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity” in Part II, Item 7.

An inability to access capital could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition and ultimately adversely affect liquidity

The Company’s access to external sources of financing, as well as the cost of such financing, is dependent on various factors, including (i) the long term debt ratings of the Company, (ii) the insurance financial strength ratings and long term business prospects of our insurance companies, (iii) the perceptions of the financial strength of our insurance companies and MBIA Inc., and (iv) the outcome of the Transformation litigation. Our debt ratings are influenced by numerous factors, either in absolute terms or relative to our peer group, such as financial leverage, balance sheet strength, capital structure and earnings trends. If we cannot obtain adequate capital on favorable terms or at all, our business, future growth, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Beginning in the second half of 2008, the volatility and disruption in the global credit markets exerted downward pressure on availability of liquidity and credit capacity for certain issuers, including MBIA, with credit spreads widening considerably.

As a result of the illiquidity of fixed-income markets during 2008, we implemented intercompany agreements to provide additional liquidity from MBIA Inc., MBIA Corp. and National to the asset/liability products business, and this has reduced the liquidity resources available to MBIA Inc., MBIA Corp. and National for other purposes. Furthermore, the Company drew its contingent capital facility and no longer maintains credit facilities with third-party providers. There can be no assurance that replacement facilities will be available in the future, in particular prior to the resolution of the Transformation-related litigation. The inability to obtain adequate replacement capital on favorable terms or at all could have an adverse impact on the Company’s business and financial condition.

Because we are a holding company, our sources of liquidity primarily consist of dividend payments from our insurance companies and Cutwater, investment income and the issuance of debt. Each of National and MBIA Corp. is currently unable to pay dividends because it has a negative earned surplus. To the extent that we are

 

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unable to access capital, our insurance companies may not have sufficient liquidity to meet their obligations, will have less capacity to write business and may not be able to pay dividends to us without experiencing adverse rating agency action. Accordingly, our inability to maintain access to capital on favorable terms could have an adverse impact on our ability to pay losses and debt obligations, to pay dividends on our capital stock, to pay principal and interest on our indebtedness, to pay our operating expenses and to make capital investments in our subsidiaries. See “—Our holding company structure and certain regulatory and other constraints could affect our ability to pay dividends and make other payments” in this section.

Our holding company structure and certain regulatory and other constraints could affect our ability to pay dividends and make other payments

We are a holding company and rely to a significant degree on the operations of our principal operating subsidiaries, National, MBIA Corp. and Cutwater, and certain other smaller subsidiaries. As such, we are largely dependent on dividends or advances in the form of intercompany loans from our insurance companies to pay dividends, to the extent payable, on our capital stock, to pay principal and interest on our indebtedness and to make capital investments in our subsidiaries, among other items. Our insurance companies are subject to various statutory and regulatory restrictions, applicable to insurance companies generally, that limit the amount of cash dividends, loans and advances that those subsidiaries may pay to us. Regulations relating to capital requirements affecting some of our other subsidiaries may also restrict their ability to pay dividends and other distributions and make loans to us.

Under New York law, National and MBIA Corp. may generally pay stockholder dividends only out of statutory earned surplus and subject to additional limits, as described in “Business—Insurance Regulation” in Part I, Item 1 and “Note 18: Insurance Regulations and Dividends” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA Inc. and Subsidiaries in Part II, Item 8. MBIA Corp.’s payment of an extraordinary dividend in February 2009 in connection with the Transformation restricted its ability to pay dividends until February 17, 2010. In addition, each of National and MBIA Corp. has negative earned surplus and therefore is currently unable to pay dividends to the Company.

Additionally, under New York law, the Superintendent may apply for an order directing the rehabilitation or liquidation of a domestic insurance company under certain circumstances, including upon the insolvency of the company, if the company has willfully violated its charter or New York law or if the company is found, after examination, to be in such condition that further transaction of business would be hazardous to its policyholders, creditors or the public. The Superintendent may also suspend an insurer’s license, restrict its license authority, or limit the amount of premiums written in New York if, after a hearing, the Superintendent determines that the insurer’s surplus to policyholders is not adequate in relation to its outstanding liabilities or financial needs. If the Superintendent were to take any such action with respect to National or MBIA Corp., it would likely result in the reduction or elimination of the payment of dividends to us.

The inability of our insurance companies to pay dividends in an amount sufficient to enable us to meet our cash requirements at the holding company level could affect our ability to repay our debt and have a material adverse effect on our operations.

Changes in interest rates could adversely affect our financial condition and future business

Increases in prevailing interest rate levels can adversely affect the value of MBIA’s investment portfolio and, therefore, our financial condition. In the event that investments must be sold in order to make payments on insured exposures, such investments would likely be sold at discounted prices. Lower interest rates can also result in lower net interest income since a substantial portion of assets are now held in cash and cash equivalents given the increased focus on liquidity. Additionally, in the insurance operations, increasing interest rates could lead to increased credit stress on transactions in our insured portfolio, while a decline in interest rates could result in larger loss reserves on a present value basis.

While we are not currently writing any new financial guarantee insurance, we expect to do so in the future. Prevailing interest rate levels can affect demand for financial guarantee insurance. Lower interest rates are typically accompanied by narrower spreads between insured and uninsured obligations. The purchase of

 

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insurance during periods of relatively narrower interest rate spreads will generally provide lower cost savings to the issuer than during periods of relatively wider spreads. These lower cost savings could be accompanied by a corresponding decrease in demand for financial guarantee insurance. Increased interest rates may decrease attractiveness for issuers to enter into capital markets transactions, resulting in a corresponding decreasing demand for financial guarantee insurance in the future.

Revenues and liquidity would be adversely impacted due to a decline in realization of installment premiums

Due to the installment nature of a significant percentage of its premium income, MBIA Corp. has an embedded future revenue stream. The amount of installment premiums actually realized by MBIA Corp. could be reduced in the future due to factors such as not insuring new transactions, early termination of insurance contracts, accelerated prepayments of underlying obligations or commutation of existing financial guarantee insurance policies. Such a reduction would result in lower revenues and liquidity.

We are required to report credit derivatives at fair value, which subjects our results of operations to volatility and losses and could lead to negative shareholders’ equity for the Company or MBIA Corp. on a GAAP basis

Any event causing credit spreads on an underlying security referenced in a credit derivative we insure, or on a credit derivative referencing an MBIA Inc. security (an “MBIA credit derivative”), to either widen or tighten will affect the fair value of the credit derivative and may increase the volatility of our earnings.

As changes in fair value can be caused by factors unrelated to the performance of our business and structured finance credit portfolio, including general market conditions and perceptions of credit risk, as well as market use of credit derivatives for hedging purposes unrelated to the specific referenced credits in addition to events that affect particular credit derivative exposure, the application of fair value accounting may cause our earnings to be more volatile than would be suggested by the underlying performance of our business operations and structured finance credit portfolio. Furthermore, volatility in our asset values, loss reserves, impairments or fair value of insured credit derivatives could cause our shareholders’ equity, and/or that of MBIA Corp., to be negative on a GAAP basis in a future period, which may adversely impact investors’ perceptions of the value of the Company.

The global re-pricing of credit risk beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007 and continuing into 2009 caused unprecedented volatility and markdowns in the valuation of these credit derivatives. In addition, due to the complexity of fair value accounting and the application of the accounting guidance for derivative instruments and the accounting guidance for fair value measurement, future amendments or interpretations of derivative and fair value accounting may cause us to modify our accounting methodology in a manner which may have an adverse impact on our financial results. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Estimates” in Part II, Item 7 for additional information on the valuation of derivatives.

Current accounting standards mandate that we measure the fair value of our insurance policies of CDSs. Market prices are generally available for traded securities and market standard CDSs but are less available or accurate for highly customized CDSs. Most of the derivative contracts the Company insures are the latter as they are non-traded structured credit derivative transactions. Moreover, at the present time, we do not have access to the fair value estimates of the insurance beneficiaries and there can be no assurance that those counterparties’ (or any other market participant’s) estimates would be the same as our fair values.

Since the fourth quarter of 2007, we have observed a widening of market spreads and credit ratings downgrades of collateral underlying certain CDO tranches we insure. The mark-to-market for the insured credit derivative portfolio has fluctuated significantly over the last eight quarters, resulting in volatility in MBIA’s earnings, moving from losses of $3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2008, to gains of $3.3 billion and $105 million in the second and third quarters of 2008, respectively, followed by a loss of $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008. In the first and second quarters of 2009, there were gains of $1.6 billion and $424 million, respectively, followed by a loss of $810 million in the third quarter and a gain of $428 in the fourth quarter. The volatility was primarily a result of changes in credit spreads, collateral erosion, rating migration, model and input enhancements and fluctuations in MBIA’s spreads and recovery rates.

 

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Strategic Plan Related Risk Factors

Transformation-related litigation has had an adverse effect on our business prospects, and an unfavorable resolution of the litigation could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition

We are a defendant in several actions in which the plaintiffs seek to unwind Transformation or otherwise declare National responsible for the insured obligations of MBIA Corp. Our success in defending Transformation is an integral part of our strategic plan. In particular, we hope to achieve a high rating for National as quickly as possible in order to take advantage of immediate opportunities in the public finance market. Transformation-related litigation has created uncertainty around the legal separation of the liabilities of National and MBIA Corp., which has in turn hindered our ability to raise capital and achieve the desired ratings and adversely impacted the prospect of writing new business. The Company is vigorously defending Transformation in the subject litigations and expects ultimately to prevail on the merits. However, the Company cannot provide assurance that it will prevail in this litigation and the failure by the Company ultimately to prevail in this litigation could have a material adverse effect on its ability to implement its strategy and on its business, results of operations or financial condition.

An inability to achieve high stable insurer financial strength ratings for National or any of our other insurance companies from the major rating agencies may adversely affect our results of operations and business prospects

National’s and our other insurance companies’ ability to write new business and to compete with other financial guarantors is currently largely dependent on the financial strength ratings assigned to them by the major rating agencies and the financial enhancement rating also assigned by S&P. As a result of downgrades of our insurance companies’ financial strength ratings, we are currently unable to originate new financial guarantee business. Many requirements imposed by the rating agencies in order for our insurance companies to achieve and maintain their insurer financial strength ratings are outside of our control, and such requirements may necessitate that we raise additional capital or take other remedial actions in a relatively short timeframe in order to achieve or maintain the ratings necessary to attract new business and compete with other financial guarantee insurers and could make the conduct of the business uneconomical. We are unlikely to comply with the rating agencies requirements until we have resolved the Transformation litigation. Furthermore, no assurance can be given that at that time, we will successfully comply with these requirements, that these requirements or the related models and methodologies will not change or that, even if we comply with these requirements, one or more of such rating agencies will not lower or withdraw its financial strength ratings with respect to any of our insurance companies. Our insurance companies’ ability to attract new business and its results of operations may be materially adversely affected by the failure to achieve higher ratings.

An inability of our insurance companies to raise capital or comply with risk limits in the future may limit their ability to write business and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and business prospects

Our insurance companies’ ability to write new financial guarantee business will depend on their financial strength and investors’ perceptions for their financial strength. To capitalize our insurance companies to a level required to achieve high stable ratings in the future may require that we raise additional capital. Our inability to raise capital on favorable terms could therefore materially adversely affect the business prospects of our insurance companies. In addition, it would have an adverse impact on their ability to pay losses, dividends and debt obligations.

Our inability to come into compliance with regulatory, single and aggregate risk limits that National and MBIA Corp. exceeded as a result of Transformation may also prevent us from writing future new business in the categories of risks that were exceeded and may adversely affect our business prospects, and our failure to come into compliance with these rules increases the risk of experiencing a large single loss or series of losses.

Downgrades of the ratings of securities that we insure may materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition

Individual credits in our insured portfolio (including potential new credits) are assessed a rating agency “capital charge” based on a variety of factors, including the nature of the credits’ risk types, underlying ratings, tenor and

 

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expected and actual performance. In the event of an actual or perceived deterioration in creditworthiness, a reduction in the underlying rating or a change in the rating agency capital methodology, we may be required to hold more capital in reserve against credits in the insured portfolio, regardless of whether losses actually occur, or against potential new business. Significant reductions in underlying ratings of credits in an insured portfolio can produce significant increases in assessed “capital charges.” There can be no assurance that each of our insurance company’s capital position will be adequate to meet any increased rating agency reserve requirements or that each insurance company will be able to secure additional capital necessary to support increased reserve requirements, especially at a time of actual or perceived deterioration in creditworthiness of new or existing credits. Unless we were able to increase available capital, an increase in capital charges could reduce the amount of capital available to support our ratings and could have an adverse effect on our ability to write new business.

In 2008 and 2009 Moody’s and S&P announced the downgrade of, or other negative ratings actions with respect to, certain transactions that we insure, as well as a large number of structured finance transactions that serve as collateral in structured finance transactions that we insure. There can be no assurance that additional securities in our insured portfolio will not be reviewed and downgraded in the future. Moreover, we do not know if, and when, the rating agencies might review additional securities in our insured portfolio or review again securities that have already been reviewed and/or downgraded. Downgrades of credits that we insure will result in higher capital charges to that insurance company under the relevant rating agency model or models, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition going forward.

Changes in rating scales applied to municipal bonds may reduce demand for financial guarantee insurance

Previously, both Fitch and Moody’s announced initiatives to establish “corporate equivalent ratings” for municipal issuers. Subsequently they each announced that they are postponing their plans to shift to a global ratings scale, but may elect to do so in the future. Implementation of corporate equivalent ratings would be expected to result in ratings being raised for many municipal issuers, which, in turn, might result in reduced demand for financial guarantee insurance.

Demand for financial guarantee insurance has declined as investors’ confidence in financial guarantors’ financial strength and marketability has declined

The perceived financial strength of all financial guarantee insurers also affects demand for financial guarantee insurance. In 2008 and 2009 all financial guarantee insurers’ insurer financial strength ratings were downgraded, placed on review for a possible downgrade or had their outlooks changed to “negative.” The demand for insurance from lower-rated carriers is lower than that for those with the highest ratings; and the industry-wide downgrades may have eroded investors’ confidence in the benefits of bond insurance. We do not expect the demand for financial guarantee insurance to regain its former levels in the near term, if ever.

Future competition may have an adverse effect on our businesses

The businesses in which we expect our insurance companies to participate may be highly competitive. They may face competition from other financial guarantee insurance companies and other forms of credit enhancement, including senior-subordinated structures, credit derivatives, letters of credit and guarantees (for example, mortgage guarantees where pools of mortgages secure debt service payments) provided by banks and other financial institutions. In addition, alternative financing structures may be developed that do not employ third-party credit enhancement. Furthermore, while one financial guarantee insurance company wrote the vast majority of U.S. public finance new business in 2009, additional industry participants may emerge. Increased competition, either in terms of price, alternative structures, or the emergence of new providers of credit enhancement, could have an adverse effect on our insurance companies’ business prospects. The uncertainty created by market conditions and the related unpredictable actions of the regulators in the U.S. and foreign markets we serve may create unforeseen competitive advantages for our competitors due to, among other things, explicit or implied support from the government.

Cutwater faces competition from banks, insurance companies and independent companies who provide investment advisory services, as well as with companies who manage their investments in-house. Competition varies by product and typically can range from very large asset management firms to very small operations.

 

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Cutwater’s ability to compete for new advisory services business and to retain existing accounts is largely dependent on its investment performance for a specific client or in general (typically versus established benchmark indices), the consistency of performance through market cycles, fee levels charged and the level of client service provided. A decline in our competitive position as to one or more of these factors could adversely affect our assets under management and profitability. In addition, the association of our advisory asset management business with the news and financial results of our financial guarantee business, though unrelated to the financial position of the advisory segment, could have an adverse impact on our ability to retain and attract advisory clients, which could have an adverse effect on our financial results.

Future demand for financial guarantee insurance depends on market and other factors that we do not control

The demand for financial guarantee insurance depends upon many factors, some of which are beyond the control of the Company. Our ability to attract and compete for financial guarantee business is largely dependent on the financial strength ratings assigned to our insurance companies by the major rating agencies. During 2009, most monoline financial guarantee insurers were downgraded by one or more of the major rating agencies, and the one remaining significant triple-A monoline financial guarantee insurer was downgraded to double A by Moody’s and Fitch.

We believe that issuers and investors will distinguish among financial guarantors on the basis of various factors, including rating agency assessment, capitalization, size, insured portfolio concentration and financial performance. These distinctions may result in differentials in trading levels for securities insured by particular financial guarantors which, in turn, may provide a competitive advantage to those financial guarantors with better trading characteristics. In addition, various investors may, due to regulatory or internal guidelines, lack additional capacity to purchase securities insured by certain financial guarantors, which may provide a competitive advantage to guarantors with fewer insured obligations outstanding. Differentials in trading values or investor capacity constraints that do not favor us would have an adverse effect on our ability to attract new business at appropriate pricing levels, and we have experienced a cessation in new financial guarantee business which is attributable to rating agency actions and their impact on investor perception.

Additionally, in the face of the disruption in the credit markets and the 2008 and 2009 ratings actions of Fitch, Moody’s and S&P concerning financial guarantee insurers generally and us in particular, the price of our common stock has experienced a significant decline and there has been a widening of spreads on our CDS. This widening of spreads on our CDS could impact the perception of our financial condition by our insured bondholders and counterparties and could affect their willingness to purchase our insured bonds and to enter into transactions with us.

Changes to accounting rules may adversely impact reported financial results irrespective of business operations

Accounting standards and regulatory changes may require modifications to our accounting methodology, both prospectively and for prior periods; and such changes could have an adverse impact on our reported financial results and/or make it more difficult for investors to understand the economics of our business; and may thus influence the types or volume of business that we may choose to pursue.

Regulatory change could adversely affect our businesses

The financial guarantee insurance industry has historically been and will continue to be subject to the direct and indirect effects of governmental regulation, including insurance laws, securities laws, tax laws and legal precedents affecting asset-backed and municipal obligations, as well as changes in those laws. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could expose our insurance companies to fines, the loss of their insurance licenses, and the inability to engage in certain business activity.

In addition, future legislative, regulatory or judicial changes could adversely affect our insurance companies’ ability to pursue business, materially impacting our financial results. The NYSID has issued best practices regarding the laws and regulations that are applicable to our insurance companies and to other monoline financial guarantee

 

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insurance companies and has indicated that it expects to propose legislative and regulatory changes to codify these best practices. Furthermore on June 11, 2009, a new bill was introduced into the New York General Assembly at the request of New York’s governor to amend the New York Insurance Law to enhance the regulation of financial guarantee insurers which would impose limits on the manner and amount of business written by the Company. See “Business—Our Insurance Operations—Insurance Regulation—New York Insurance Regulation” In Part I, Item 1. In addition, members of the U.S. Congress and federal regulatory bodies have suggested federal oversight and regulation of insurance, including bond insurance. While it is not possible to predict if any new laws, regulations or interpretations will be enacted or the impact they would have, any changes to such laws and regulations or the Department’s interpretation thereof could subject MBIA to further restrictions on the type of business that it is authorized to insure, especially in the structured finance area. Any such restrictions could have a material effect on the amount of premiums that MBIA earns in the future. Additionally, any changes to such laws and regulations could subject our insurance companies to increase reserving and capital requirements or more stringent regulation generally, which could materially adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and future business.

Moreover, the downturn in the financial markets and resulting market-wide losses have caused various federal and state legislative and regulatory bodies to consider various changes to existing securities laws and the legal framework governing the financial industry. Any regulatory changes may affect the securities we insure, and may have the affect of diminishing or eliminating the market for those securities. In addition new or proposed legislation could result in federal money being used to capitalize a competitor, federal money being provided to the states which could adversely impact the demand for insured bonds, and assistance to mortgage borrowers and/or so called “mortgage cram-down” provisions which could affect the Company’s ability to realize on the collateral underlying its mortgage-backed transactions. We cannot predict what form regulatory changes or governmental support will take or how they will affect the Company.

General Risk Factors

Regulatory proceedings or private litigation claims could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition

The Company has received subpoenas or informal inquiries from a variety of regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the Securities Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other states’ regulatory authorities, regarding a variety of subjects, including disclosures made by the Company to underwriters and issuers of certain bonds, disclosures regarding the Company’s structured finance exposure, the Company’s communications with rating agencies, and the methodologies used by rating agencies for determining the credit rating of municipal debt and communications regarding the Company’s soft capital facility. The Company is cooperating fully with each of these regulators and is in the process of satisfying all such requests. We may receive additional subpoenas and other information requests from the SEC or other regulatory agencies regarding similar issues. Although no regulatory action has been initiated against us in connection with the matters described above, it is possible that one or more regulatory agencies may pursue action against us with respect to these or other similar matters. If such an action is brought, it could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

As further set forth in “Legal Proceedings” in Part I, Item 3, the Company is named as a defendant in a number of litigations. These include several private securities class actions where the Company is named along with certain of its current and former officers. These cases have been consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A shareholder derivative lawsuit against certain of the Company’s present and former officers and directors, and against the Company, as nominal defendant was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and a similar shareholder derivative lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester.

In addition, a number of California municipalities filed complaints against MBIA and other bond insurers in 2008 in two separate classes of proceedings which have subsequently been consolidated and amended. The first complaint alleged (i) participation in a conspiracy in violation of California’s antitrust laws to maintain a dual credit rating scale that misstated the credit default risk of municipal bond issuers and created market demand for municipal bond insurance, (ii) participation in risky financial transactions in other lines of business that damaged

 

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each bond insurer’s financial condition (thereby undermining the value of each of their guaranties), and a failure adequately to disclose the impact of those transactions on their financial condition. These latter allegations form the predicate for five separate causes of action against each of the defendant insurance companies: breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation. The second series of complaints alleged fraud and violations of California’s antitrust laws through bid-rigging in the sale of municipal derivatives to municipal bond issuers.

Although the Company intends to vigorously defend against the aforementioned actions and against other potential actions, an adverse ultimate outcome in these actions could result in a loss and have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations or financial condition.

Adverse results from investment management services activities due to declining asset values, credit impairments and poor performance of assets managed could adversely affect our financial position and results of operation

Our Investment Management Services businesses (primarily the wind-down businesses) have grown in importance to our overall financial results. Events that negatively affect the performance of the Investment Management Services businesses could have a negative effect on the overall performance of the Company, separate and distinct from the performance of the Company’s financial guarantee business. In 2009 adverse results related to the wind-down businesses primarily included realized losses from credit impairments and negative spread between earnings on assets and the interest cost of liabilities. Investment Management Services’ results may also be adversely impacted by declining asset values, which could diminish the value of the assets owned in the wind-down businesses or decrease the fees that Cutwater collects for advisory services based on the market value of assets under management, and other circumstances that could decrease Cutwater’s advisory assets under management, such as the termination of its investment advisory contracts with its customers due to poor investment performance or otherwise.

Ownership Change under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code can have adverse tax consequences

In connection with our February, 2008 equity offering as well as purchases of the Company’s shares by Warburg Pincus and other transactions in our shares from time to time, we may experience an “ownership change” within the meaning of Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. In general terms, an ownership change may result from transactions increasing the aggregate ownership of certain stockholders in our stock by more than 50 percentage points over a testing period (generally three years). As of January 1, 2010, the increase in the aggregate ownership of certain stockholders of MBIA over the relevant testing period was over 43%. If an ownership change were to occur, our ability to use certain tax attributes, including certain losses, credits, deductions or tax basis, may be limited. We cannot give any assurance that we will not undergo an ownership change at a time when these limitations would have a significant impact on the Company’s tax benefits.

Any impairment in the Company’s future taxable income can materially affect the recoverability of our deferred tax assets

The basis for evaluating the recoverability of a deferred tax asset is the existence of future taxable income of appropriate character. To the extent that the Company’s ability to recognize future taxable income from its existing insurance portfolio through scheduled premium earnings and net investment income becomes impaired, the recoverability of certain deferred tax assets may be materially affected by a corresponding increase to its valuation allowance.

A different view of the Internal Revenue Service from our current tax treatment of realized losses relating to insured CDS contracts can adversely affect our financial position

As part of the Company’s financial guarantee business, we have insured credit derivatives contracts that were entered into by LaCrosse Financial Products, LLC with various financial institutions. We treat these insured derivative contracts as insurance contracts for statutory accounting purposes, which is the basis for computing U.S. federal taxable income. As such, the realized losses in connection with an insured event are considered loss reserve activities for tax purposes. Because the federal income tax treatment of CDS contracts is an unsettled

 

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area of tax law, in the event that the Internal Revenue Service has a different view with respect to the tax treatment, our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

Servicer risk could adversely impact performance of Structured Finance transactions

Structured finance obligations contain certain risks including servicer risk, which relates to problems with the transaction servicer (the entity which is responsible for collecting the cash flow from the asset pool) that could affect the servicing and performance of the underlying assets. Structural risks primarily involve bankruptcy risks, such as whether the servicer of the assets may be required to delay the remittance of any cash collections held by it or received by it after the time it becomes subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings. Structured finance transactions are usually structured to reduce the risk to the investors from the bankruptcy or insolvency of the servicer. The ability of the servicer to properly service and collect on the underlying assets is a factor in determining future asset performance. Certain of the lawsuits we have filed allege that the servicer has failed to perform its duties as contractually required. While we assess future servicer performance through our servicer due diligence and underwriting guidelines, our formal credit review and approval process and our post-closing servicing review and monitoring, there is no assurance that the servicer will properly affect its duties.

The Company is dependent on key executives and the loss of any of these executives, or its inability to retain other key personnel, could adversely affect its business

The Company’s success substantially depends upon its ability to attract and retain qualified employees and upon the ability of its senior management and other key employees to implement its business strategy. The Company believes there are only a limited number of available qualified executives in the business lines in which the Company competes. Although the Company is not aware of any planned departures, the Company relies substantially upon the services of Joseph W. Brown, Chief Executive Officer, and other executives. There is no assurance that the Company will be able to retain the services of key executives. The loss of the services of any of these individuals or other key members of the Company’s management team could adversely affect the implementation of its business strategy.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

A wholly-owned subsidiary of National owns the 280,729 square foot office building on approximately 38 acres of property in Armonk, New York, in which the Company, National, MBIA Corp. and Cutwater Asset Management have their headquarters. The Company also has offices with approximately 38,246 square feet of rental space in New York, New York; San Francisco, California; Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Sydney, Australia; London, England; and Mexico City, Mexico. Cutwater Asset Management has 7,607 square feet of office space in Denver, Colorado. The Company generally believes that these facilities are adequate and suitable for its current needs.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

In the normal course of operating its businesses, MBIA Inc. (“MBIA” or the “Company”) may be involved in various legal proceedings.

Corporate Litigation

The Company was named as a defendant, along with certain of its current and former officers, in private securities actions that were consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York as In re MBIA Inc. Securities Litigation; (Case No. 05 CV 03514(LLS); S.D.N.Y.) (filed October 3, 2005). The plaintiffs asserted claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. The lead plaintiffs purport to be acting as representatives for a class consisting of purchasers of the Company’s stock during the period from August 5, 2003 to March 30, 2005 (the “Class Period”). The lawsuit asserts, among other things, violations of the federal

 

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securities laws arising out of the Company’s allegedly false and misleading statements about its financial condition and the nature of the arrangements entered into by MBIA Corp. in connection with the AHERF loss. The plaintiffs allege that, as a result of these misleading statements or omissions, the Company’s stock traded at artificially inflated prices throughout the Class Period.

The defendants, including the Company, filed motions to dismiss this lawsuit on various grounds. On February 13, 2007, the Court granted those motions, and dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety, on the grounds that plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The Court did not reach the other grounds for dismissal argued by the Company and the other defendants. On November 12, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the Court’s dismissal on statute of limitations grounds, but remanded the case to allow the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint. The Second Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint was filed on February 18, 2009. The defendants filed their renewed motion to dismiss on April 17, 2009, and on September 24, 2009, the Court granted that motion and dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint with prejudice. On November 2, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal signaling their intent to file an appeal of the dismissal order with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Plaintiffs’ brief is due March 12, 2010.

On October 17, 2008, a consolidated amended class action complaint in a separate shareholder class action lawsuit against the Company and certain of its officers, In re MBIA Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 08-CV-264, (KMK) (the “Consolidated Class Action”) was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging violations of the federal securities laws. Lead plaintiff, the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma, seeks to represent a class of shareholders who purchased MBIA stock between July 2, 2007 and January 9, 2008. The amended complaint alleges that defendants MBIA Inc., Gary C. Dunton and C. Edward Chaplin violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Among other things, the complaint alleges that defendants issued false and misleading statements with respect to the Company’s exposure to CDOs containing RMBS, specifically its exposure to so-called “CDO-squared” securities, which allegedly caused the Company’s stock to trade at inflated prices. Defendants’ motion to dismiss is fully briefed. Oral argument has been scheduled for March 5, 2010.

On February 13, 2008, a shareholder derivative lawsuit against certain of the Company’s present and former officers and directors, and against the Company, as nominal defendant, entitled Trustees of the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit v. Clapp et al., No. 08-CV-1515, (the “Detroit Complaint”), was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The gravamen of the Detroit Complaint is similar to the aforementioned Consolidated Class Action, except that the legal claims are against the directors for breach of fiduciary duty and related claims. The Detroit Complaint purports to relate to a so-called “Relevant Time Period” from February 9, 2006, through the time of filing of the complaint. A Special Litigation Committee of two independent directors of MBIA Inc. (the “SLC”) has determined after a good faith and thorough investigation that pursuit of the allegations set out in the Detroit Complaint is not in the best interests of MBIA and its shareholders. On January 23, 2009, the SLC served a motion to dismiss the Detroit Complaint. In November 2009, District Court Judge Kenneth M. Karas referred the case to Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis for pretrial purposes.

On August 11, 2008, a shareholder derivative lawsuit entitled Crescente v. Brown et al., No. 08-17595 (the “Crescente Complaint”) was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester against certain of the Company’s present and former officers and directors, and against the Company, as nominal defendant. The gravamen of this complaint is similar to the Detroit Complaint except that the time period assertedly covered is from January, 2007, through the time of filing of this complaint. The derivative plaintiff has agreed to stay the action pending the outcome of the SLC’s motion to dismiss the Detroit Complaint.

On July 23, 2008, the City of Los Angeles filed two complaints in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, against the Company and others. The first complaint, against the Company, AMBAC Financial Group, Inc., XL Capital Assurance Inc., ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, and CIFG Assurance North America, Inc., alleged (i) participation in a conspiracy in violation of California’s antitrust laws to maintain a dual credit rating scale that misstated the credit default risk of municipal bond issuers and created market demand for municipal bond insurance and (ii) participation in risky financial transactions in other lines of business that damaged each bond insurer’s financial condition (thereby undermining the value of each of their guaranties), and a failure to adequately disclose the impact of those transactions on their financial condition.

 

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These latter allegations form the predicate for five separate causes of action against each of the Insurers: breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligence and negligent misrepresentation. Complaints making the same allegations against the Company and nearly all of the same co-defendants were filed in Superior Court, San Francisco County, by the City of Stockton, the City of Oakland, the City and County of San Francisco, the County of San Mateo, the County of Alameda, the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the City of Sacramento between July 23, 2008 and January 6, 2009. These cases are now part of a coordinated proceeding referred to as Ambac Bond Insurance Cases. On April 8, 2009, The Olympic Club filed a complaint against the Company in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco, making similar allegations of participation in risky financial transactions in other lines of business that allegedly damaged the Company’s financial condition, and of a failure to adequately disclose the impact of those transactions on the Company’s financial condition. These allegations form the predicate for the same initial five common law causes of action as those in the Ambac Bond Insurance Cases, as well as a California unfair competition cause of action. The Olympic Club does not include an antitrust or unjust enrichment cause of action. The Olympic Club case is being coordinated with the Ambac Bond Insurance Cases in San Francisco Superior Court. On August 31, 2009, the aforementioned plaintiffs, excluding the City of Sacramento and the Olympic Club, filed amended complaints identifying specific variable rate bond transactions with respect to the existing contract, fraud and negligence claims, and adding claims for unjust enrichment with respect to insured bonds issued by the plaintiffs during an unspecified period of time. A similar complaint alleging the same causes of action was filed by the City of Riverside. On the same day, the County of Contra Costa and Los Angeles World Airports filed new complaints and the City of Sacramento filed an amended complaint alleging the antitrust violation and unjust enrichment causes of action only. MBIA’s demurrers and other responsive pleadings were filed on November 13, 2009 and plaintiff’s opposition papers were filed on January 8, 2010. MBIA’s reply papers were filed on February 5, 2010. Oral argument is scheduled for March 1, 2010.

The City of Los Angeles’s second complaint named as defendants certain other financial institutions as well as bond insurers, including the Company, AMBAC Financial Group, Inc., Financial Security Assurance, Inc., Financial Guaranty Insurance Company and Security Capital Assurance Inc., and alleged fraud and violations of California’s antitrust laws through bid-rigging in the sale of municipal derivatives to municipal bond issuers. Complaints making the same allegations against the Company and nearly all of the same co-defendants were filed in Superior Court, Los Angeles County, by the County of San Diego on August 28, 2008, and in Superior Court, San Francisco County, by the City of Stockton on July 23, 2008, by the County of San Mateo on October 7, 2008, and by the County of Contra Costa on October 8, 2008. The City of Los Angeles and City of Stockton actions were removed to federal court and transferred by order dated November 26, 2008, to the Southern District of New York for inclusion in the multidistrict litigation In re Municipal Derivatives Antitrust Litigation, M.D.L. No. 1950; the San Diego County, San Mateo County, and Contra Costa County actions were removed to federal court and transferred to the Southern District of New York for inclusion in that proceeding by order dated February 4, 2009. All five plaintiffs filed amended complaints on September 15, 2009 alleging violations of both federal and California state antitrust laws. On December 10, 2009, four additional complaints were filed against MBIA and the other defendants by the Los Angeles World Airports, the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Stockton and the Public Financing Authority of the City of Stockton (filed jointly), the County of Tulare and the Sacramento Suburban Water District. On February 8, 2010, MBIA and the other defendants filed their motions to dismiss.

The Company has received subpoenas or informal inquiries from a variety of regulators, including the SEC, the Securities Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Attorney General of the State of California, and other states’ regulatory authorities, regarding a variety of subjects, including soft capital instruments, disclosures made by the Company to underwriters and issuers of certain bonds, disclosures regarding the Company’s structured finance exposure, trading and valuation of managed collateral, the Company’s communications with rating agencies, and the methodologies used by rating agencies for determining the credit rating of municipal debt. The Company is cooperating fully with each of these regulators and is in the process of satisfying all such requests. The Company may receive additional inquiries from these or other regulators and expects to provide additional information to such regulators regarding their inquiries in the future.

 

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Recovery Litigation

On September 30, 2008, MBIA Corp. commenced an action in New York State Supreme Court, New York County, against Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Securities Corp. and Countrywide Financial Corp. (collectively, “Countrywide”). The complaint alleged that Countrywide fraudulently induced MBIA to provide financial guarantee insurance on securitizations of home equity lines of credit and closed end second liens by misrepresenting the true risk profile of the underlying collateral and Countrywide’s adherence to its strict underwriting standards and guidelines. The complaint also alleged that Countrywide breached its representations and warranties and its contractual obligations, including its obligation to cure or repurchase ineligible loans as well as its obligation to service the loans in accordance with industry standards. In an order dated July 8, 2009, the New York State Supreme Court denied Countrywide’s motion to dismiss in part, allowing the fraud cause of action to proceed against all three Countrywide defendants and the contract causes of action to proceed against Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. All parties have filed Notices of Appeal and defendants filed their answer to the complaint on August 3, 2009. On August 24, 2009, MBIA Corp. filed an amended complaint, adding Bank of America as a defendant, identifying an additional five securitizations and supplementing the facts in support of our re-asserted negligent misrepresentation claim to address the points made by Justice Ellen Bransten in her decision granting the motion to dismiss that claim. On October 9, 2009, defendants filed a renewed motion to dismiss, which was fully briefed and argued on December 9, 2009. The court has yet to issue a formal ruling. Justice Bransten granted MBIA’s motion to compel discovery from Bank of America.

On July 10, 2009, MBIA Corp. commenced an action in Los Angeles Superior Court against Bank of America Corporation, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc, Countrywide Securities Corporation, Angelo Mozilo, David Sambol, Eric Sieracki, Ranjit Kripalani, Jennifer Sandefur, Stanford Kurland, Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., UBS Securities, LLC, and various Countrywide-affiliated Trusts. The complaint alleges that Countrywide made numerous misrepresentations and omissions of material fact in connection with its sale of certain residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”), including that the underlying collateral consisting of mortgage loans had been originated in strict compliance with its underwriting standards and guidelines. MBIA commenced this action as subrogee of the purchasers of the RMBS, who incurred severe losses that have been passed on to MBIA as the insurer of the income streams on these securities. On November 3, 2009, MBIA Corp. filed an amended complaint. On December 4, 2009, the defendants filed demurrers, motions to stay the proceeding, and motions to strike MBIA’s jury trial demand. On January 29, MBIA filed its opposition papers to the defendants’ demurrer and related motions. On January 20, 2010, Judge Elias, who is presiding over the Luther v. Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP et al. case, issued a ruling that both MBIA’s state court action against Bank of America et al. and the New Mexico Investment Counsel v. Kurland case are related to Luther. Judge Elias designated Luther as the lead case and assigned all three cases to herself.

On October 15, 2008, MBIA Corp. commenced an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Residential Funding Company, LLC (“RFC”). On December 5, 2008, a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice was filed in the Southern District of New York and the complaint was re-filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County. The complaint alleges that RFC fraudulently induced MBIA Corp. to provide financial guarantee policies with respect to five RFC closed-end home equity second-lien and HELOC securitizations, and that RFC breached its contractual representations and warranties, as well as its obligation to repurchase ineligible loans, among other claims. On December 23, 2009, Justice Fried denied RFC’s motion to dismiss MBIA’s complaint with respect to MBIA’s fraud claims.

On December 14, 2009, MBIA Corp. commenced an action in New York State Supreme Court, New York County, against Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc., and Select Portfolio Servicing Inc (“Credit Suisse”). The complaint seeks damages for fraud and breach of contractual obligations in connection with the procurement of financial guarantee insurance on the Home Equity Mortgage Trust Series 2007-2 securitization. The complaint alleges, among other claims, that Credit Suisse falsely represented (i) the attributes of the securitized loans; (ii) that the loans complied with the governing underwriting guidelines; and (iii) that Credit Suisse had conducted extensive due diligence on the securitized loans to ensure compliance with the underwriting guidelines. The complaint further alleges that the defendants breached their contractual obligations to cure or repurchase loans found to be in breach of the representations and warranties applicable thereto and

 

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denied MBIA the requisite access to all records and documents regarding the securitized loans. Defendants’ filed their motion to dismiss on February 5, 2010.

In its determination of expected ultimate insurance losses on financial guarantee contracts, the Company has considered the probability of potential recoveries arising out of the contractual obligation by the sellers/servicers to repurchase or replace ineligible mortgage loans in certain second-lien mortgage securitizations, which include potential recoveries that may be affected by the legal actions against Countrywide , RFC and Credit Suisse. However, there can be no assurance that the Company will prevail in either the Countrywide, RFC or Credit Suisse actions.

On April 30, 2009, MBIA Corp. and LaCrosse Financial Products commenced an action in the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith, Inc. and Merrill Lynch International. The complaint (amended on May 15, 2009) seeks damages in an as yet indeterminate amount believed to be in excess of several hundred million dollars arising from alleged misrepresentations and breaches of contract in connection with eleven credit default swaps (“CDS”) contracts pursuant to which MBIA wrote protection in favor of Merrill and other parties on a total of $5.7 billion in collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) arranged and marketed by Merrill. The complaint also seeks rescission of the CDS contracts. Oral argument on Merrill’s motion to dismiss was held on November 17, 2009. Justice Fried has ordered that discovery move forward pending a ruling on the motion to dismiss.

On January 21, 2010, MBIA Corp. and LaCrosse Financial Products commenced an action in New York State Supreme Court, Westchester County, against Royal Bank of Canada and RBC Capital Markets Corporation (“RBC”) relating to three CDS and related insurance policies referencing Logan CDO I, Ltd., Logan CDO II, Ltd. and Logan CDO III, Ltd. (the “Logan CDOs”). The complaint alleges RBC fraudulently or negligently induced MBIA to insure the Logan CDOs, claims for breach of contract and promissory estoppel, and challenges RBC’s failure to issue credit event and related notifications in accordance with contractual obligations for the Logan CDOs.

On October 14, 2008, June 17, 2009 and August 25, 2009, MBIA Corp. submitted proofs of claim to the FDIC with respect to the resolution of IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. for both pre- and post-receivership amounts owed to MBIA as a result of IndyMac’s contractual breaches and fraud in connection with financial guarantee insurance issued by MBIA on securitizations of home equity lines of credit. The proofs of claim were subsequently denied by the FDIC. MBIA has appealed the FDIC’s denial of its proofs of claim via a complaint, filed on May 29, 2009, against IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. and the FDIC, as receiver, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and alleges that IndyMac fraudulently induced MBIA to provide financial guarantee insurance on securitizations of home equity lines of credit by breaching contractual representations and warranties as well as negligently and fraudulently misrepresenting the nature of the loans in the securitization pools and IndyMac’s adherence to its strict underwriting standards and guidelines. The FDIC moved to dismiss MBIA’s non-contract based claims on September 2, 2009. On October 9, 2009, MBIA filed its response brief. The FDIC’s response is due November 9, 2009. On January 5, 2010, the court signed a Stipulation between MBIA and the FDIC whereby the FDIC agreed to withdraw its pending motion to dismiss without prejudice and MBIA may file an amended complaint. On February 8, 2010, MBIA filed its amended complaint against the FDIC both in its corporate capacity and as conservator/receiver of IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. for breach of its contractual obligations as servicer and seller for the IndyMac transactions at issue and for unlawful disposition of IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B.’s assets in connection with the FDIC’s resolution of IndyMac Bank, F.S.B.

On September 22, 2009, MBIA Corp. commenced an action in Los Angeles Superior Court against IndyMac ABS, Inc., Home Equity Mortgage Loan Asset-Backed Trust, Series 2006-H4, Home Equity Mortgage Loans Asset-Backed Trust, Series INDS 2007-I, Home Equity Mortgage Loan Asset-Backed Trust, Series INDS 2007-2, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), L.L.C., UBS Securities, LLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Michael Perry, Scott Keys, Jill Jacobson, and Kevin Callan. The Complaint alleges that IndyMac Bank made numerous misrepresentations and omissions of material fact in connection with its sale of certain RMBS, including that the underlying collateral consisting of mortgage loans had been originated in strict compliance with its underwriting standards and guidelines. MBIA commenced this action as subrogee of the purchasers of the RMBS, who incurred severe losses that have been passed on to MBIA as the insurer of the income streams on these securities. On October 19, 2009, MBIA dismissed IndyMac ABS, Inc. from the action without prejudice. On October 23, 2009,

 

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Item 3. Legal Proceedings (continued)

 

defendants removed the case to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. On November 30, 2009, the IndyMac trusts were consensually dismissed from the litigation. On December 23, 2009, federal District Court Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California granted MBIA’s motion to remand the case to Los Angeles Superior Court. On February 18, 2010, the case was assigned to Judge Jane Johnson.

On February 2, 2010, MBIA Corp. and LaCrosse Financial Products, LLC brought an action in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, in London, relating to an MBIA Corp.-insured credit derivative transaction seeking an adjudication that the agreement was effectively and properly terminated by MBIA Corp. Royal Bank of Scotland is challenging the termination and its response to the claim is due on March 4, 2010.

On December 9, 2009, MBIA Corp. and LaCrosse Financial Products commenced an action in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen Boerenleenbank B.A. (“Rabobank”), The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., as Trustee (“Bank of New York Mellon”), and Paragon CDO Ltd. MBIA, as controlling class under the relevant Indenture, commenced the action seeking declaratory relief and damages for breach of contract and negligence relating to the improper sale of certain reference obligations in the Paragon CDO portfolio pool. On January 15, 2010, Rabobank and The Bank of New York Mellon filed their answers. On February 16, 2010, Paragon CDO Ltd. was dismissed from the case with prejudice.

Transformation Litigation

On March 11, 2009, a complaint was filed in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York against the Company and its subsidiaries, MBIA Corp. and National, entitled Aurelius Capital Master, Ltd. et al. v. MBIA Inc. et al., 09-cv-2242 (S.D.N.Y.). The lead plaintiffs, Aurelius Capital Master, Ltd., Aurelius Capital Partners, LP, Fir Tree Value Master Fund, L.P., Fir Tree Capital Opportunity Master Fund, L.P., and Fir Tree Mortgage Opportunity Master Fund, L.P., purport to be acting as representatives for a class consisting of all holders of securities, instruments, or other obligations for which MBIA Corp., before February 18, 2009, issued financial guarantee insurance other than United States municipal/governmental bond securities. The complaint alleges that certain of the terms of the transactions entered into by the Company and its subsidiaries, which were approved by the New York State Department of Insurance, constituted fraudulent conveyances under §§ 273, 274 and 276 of New York Debtor and Creditor Law and a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under New York common law. The Complaint seeks, inter alia, (a) a declaration that the alleged fraudulent conveyances are null and void and set aside, (b) a declaration that National is responsible for the insurance polices issued by MBIA Insurance Corporation up to February 17, 2009, and (c) an award of damages in an unspecified amount together with costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees in connection with the action. Defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint is fully briefed. Oral argument was scheduled for November 17, 2009. On February 11, 2010, Judge Sullivan entered an order denying MBIA’s motion to dismiss.

On April 6, 2009, a complaint was filed in the Court of Chancery for the State of Delaware entitled Third Avenue Trust and Third Avenue Variable Series Trust v. MBIA Insurance Corp. and MBIA Insurance Corp. of Illinois, CA 4486-UCL. Plaintiffs allege that they are holders of approximately $400 million of surplus notes issued by MBIA Corp. (for purposes of this section, the “Notes”) in January 2008. The complaint alleges (Count I) that certain of the Transactions breached the terms of the Notes and the Fiscal Agency Agreement dated January 16, 2008 pursuant to which the Notes were issued. The complaint also alleges that certain transfers under the Transactions were fraudulent in that they allegedly left MBIA Corp. with “unreasonably small capital” (Count II), “insolvent” (Count III), and were made with an “actual intent to defraud” (Count IV). The complaint seeks a judgment (a) ordering the defendants to unwind the Transactions (b) declaring that the Transactions constituted a fraudulent conveyance, and (c) damages in an unspecified amount. On October 28, 2009, Vice Chancellor Strine entered an order dismissing the case without prejudice. On December 21, 2009, plaintiffs re-commenced the action in New York State Supreme Court, and it has been assigned to Justice James A. Yates.

On May 13, 2009, a complaint was filed in the New York State Supreme Court against the Company and its subsidiaries, MBIA Corp. and National, entitled ABN AMRO Bank N.V. et al. v. MBIA Inc. et al. The plaintiffs, a group of 19 domestic and international financial institutions, purport to be acting as holders of insurance policies issued by MBIA Corp. directly or indirectly guaranteeing the repayment of structured finance products. The complaint alleges that certain of the terms of the transactions entered into by the Company and its subsidiaries,

 

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Item 3. Legal Proceedings (continued)

 

which were approved by the New York State Department of Insurance, constituted fraudulent conveyances and a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under New York law. The complaint seeks a judgment (a) ordering the defendants to unwind the Transactions, (b) declaring that the Transactions constituted a fraudulent conveyance, (c) declaring that MBIA Inc. and National are jointly and severally liable for the insurance policies issued by MBIA Corp., and (d) ordering damages in an unspecified amount. On February 17, 2010, Justice Yates denied defendants’ motion to dismiss. On February 25, 2010, the Company filed its Notice of Appeal of the denial to the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court.

On June 15, 2009, the same group of 19 domestic and international financial institutions who filed the above described plenary action in New York State Supreme Court filed a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of New York’s Civil Practice Law & Rules in New York State Supreme Court, entitled ABN AMRO Bank N.V. et al. v. Eric Dinallo, in his capacity as Superintendent of the New York Insurance Department, the New York State Insurance Department, MBIA Inc. et al. In its motions to dismiss the three above-referenced plenary actions, the Company argued that an Article 78 proceeding is the exclusive forum in which a plaintiff may raise any challenge to the Transformation approved by the Superintendent of the Department of Insurance. The petition seeks a judgment (a) declaring void and to annul the approval letter of the Superintendent of the Department of Insurance, (b) to recover dividends paid in connection with the Transactions, (c) declaring that the approval letter does not extinguish plaintiffs’ direct claims against MBIA Inc. and its subsidiaries in the plenary action described above. MBIA and the New York State Insurance Department filed their answering papers to the Article 78 Petition on November 24, 2009 and argued that based on the record and facts, approval of Transformation and its constituent transactions was neither arbitrary nor capricious nor in violation of New York Insurance Law. Limited discovery is proceeding.

The Company is defending against the aforementioned actions in which it is a defendant and expects ultimately to prevail on the merits. There is no assurance, however, that the Company will prevail in these actions. Adverse rulings in these actions could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s ability to implement its strategy and on its business, results of operations and financial condition.

There are no other material lawsuits pending or, to the knowledge of the Company, threatened, to which the Company or any of its subsidiaries is a party.

Item 4. Reserved

 

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Part II

 

Item 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The Company’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “MBI.” As of February 25, 2010 there were 956 shareholders of record of the Company’s common stock. The information concerning dividends on the Company’s common stock is under “Item 1. Business—Insurance Regulation” in this annual report.

The high and low stock prices with respect to the Company’s common stock for the last two years are presented below:

 

     2009    2008
     Stock Price    Stock Price

Quarter Ended

   High    Low    High    Low

March 31

   $ 5.61    $ 2.29    $ 18.98    $ 8.55

June 30

     7.21      4.22      14.29      4.17

September 30

     8.24      3.65      16.61      3.90

December 31

     6.94      3.25      11.92      3.79

On January 9, 2008, the Company announced that its Board of Directors authorized a revised shareholder dividend policy, pursuant to the Company’s capital strengthening plan, which was expected to reduce quarterly shareholder dividends from $.34 per share to $.13 per share. On February 25, 2008, the Company announced that its Board of Directors authorized the elimination of quarterly shareholder dividends to further strengthen the Company’s resources and to increase its operating flexibility.

On January 30, 2008, the Company issued 16.1 million shares of MBIA common stock to Warburg Pincus at $31 per share per an investment agreement, subsequently amended on February 6, 2008, with Warburg Pincus. In addition, under the agreement with Warburg Pincus, the Company granted Warburg Pincus warrants to purchase 8.7 million shares of MBIA common stock at an exercise price of $40 per share and “B” warrants, which, upon obtaining certain approvals, will become exercisable to purchase 7.4 million shares of common stock at a price of $40 per share.

On February 13, 2008, the Company completed a public offering of 94.65 million shares of MBIA common stock at $12.15 per share. Warburg Pincus informed the Company that it purchased $300 million in common stock as part of the offering. The Company did not use the $750 million Warburg Pincus backstop. In addition, Warburg Pincus did not exercise its right to purchase up to $300 million in preferred stock. Pursuant to the amended agreement with Warburg Pincus, Warburg Pincus was granted 4 million of “B2” warrants at a price of $16.20 per share. In addition, under anti-dilution provisions in the agreement with Warburg Pincus, the terms of the warrants issued to Warburg Pincus on January 30, 2008 were amended, which resulted in (a) the 8.7 million of warrants exercisable at $40 per share were revised to 11.5 million warrants exercisable at $30.25 per share and (b) the 7.4 million of “B” warrants exercisable at $40 per share were revised to 9.8 million “B” warrants exercisable at $30.25 per share. See Note 24, “Common and Preferred Stock” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA Inc. and Subsidiaries in Part II, Item 8 for additional information on the agreement with Warburg Pincus and the common stock offering.

On February 1, 2007, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of common stock up to $1 billion under a new share repurchase program, which superseded the previously authorized program. However, due to the Company’s decision in the third quarter of 2007 to suspend share repurchases under the program in light of concerns and uncertainties regarding the housing markets, the structured finance sector and the U.S. economy, no shares were repurchased during the first six months of 2008.

 

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Item 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities (continued)

 

In August 2008, the Company’s Board of Directors approved the resumption of the share repurchase program. Repurchases of common stock may be made from time to time in the open market or in private transactions as permitted by securities laws and other legal requirements. We believe that share repurchases can be an appropriate deployment of capital in excess of amounts needed to support our liquidity and maintain the claims-paying ratings of MBIA Corp. and National as well as other business needs. As of December 31, 2009, the Company repurchased 45 million shares under the program at an average price of $19.75 per share and $104 million remained available under the $1 billion share buyback program.

The table below presents repurchases made by the Company in each month during the fourth quarter of 2009. See “Note 20: Long-term Incentive Plans” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements of MBIA, Inc. and Subsidiaries in Part II, Item 8 for a further discussion on long-term incentive plans.

 

Month

   Total Number of
Shares Purchased (1)
   Average Price
Paid Per Share
   Total Amount
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plan
   Maximum Amount
That May
Be Purchased Under
the Plan (in thousands)

October

   167    $ 5.48    —      $ 115,077

November

   —        —      —        115,077

December

   3,275,706      3.51    3,275,300      103,578

 

(1)—573 shares were repurchased by the Company for settling awards under the Company’s long-term incentive plans.

As of December 31, 2009, 274,826,872 shares of Common Stock of the Company, par value $1 per share, were issued and 204,667,848 shares were outstanding.

Stock Performance Graph The following graph compares the cumulative total shareholder return (rounded to the nearest whole dollar) of our common stock, the S&P 500 Stock Index (“S&P 500 Index”) and the S&P 500 Diversified Financials Index (“S&P Financials Index”) for the last five fiscal years. The graph assumes a $100 investment at the closing price on December 31, 2004 and reinvestment of dividends on the respective dividend payment dates without commissions. This graph does not forecast future performance of our common stock.

LOGO

 

     2004    2005    2006    2007    2008    2009

MBIA Inc. Common Stock

   100.00    97.75    120.04    31.49    6.88    6.86

S&P 500 Index

   100.00    105.42    121.48    128.15    80.74    103.11

S&P 500 Financials Index

   100.00    106.91    126.98    103.46    46.27    54.41

 

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Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

Dollars in millions except per share amounts

   2009     2008     2007     2006     2005  

Summary Statement of Operations Data:

          

Premiums earned

   746      850      708      744      761   

Net investment income

   655      1,551      2,200      1,807      1,394   

Net change in fair value of insured derivatives

   1,484      (2,220   (3,611   76      67   

Net gains (losses) on financial instruments at fair value and foreign exchange

   167      261      301      (5   17   

Net realized gains (losses)

   (46   (793   74      16      5   

Net investment losses related to other-than-temporary impairments

   (467   (959   (20   —        (8

Total revenues from continuing operations

   2,954      (857   (272   2,705      2,296   

Losses and LAE incurred

   864      1,318      900      81      84   

Interest expense

   475      1,172      1,587      1,184      822   

Total expenses from continuing operations

   1,737      2,871      2,793      1,572      1,279   

Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes

   1,217      (3,727   (3,066   1,133      1,017   

Income (loss) from continuing operations, net of tax

   634      (2,673   (1,922   813      713   

Net income (loss) available to common stockholders

   623      (2,673   (1,922   819      711   

Basic EPS:

          

Income (loss) from continuing operations

   2.99      (12.11   (14.93   6.03      5.26   

Net income (loss)

   2.99      (12.11   (14.93   6.08      5.24   

Diluted EPS:

          

Income (loss) from continuing operations

   2.99      (12.11   (14.93   5.95      5.20   

Net income (loss)

   2.99      (12.11   (14.93   5.99      5.18   

Summary Balance Sheet Data:

          

Fixed-maturity investments

   10,532      12,070      30,816      27,932      23,606   

Held-to-maturity investments

   2,777      3,157      5,054      5,213      5,765   

Short-term investments

   3,043      5,192      5,465      2,961      1,650   

Other investments

   255      220      731      972      1,129   

Derivative assets

   866      911      1,225      267      162   

Total assets

   25,685      29,030      46,718      39,345      34,296   

Unearned premium revenue

   4,955      3,424      3,108      3,100      3,147   

Loss and LAE reserves

   1,580      1,558      1,346      537      722   

Investment agreements

   2,726      4,667      16,108      12,483      10,806   

Commercial paper

   —        —        850      746      860   

Medium-term notes

   3,686      6,340      12,831      10,951      7,542   

Long-term debt

   2,657      2,396      1,225      1,215      1,206   

Derivative liabilities

   4,603      6,471      4,649      169      250   

Total equity

   2,607      1,022      3,656      7,204      6,592   

Book value per share

   12.66      4.78      29.16      53.43      49.17   

Dividends declared per common share

   —        —        1.36      1.24      1.12   

Insurance Statistical Data:

          

Net debt service outstanding (1)

   1,086,250      1,198,348      1,021,925      939,969      889,019   

Net par amount outstanding (1)

   712,519      786,538      678,661      617,553      585,003   

 

(1)—Net of reinsurance and other reimbursement arrangements not accounted for as reinsurance.

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

FORWARD-LOOKING AND CAUTIONARY STATEMENTS

This annual report of MBIA Inc. (“MBIA”, the “Company” or “we”) includes statements that are not historical or current facts and are “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words “believe,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “expect,” “intend,” “will likely result,” “looking forward” or “will continue,” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical earnings and those presently anticipated or projected. MBIA cautions readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only to their respective dates. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly correct or update any forward-looking statement if it later becomes aware that such result is not likely to be achieved.

The following are some of the factors that could affect financial performance or could cause actual results to differ materially from estimates contained in or underlying the Company’s forward-looking statements:

 

   

the possibility that the Company will experience severe losses or liquidity needs due to increased deterioration in its insurance portfolios and in particular, due to the performance of residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) and collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”);

 

   

the possibility that loss reserve estimates are not adequate to cover potential claims;

 

   

our ability to fully implement our strategic plan, including our ability to achieve our ratings targets for our ratings-sensitive businesses;

 

   

the resolution of regulatory inquiries or litigation claims against the Company or legal actions initiated by the Company in connection with potential insurance loss recoveries;

 

   

the inability to collect on contractual claims against mortgage sellers/servicers;

 

   

the possibility of further deterioration in the economic environment and financial markets in the United States (“U.S.”) or abroad, particularly with regard to credit spreads, interest rates and foreign currency levels, and that actions of the U.S. government, Federal Reserve and other governmental and regulatory bodies will not stimulate the economy;

 

   

the possibility that unprecedented budget shortfalls will result in credit losses or impairments on obligations of state and local governments that we insure;

 

   

exposure to large single and correlated risks;

 

   

our ability to access capital and our exposure to significant fluctuations in liquidity and asset values within the global credit markets;

 

   

changes in the Company’s credit ratings;

 

   

competitive conditions for bond insurance, including potential entry into the public finance market of insurers of municipal bonds, and changes in the demand for financial guarantee insurance;

 

   

legislative, regulatory or political developments;

 

   

technological developments;

 

   

changes in tax laws;

 

   

the effects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; and

 

   

uncertainties that have not been identified at this time.

The above factors and other factors that could affect our financial performance and business are discussed under “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this annual report on Form 10-K.

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

MBIA operates the largest financial guarantee insurance business in the industry and is a provider of asset management advisory services. These activities are managed through three business operations: U.S. public finance insurance, structured finance and international insurance, and investment advisory services. We also manage asset/liability products and conduit programs, which are in wind-down. Corporate operations include revenues and expenses that arise from general corporate activities.

MBIA’s financial guarantee business is currently operated through two subsidiaries, National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation (“National”) and MBIA Insurance Corporation and its subsidiaries (“MBIA Corp.”). In February 2009, after receiving the required regulatory approvals, MBIA established and capitalized National as a U.S. public finance-only financial guarantor. In connection with the establishment of National, MBIA Insurance Corporation paid dividends and returned capital to MBIA Inc. and entered into a reinsurance agreement and an assignment agreement with National, the latter of which was with respect to financial guarantee insurance policies that had been reinsured from Financial Guaranty Insurance Company (“FGIC”).

The establishment of National as a separate U.S. public finance-only financial guarantee insurance company was a key step in achieving our strategic plan announced in February 2008. National provides MBIA with greater resilience and financial flexibility because we expect it will enable MBIA to resume writing financial guarantee insurance in the domestic public finance sector. National’s separate capitalization and operations respond to the substantial issuer and investor demand that MBIA has observed for bond insurance to be provided by a monoline bond insurer devoted exclusively to public finance transactions in the U.S. Through National, we expect to provide lower-cost funds to public issuers and to facilitate issuance in the public finance and infrastructure markets. The establishment of National is expected to give us a platform from which to write new business in the active U.S. public finance market once pending litigation challenging National’s establishment is resolved and high stable credit ratings are achieved for the operating subsidiary. We expect that this will lead to increased profitability and additional sources of liquidity for MBIA Inc. to support its own operations or those of its other subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2009, National had $5.5 billion of claims-paying resources.

Along with our new operating structure, we created a new reporting segment for our U.S. public finance business, which enhances the transparency of our financial reporting. This transparency between our distinct business lines permits issuers, investors, and rating agencies to separately assess each of our businesses.

The transfer of capital to National did not have a material impact on our consolidated claims-paying resources, and was evaluated by us and the New York State Insurance Department (“NYSID”) prior to the NYSID’s approval of the transfer on February 17, 2009. The capitalization of National in February 2009 had the effect of reducing the claims-paying resources of MBIA Corp. from $15.0 billion to $8.8 billion, based on December 31, 2008 balances, and increasing the claims-paying resources of National to $5.5 billion. Claims-paying resources are calculated using statutory capital and reserves. In connection with the capitalization of National, National reinsured from MBIA Corp. all of MBIA Corp.’s U.S. public finance exposure thereby reducing MBIA Corp.’s net insured debt service outstanding from $1,198.3 billion to $290.3 billion (pro forma, as of December 31, 2008). As a result, National had 38% of the claims-paying resources of the combined company, and 76% of the insured debt service of the consolidated firm. The Company believes that after giving effect to the capitalization of National, MBIA Corp. continues to be able to meet its expected obligations. Additionally, in its approval letter dated February 17, 2009, the NYSID found that MBIA Corp. retained sufficient surplus to support its obligations and writings following the payment of the dividend by MBIA Corp. and that the return of capital by MBIA Corp. was reasonable and equitable to MBIA Corp. The NYSID also found that the reinsurance transaction with National was fair and equitable.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the Company relating to the above transactions, which are discussed in “Note 24: Commitments and Contingencies” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. These lawsuits have impeded our ability to achieve higher insurance financial strength ratings for our insurance companies and, therefore, our ability to write new insurance business. The Company is defending against these actions and expects to prevail on the merits. There is no assurance that the Company will prevail in this litigation, and the failure by the Company ultimately to prevail in this litigation, however, could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations or financial condition.

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW (continued)

 

Business Description

U.S. Public Finance Insurance Operations

As described above, since February 2009, our U.S. public finance insurance business has been conducted through National. The financial guarantees issued by National provide unconditional and irrevocable guarantees of the payment of the principal of, and interest or other amounts owing on, insured obligations when due or, in the event National has the right at its discretion to accelerate insured obligations upon default or otherwise, upon National’s acceleration. National’s guarantees insure municipal bonds, including tax-exempt and taxable indebtedness of U.S. political subdivisions, as well as utility districts, airports, health care institutions, higher educational facilities, student loan issuers, housing authorities and other similar agencies and obligations issued by private entities that finance projects that serve a substantial public purpose. Municipal bonds and privately issued bonds used for the financing of public purpose projects are generally supported by taxes, assessments, fees or tariffs related to the use of these projects, lease payments or other similar types of revenue streams. In 2009, National began publishing periodic comprehensive studies on select public finance sectors, including sectors in which it has exposure.

National’s insurance portfolio principally comprises exposure assumed by National under the quota share reinsurance agreement it entered into with MBIA Insurance Corporation effective January 1, 2009 pursuant to which MBIA Insurance Corporation ceded all of its U.S. public finance exposure to National and under the assignment by MBIA Insurance Corporation of its rights and obligations with respect to the U.S. public finance business that MBIA Insurance Corporation assumed from FGIC.

Structured Finance and International Insurance Operations

MBIA’s structured finance and international insurance operations have been principally conducted through MBIA Corp. The financial guarantees issued by MBIA Corp. generally provide unconditional and irrevocable guarantees of the payment of the principal of, and interest or other amounts owing on, insured obligations when due or, in the event MBIA Corp. has the right at its discretion to accelerate insured obligations upon default or otherwise, upon MBIA Corp.’s acceleration. Certain investment agreement contracts written by MBIA Inc. are insured by MBIA Corp. If MBIA Inc. were to have insufficient assets to pay amounts due, MBIA Corp. would make such payments under its insurance policies. MBIA Corp. also insured debt obligations of other affiliates, including MBIA Global Funding LLC (“GFL”) and Meridian Funding Company LLC (“Meridian”), and provides reinsurance to its insurance subsidiaries. MBIA Corp. has also written insurance policies guaranteeing the obligations of an affiliate, LaCrosse Financial Products, LLC (“LaCrosse”) under credit default swaps (“CDS”), including termination payments that may become due upon certain events including the insolvency or payment default of the financial guarantor or the CDS issuer. MBIA Corp.’s guarantees insure structured finance and asset-backed obligations, privately issued bonds used for the financing of public purpose projects, which are primarily located outside of the U.S. and that include toll roads, bridges, airports, public transportation facilities, utilities and other types of infrastructure projects serving a substantial public purpose, and obligations of sovereign and sub-sovereign issuers. Structured finance and asset-backed securities (“ABSs”) typically are securities repayable from expected cash flows generated by a specified pool of assets, such as residential and commercial mortgages, insurance policies, consumer loans, corporate loans and bonds, trade and export receivables, leases for equipment, aircraft and real property.

In certain cases, the Company may be required to consolidate entities established as part of securitizations when it insures the assets or liabilities of those entities and in connection with remediations or renegotiations of insurance policies. These entities typically meet the definition of a variable interest entity (“VIE”) under accounting principles for the consolidation of VIE’s. We do not believe there is any difference in the risks and profitability of financial guarantees provided to VIEs compared with other financial guarantees written by the Company. Additional information relating to VIEs is contained in the “Variable Interest Entities” section included herein. Refer to “Note 3: Recent Accounting Pronouncements” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information about new accounting guidance that will affect the consolidation of VIEs in the first quarter of 2010.

 

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EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW (continued)

 

Investment Management Services Operations

MBIA’s investment management services operations consist of an asset management advisory business, which provides discretionary asset management, cash management, and structured products to the public, not-for-profit, corporate and financial sectors. We also operate an asset/liability products business in which we have issued debt and investment agreements, which are insured by MBIA Corp., to capital markets and municipal investors and then initially purchased assets that largely matched the duration of those liabilities, and a conduit business in which we have funded transactions by issuing debt, which is insured by MBIA Corp. The ratings downgrades of MBIA Corp. have resulted in the termination and collateralization of certain investment agreements and, together with the rising cost and declining availability of funding and illiquidity of many asset classes, have caused the Company to begin winding down its asset/liability products and conduit businesses. At this point, the portfolio no longer has assets matching the duration of liabilities; but is expected to have positive cash flows for the next several years. Since the downgrades of MBIA Corp., we have not issued debt in connection with either business and we believe the outstanding liability balances and corresponding asset balances will continue to decline over time as liabilities mature, terminate, or are repurchased by the Company. The strategic focus now is on our third-party asset management business, re-branded Cutwater Asset Management Corporation (“Cutwater-AMC”) as of February 8, 2010. Cutwater-AMC added 25% to its third-party assets under management in 2009. Total assets under management declined 4% in 2009 as a result of assets managed for affiliates.

Credit Ratings

The current financial strength ratings of National, MBIA Insurance Corporation and MBIA Inc. as of December 31, 2009 are summarized below:

 

Agency   Rating/Outlook
    National   MBIA Insurance Corporation   MBIA Inc.
S&P   A / Developing outlook   BB+ / Negative outlook   BB-/ Negative outlook
Moody’s   Baa1 / Developing outlook   B3 / Negative outlook   Ba3 / Negative outlook

On September 28, 2009, S&P affirmed National’s insurance financial strength rating at A with a developing outlook and downgraded MBIA Insurance Corporation’s insurance financial strength rating to BB+ with a negative outlook from BBB with a negative outlook. Also on September 30, 2009, S&P downgraded MBIA Inc.’s senior debt obligations to BB- with a negative outlook from BB with a negative outlook.

On June 25, 2009, Moody’s affirmed National’s insurance financial strength rating at Baa1 but changed its outlook to developing from review for upgrade and affirmed MBIA Insurance Corporation’s insurance financial strength rating at B3 but changed its outlook to negative from developing. Also on June 25, 2009, Moody’s downgraded MBIA Inc.’s financial strength rating to Ba3 with a negative outlook from Ba1 with a developing outlook.

Adverse rating actions by S&P and Moody’s during 2009 have impeded our ability to attract new financial guarantee business. We do not expect to write significant new business prior to an upgrade of our insurance financial strength ratings and market acceptance that such ratings will be stable in the future. The timing of any such upgrade is uncertain and subject to both quantitative and qualitative factors which are considered by the rating agencies in their evaluation process, including the resolution of pending litigation.

Economic and Financial Market Trends

As a financial guarantee insurance and investment management services company, our business is materially affected by conditions in global financial markets. The losses arising from the inclusion of a substantial number of ineligible mortgage loans in our insured RMBS transactions and certain breaches of representations and warranties by sponsors of certain insured CDS transactions combined with deterioration in the economy, resulted in ratings downgrades and asset illiquidity that have had a material effect on our financial condition and substantially constrained our financial flexibility. Any further deterioration in the economic environment and financial markets in the United States and abroad may further constrain us.

 

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EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW (continued)

 

Our ratings downgrades and mounting concerns about monoline insurers impaired our ability to write new business in late 2007 and 2008. Pending litigation challenging the establishment of National has constrained our new business in 2009. However, we expect that once the pending litigation that challenges our Transformation is resolved we will be able to obtain the highest possible credit ratings and the market acceptance necessary to meet our stated objectives. Our ability to achieve these ratings is subject to rating agency criteria in effect at the time, and there is no assurance that we will be able to achieve such ratings.

Unprecedented levels of delinquencies and losses in our structured finance business continue to place considerable stress on our economic results. Our net income has been highly volatile as a result of unrealized gains and losses on insured credit derivatives, which we do not believe reflect the underlying economics of our business. Unrealized losses on these derivatives in 2007 and 2008 and unrealized gains in 2009 drove most of the volatility in our reported financial results. However, we expect that both economic performance and reported financial results performance may remain volatile in 2010 despite some evidence of a strengthening economy.

Financial Highlights

For the year ended December 31, 2009, we recorded consolidated net income of $623 million or $2.99 per share, after adjusting for preferred stock dividends of MBIA Insurance Corporation, compared with a net loss of $2.7 billion or $12.11 per share for the year ended December 31, 2008, and a net loss of $1.9 billion, or $14.93 per share for the year ended December 31, 2007.

Our consolidated book value (total shareholders’ equity) as of December 31, 2009 was $2.6 billion, increasing from $994 million as of December 31, 2008. Our consolidated book value per share as of December 31, 2009 was $12.66, increasing from $4.78 as of December 31, 2008.

A detailed discussion of our financial results is presented within the “Results of Operations” section included herein.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

The Company prepares its financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”), which requires the use of estimates and assumptions. The following accounting estimates are viewed by management to be critical because they require significant judgment on the part of management. Management has discussed and reviewed the development, selection, and disclosure of the critical accounting estimates with the Company’s Audit Committee. Financial results could be materially different if other methodologies were used or if management modified its assumptions.

Loss and Loss Adjustment Expense Reserves

Loss and loss adjustment expense (“LAE”) reserves are established by Loss Reserve Committees in each of our major operating insurance companies (National, MBIA Corp. and MBIA UK Insurance Ltd. (“MBIA UK”)) and reviewed by our executive Loss Reserve Committee, which consists of members of senior management. These reserves require the use of judgment and estimates with respect to the occurrence, timing and amount of paid losses and recoveries on insured obligations. Given that the reserves are based on such estimates and assumptions, there can be no assurance that ultimate losses will not exceed such estimates resulting in the Company recognizing additional loss and LAE in earnings. Loss and LAE reserves relate only to MBIA’s non-derivative financial guarantees.

Effective January 1, 2009, the Company no longer recognizes an unallocated loss reserve for losses that occurred or are probable to occur as a result of credit deterioration in the Company’s insured portfolio but which have not yet been specifically identified and applied to specific insured obligations. Therefore, the Company’s loss and LAE reserves as of December 31, 2009 only represent case basis reserves and accruals for LAE incurred. Case basis reserves represent the Company’s estimate of expected losses to be paid under an insurance contract, net of potential recoveries and discounted using a current risk-free interest rate, on insured obligations that have defaulted or are expected to default when this amount exceeds unearned premium revenue.

 

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES (continued)

 

As of December 31, 2009, the Company reported total loss and LAE reserves, net of reinsurance, of $1.5 billion, representing 0.16% of its outstanding non-derivative net debt service insured of $968 billion. We believe that these reserves are adequate to cover ultimate estimated net losses. However, there can be no assurance that ultimate losses will not exceed these estimates, resulting in the Company recognizing additional loss and LAE in earnings.

In the initial application of the accounting principles for financial guarantee insurance contracts, a cumulative-effect adjustment was recognized to beginning retained earnings as of January 1, 2009, which included reducing our unallocated loss reserve of $232 million as of December 31, 2008 to zero, or $151 million on an after-tax basis. Refer to “Note 2: Significant Accounting Policies” and “Note 3: Recent Accounting Pronouncements” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a description of the Company’s accounting for financial guarantee insurance losses and the impact of adopting new accounting guidance on the Company’s financial statements with respect to such losses.

Case Basis Reserves

A number of variables are taken into account in establishing specific case basis reserves for individual policies that depend primarily on the nature of the underlying insured obligation. These variables include the nature and creditworthiness of the issuers of the insured obligations, expected recovery rates on unsecured obligations, the projected cash flow or market value of any assets pledged as collateral on secured obligations, and the expected rates of recovery, cash flow or market values on such obligations or assets. Factors that may affect the actual ultimate realized losses for any policy include economic conditions and trends, levels of interest rates, rates of inflation, borrower behavior, the default rate and salvage values of specific collateral, and our ability to enforce contractual put back rights against our sellers/servicers with respect to ineligible loans through litigation or otherwise.

In establishing case basis loss reserves, we calculate the present value of probability-weighted estimated loss payments, net of estimated recoveries, using a discount rate equal to the risk-free rate applicable to the currency and expected term of such net payments. Yields on U.S. Treasury offerings are used to discount loss reserves denominated in U.S. dollars, which represent the majority of our loss reserves. Similarly, yields on foreign government offerings are used to discount loss reserves denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. If the Company were to apply different discount rates, its case basis reserves may have been higher or lower than those established as of December 31, 2009. For example, a higher discount rate applied to expected payments would have decreased the amount of a case basis reserve established by the Company and a lower rate would have increased the amount of a reserve established by the Company. Similarly, a higher discount rate applied to expected potential recoveries would have decreased the amount of a loss recoverable established by the Company and a lower rate would have increased the amount of a loss recoverable established by the Company. However, we believe that the discount rates used represent the most appropriate risk-free rates for present valuing our case basis loss reserves, as these rates are commonly used metrics throughout financial markets.

For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company incurred loss and LAE of $864 million. Included in the $864 million of loss and LAE were gross losses related to actual and expected future payments of $3.3 billion, of which $2.9 billion related to insured RMBS transactions. Offsetting these losses were actual and estimated potential recoveries of $2.4 billion, principally related to RMBS transactions, and reinsurance of $50 million. Refer to “Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses” included in the Results of Operations section herein for further information regarding our reserve activity.

RMBS Reserves

In determining the RMBS case basis reserves recorded as of December 31, 2009, which relate to RMBS backed by home equity lines of credit (“HELOCs”) and closed-end second mortgages (“CES”), the Company employed a multi-step process using a database of loan level information which allowed the Company to determine borrower payment status, including delinquencies and charge-offs. The Company relied upon this database to determine the likelihood of a delinquent loan being charged off. The information was then used in conjunction with a proprietary internal cash flow model and a commercially available model to estimate expected ultimate cumulative

 

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losses to our insured bonds. The “Current Roll to Loss” approach, described below, was used for estimating expected future defaults for loans that are current (not delinquent).

The following are the principal assumptions used with respect to the underlying loans to determine the expected losses on our insured RMBS transactions:

 

   

We assumed that loans reported as delinquent as of November 30, 2009 would default during the following six months at an assumed default rate based on the number of days that the loan was delinquent at such time (the “Roll Rate Default Methodology”).

 

   

The Roll Rate Default Methodology involves reviewing on a transaction-specific basis the percentage of 30-59 and 60-89 day delinquent loans that became 90 days delinquent (“Roll to Loss”). Generally, the rates of Roll to Loss are calculated for the previous three months and averaged. The Company made the assumption that 100% of the 90 or more days delinquent loans would result in a loss. The Roll to Loss was then applied to the amounts in the respective delinquency buckets based upon delinquencies as of November 30, 2009 to estimate all future losses as of the current reporting period.

For loans that are in delinquency buckets as of November 30, 2009, our model assumes that the proportion of them that will roll to loss in accordance with the roll rate methodology are charged off when they are 180 days delinquent. Thus, currently delinquent loans determine the charge-offs in our model for the six months following November 2009.

 

   

For loans that are current (not delinquent), we derived the “Current Roll to Loss” rates by multiplying the percentage of loans in the 30-59 days bucket and the Roll to Loss rates for the 30-59 days delinquency bucket. We applied this percentage to the remaining current pool balance to project future losses after a six-month period. For example, if 10% of the loans in the pool are in the 30-59 days delinquency bucket and the transaction’s performance suggests that 30% of those loans will be charged off, the Current Roll to Loss rate for the transaction is 3%. Our model assumes that 3% of the currently performing loans will be charged off after six months.

The period of elevated losses is the time from November 2009 until the time at which we estimate that the Current Roll to Loss rate will begin to decline. Our current transaction-specific assumptions are that the periods of elevated losses will end between June and December 2010. It is then assumed that the losses will reduce linearly to 25% of their original value over the next six months (i.e. 3% will linearly reduce to 0.75% over six months). After that six-month period, we further reduced the Current Roll to Loss rate to 0% by early 2014 with the expectation that the performing seasoned loans and an economic recovery will eventually result in loan performance reverting to historically low levels of default. For loans that remain current (not delinquent) throughout the projection period, we assume that voluntary prepayments occur at the average rate experienced in the most recent three-month period. In developing multiple loss scenarios, stress is applied by elongating the Current Roll to Loss rate for various periods, simulating a slower improvement in transaction performance.

 

   

We assumed servicer advances for delinquent loans to be zero.

 

   

We assumed that all defaulted loans will result in a total loss of principal upon charge-off.

In addition, for transactions secured by HELOCs, the model considered borrower draws and repayment rates. For HELOCs, the current three-month average draw rate was used to project future draws on the line. For HELOCs and transactions secured by fixed rate CES, the three-month average conditional repayment rate (“CRR”) was used to project voluntary principal repayments. Cash flows also assumed a constant basis spread between floating rate assets and floating rate insured debt obligations (the difference between Prime and LIBOR interest rates, minus any applicable fees). For all transactions, cash flows considered allocations and other structural aspects of a transaction, including managed amortization periods, rapid amortization periods and claims against MBIA’s insurance policy consistent with such policy’s terms and conditions.

The estimated net claims from the procedure above were discounted to a net present value reflecting MBIA’s obligation to pay claims over time and not on an accelerated basis. The above assumptions represent MBIA’s best estimates of how transactions will perform over time.

 

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES (continued)

 

We monitor portfolio performance on a monthly basis against projected performance, reviewing delinquencies, roll rates, prepayment rates (including voluntary and involuntary) and default rate trends. In the event of a material deviation in actual performance from projected performance, we would increase or decrease our case basis reserves quarterly accordingly. If defaults remained at the peak levels we are modeling for six months longer than in our probability-weighted outcome, the addition to our case basis reserves would be approximately $500 million.

In 2009, we continued our review of mortgage loans in our insured transactions. As a result, we revised the expected net cash inflows based on the increasing likelihood of potential recoveries related to ineligible mortgage loans in certain insured first and second-lien residential mortgage loan securitizations where the sellers/servicers have a contractual obligation to cure, repurchase or replace ineligible mortgage loans. Our recovery outlook is principally based on the following factors:

 

  1. the strength of our existing contract claims related to ineligible loan substitution/repurchase obligations;

 

  2. the improvement in the financial strength of issuers due to mergers and acquisitions and/or government assistance, which will facilitate their ability to comply with required loan repurchase/substitution obligations. We are not aware of any provisions that explicitly preclude or limit the successors’ obligations to honor the obligations of the original sponsor. Any credit risk associated with these sponsors (or their successors) is reflected in our probability-weighted potential recovery scenarios;

 

  3. evidence of loan repurchase/substitution compliance by sellers/servicers for put-back requests made by other harmed parties with respect to ineligible loans that are similar to the type of ineligible loans that have been identified in our insured HELOC and CES portfolios, including substantial amounts paid to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”) for substantially similar claims;

 

  4. the favorable outcome for MBIA on Defendants’ motions to dismiss in the actions captioned MBIA Insurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., et al, Index No. 08-602825 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.) and MBIA Insurance Corp. v. Residential Funding Co., LLC, Index No. 603552/08 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.) where the respective courts each allowed MBIA’s fraud claims against the Countrywide and RFC defendants to proceed, and the fact that the defendants have not moved to dismiss our breach of contract claims; and

 

  5. reserves we believe have been established by certain sellers/servicers to cover such obligations.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2008, MBIA engaged loan level forensic review consultants to re-underwrite/review a sample of the mortgage loan files underlying MBIA’s HELOC, CES and alternative A-paper (“Alt-A”) insured transactions. Certain transactions that exhibited exceptionally poor performance were chosen for a re-underwriting review. Factors MBIA believes to be indicative of this poor performance include: (i) a material increase in early and late stage delinquencies; (ii) material increases in charged-off loans or liquidated loans; (iii) significant decreases in credit enhancement; and/or (iv) policy payments. During 2008 and 2009, in coordination with our forensic review consultants, we reviewed over 33,000 mortgage loans within 30 first and second-lien mortgage loan securitizations. Our forensic loan review determined that there were significant breaches of mortgage loan representations and material deviations from underwriting guidelines. Accordingly, we have determined that thousands of loans were in fact contractually ineligible for inclusion in the securitized trusts insured by MBIA. In turn, MBIA has submitted thousands of ineligible loans for repurchase/substitution to the sponsors or sellers/servicers. The unsatisfactory resolution of these contractual matters, in addition to the pervasive misrepresentations made by the certain sellers/servicers in inducing MBIA Corp. to write insurance of the transactions, has led MBIA to pursue litigation with these sellers/servicers seeking to enforce the sellers/servicers’ obligation to repurchase or replace ineligible mortgage loans, and seeking damages for both breaches of contractual obligations and fraud. MBIA’s forensic examination of loan repurchase/substitution requirements for various issuers remains ongoing.

During 2009, MBIA recognized estimated potential recoveries, net of reinsurance, of $1.5 billion related to reviewed transactions. These recoveries were based on the expected values of transaction-specific distributions of possible outcomes (factoring in all known uncertainties). The outcomes include: 1) recovery of amounts related to charged off loan files that we have already reviewed and found to breach representations; 2) recovery of amounts related to currently performing loans expected to be charged off in the future, assuming breach rates on

 

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those loans are consistent with breach rates on the population of loans we have reviewed; and 3) recoveries assuming sellers/servicers repurchase all loans that were deemed to be in breach of the sellers/servicers’ estimated by applying the breach rates on loans we have reviewed to the entire population of loans, including those not expected to be charged off. Probabilities are then assigned to each scenario, based on the extent of actual file reviews supporting the estimated recoveries, the risk of litigation, risk of error in determining breach rates, counterparty credit risk, the cost of litigation and potential for delay, and other sources of uncertainty. The sum of the probabilities assigned to all scenarios is 100 percent. Expected cash inflows from recoveries are discounted using the current risk-free rate associated with the underlying credit, which ranged from 1.75% to 3.78% depending upon the transaction’s expected average life.

In the second and third quarters of 2009, we assumed that the probability that we recover more or less than the amount we are entitled to recover for those files already reviewed and found to be in breach of representations was the same. In the fourth quarter of 2009, we changed this assumption and assumed that the probability that we recover substantially more than the value of files already reviewed is higher than the probability that we recover less as a result of the success of other parties in pursuing sellers/servicers for loan repurchases/replacements, the acknowledgment by certain sellers/servicers that they have significant exposure to put backs and the substantial reserves taken by sellers/servicers related to loan repurchases/replacements, positive developments in litigation that we have initiated against seller/servicers that we believe increase the probability that will obtain substantial recoveries, and other factors.

We considered all relevant facts and circumstances, including the factors described above, in developing our assumptions on expected cash inflows, probability of potential recoveries (including the outcome of litigation) and recovery period. The estimated amount and likelihood of potential recoveries are expected to be revised and supplemented as facts and circumstances change and relevant information is available, including additional information on the mortgage loan pools. We have utilized the results of the above described loan file examinations to make demands for loan repurchases from originators and servicers or their successors and, in certain instances, as a part of the basis for litigation filings.

We will continue to assess the level of expected recoveries based on additional forensic reviews on additional loans, developments in the pending litigation proceedings or in any new litigation that we file and other factors that could influence the amount of the recoveries. While the Company believes that these ineligible mortgage loans are subject to repurchase or replacement obligations by the sellers/servicers, successful challenges of such determinations by the sellers/servicers could result in the Company recovering less than the amount of its estimated potential recoveries and, therefore, recognizing higher incurred losses. As a result of the factors described above, our estimate of potential recoveries could change materially in the future.

Valuation of Financial Instruments

Fair value is defined as an “exit price”, which is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants on a measurement date. The degree of judgment used to determine the fair values of financial instruments generally correlates to the degree to which pricing is not observable. Financial instruments in liquid markets with readily available and actively quoted prices, or with such prices for comparable instruments usually have the most pricing observability. Financial instruments rarely traded or not quoted have less observability and are usually measured by valuation models that require judgment. Pricing observability is affected by type of financial instrument, whether the instrument is well established in the market, by characteristics unique to individual transactions and by overall market conditions.

We have categorized our financial instruments measured at fair value into the three-level classification as prescribed by fair value measurements and disclosures, which considers this issue of pricing observability. Fair value measurements of financial instruments that use quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities are generally categorized as Level 1, and fair value measurements of financial instruments where significant inputs are not observable are generally categorized as Level 3. We categorize our financial instruments conservatively using the lowest level category at which we can generate reliable fair values. The determination of reliability requires management to exercise judgment.

 

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The fair market values of financial instruments held or issued by the Company are determined through the use of observable market data when available. Market data is obtained from a variety of third-party sources, including dealer quotes. If dealer quotes are not available for an instrument that is infrequently traded, we use alternate valuation methods, including either dealer quotes for similar contracts or modeling using market data inputs. The use of alternate valuation methods generally requires considerable judgment in the application of estimates and assumptions and changes to these variables may produce materially different values.

The fair value pricing of assets and liabilities is a function of many components which includes interest rate risk, market risk, liquidity risk and credit risk. For financial instruments that are internally valued by the Company, as well as those for which the Company uses broker quotes or pricing services, credit risk is typically incorporated by using appropriate credit spreads or discount rates as inputs. Refer to “Note 2: Significant Accounting Policies” and “Note 5: Fair Value of Financial Instruments” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information about the Company’s financial assets and liabilities that are accounted for at fair value, including disclosures required by GAAP.

1. Financial Assets

The Company’s financial assets are primarily debt and equity investments. The majority of these are accounted for in accordance with the accounting principles for certain investments in debt and equity securities. The guidance requires all debt instruments and certain equity instruments to be classified in the Company’s consolidated balance sheet according to their purpose and, depending on that classification, to be carried at either amortized cost or fair value. Most valuations of the Company’s financial assets use observable market-based inputs, including dealer quotes when available. However, since mid 2007, illiquidity in the credit markets has significantly reduced the availability of observable market data. Other financial assets that require fair value reporting or disclosures within the Company’s Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are valued based on the estimated value of the underlying collateral or the Company’s estimate of discounted cash flows.

Assets with fair values derived from broker quotes or pricing services can be classified within Level 1, 2 or 3 of the fair value hierarchy, depending on the observability of inputs. Typically we receive one broker quote or pricing service value for each instrument, which represents a non-binding indication of value. We review the assumptions, inputs and methodologies used by pricing services to obtain reasonable assurance that the prices used in our valuations reflect fair value and as a basis for classification within the three levels of the fair value hierarchy. For example, broker quoted prices are classified as Level 3 if we consider the inputs used not to be market-based and observable. Pricing service data is received monthly and quarterly, and we use a variety of methods to analyze the reasonableness of these third-party valuations, including comparisons to similar quality and maturity assets, internal modeling of implied credit spreads by sector and quality, comparison to published spread estimates, and assessment relative to comparable dealer offerings or any actual transactions from a recent time period. When we believe a third-party quotation differs significantly from our internal value, whether higher or lower, we review our data or assumptions with the provider. The price provider may subsequently provide an updated price. We do not make any internal adjustments to prices provided by a broker or pricing service.

While we review third-party prices for reasonableness, we are not the source for any of the inputs or assumptions used in developing those prices. Additionally, we do not have access to the specific models used by the third-party price providers. As a result, we cannot provide the potential impact of reasonably likely changes in inputs and assumptions used in these models. Consequently, we are unable to determine if such reasonably likely changes in inputs and assumptions would have a material impact on our financial condition or results of operations.

2. Financial Liabilities

The Company’s financial instruments categorized as liabilities primarily consist of derivatives within our insurance and investment management services operations, investment agreements and medium-term notes (“MTNs”) issued by the asset/liability products and conduit segments within our investment management services

 

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operations, and debt issued for general corporate purposes. Investment agreements, MTNs, and corporate debt are typically recorded at face value adjusted for premiums or discounts. The fair values of these financial instruments are generally not reported within the Company’s financial statements but disclosed in the accompanying notes. However, financial liabilities which qualify as part of fair value hedging arrangements under the provisions of derivative and hedging are reported in the Company’s consolidated balance sheet at a value that reflects changes in the risks being hedged, which offsets changes in the value of the hedging instrument. MBIA uses cash flow modeling techniques to estimate the value of its liabilities that qualify as hedged obligations, incorporating current market data. Financial liabilities that the Company has elected to fair value or that require fair value reporting or disclosures within the Company’s notes to its financial statements are valued based on either estimated value of the underlying collateral, the Company’s or a third-party’s estimate of discounted cash flows or quoted market values for similar transactions. Refer to the following “3. Derivatives” and “4. Insured Derivatives” sections for information about these financial liabilities.

3. Derivatives

MBIA has entered into derivative transactions both within its financial guarantee insurance business and in hedging risks associated with its assets and liabilities. CDS contracts are also used in the investment management services operations to replicate investments in cash assets consistent with the risk tolerance and criteria for this business. We account for derivative transactions in accordance with the accounting principles for derivatives and hedging which requires that all such transactions be recorded on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet at fair value. The fair value of derivative instruments is determined as the amount that would be received to sell the derivative when in an asset position (when the Company would be owed money under the derivative in a termination) or transfer the derivative when in a liability position (when the Company would owe money under the derivative in a termination). Changes in the fair value of derivatives, exclusive of insured derivatives, are recorded each period in current earnings within “Net gains (losses) on financial instruments at fair value and foreign exchange” or in shareholders’ equity within “Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)” depending on whether the derivative is designated as a hedge, and if so designated, the type of hedge.

4. Insured Derivatives

As of December 31, 2009, we had $119.2 billion of net par outstanding on insured derivatives. The majority of our derivative exposure is in the form of “credit derivative” instruments insured by MBIA Corp. In February 2008, we ceased insuring such derivative instruments except in transactions reducing our existing insured derivative exposure. As of December 31, 2009, the net par outstanding on our insured credit derivatives totaled $106.0 billion. The remaining $13.2 billion of net par outstanding on insured derivatives as of December 31, 2009 primarily related to insured “interest rate” and “inflation-linked” swaps for which we have insured counterparty credit risk.

Since insured derivatives are highly customized and there is generally no observable market for these derivatives, we estimate their fair values in a hypothetical market based on internal and third-party models simulating what a company similar to us would charge to assume our position in the transaction at the measurement date. This pricing would be based on expected loss of the exposure.

Description of MBIA’s Insured Credit Derivatives

The majority of MBIA’s insured credit derivatives reference structured pools of cash securities and CDSs. We generally insured the most senior liabilities of such transactions, and at transaction closing our exposure generally had more subordination than needed to achieve triple-A ratings from credit rating agencies (referred to as “Super Triple-A” exposure). The collateral backing our insured derivatives was cash securities and CDSs referencing primarily corporate, asset-backed, residential mortgage-backed, commercial mortgage-backed, commercial real estate (“CRE”) loans, and CDO securities.

 

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Most of MBIA’s insured CDS contracts require that MBIA make payments for losses of the principal outstanding under the contracts when losses on the underlying referenced collateral exceed a predetermined deductible. MBIA’s net par outstanding and maximum payment obligation under these contracts as of December 31, 2009 was $78.8 billion. The underlying referenced collateral for contracts executed in this manner largely consists of investment grade corporate debt, structured commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) pools and, to a lesser extent, corporate and multi-sector CDOs and so-called “CDO-squared” transactions. Our multi-sector and CDO-squared transactions contain substantial RMBS-related collateral. As of December 31, 2009, MBIA also had $27.2 billion of net par outstanding on insured CDS contracts that require MBIA to make timely interest and ultimate principal payments.

Included in the aforementioned $27.2 billion are guarantees under principal protection fund programs. As of December 31, 2009, the net par outstanding and maximum amount of future payments that the Company would be required to make under these guarantees was $8 million. To date, we have not made any payments relating to these guarantees.

Refer to the “Net Change in Fair Value of Insured Derivatives” discussion in the following Results of Operations section for information about the impact of changes in the fair value of insured derivatives on our financial statements and the attribution of such changes by insured sector.

Considerations Regarding an Observable Market for MBIA’s Insured Derivatives

The Company does not trade its insured derivatives, nor do similar contracts trade in derivative markets. In determining fair value, our valuation approach uses observable market prices if available and reliable. Market prices are generally available for traded securities and market standard CDSs but are less available or accurate for highly customized CDSs. Most of the derivative contracts we insure are the latter as they are non-traded structured credit derivative transactions. In contrast, typical market CDSs are standardized, liquid instruments that reference tradable securities such as corporate bonds that themselves have observable prices. These market standard CDSs also involve collateral posting, and upon a default of the underlying reference obligation, can be settled in cash.

MBIA’s insured CDS contracts do not contain typical CDS market standard features as they have been designed to replicate our financial guarantee insurance policies. At inception of the transactions, our insured CDS contracts provided protection on pools of securities or CDSs with either a stated deductible or subordination beneath the MBIA-insured tranche. We are not required to post collateral in any circumstance. Payment by MBIA under an insured CDS is due after the aggregate amount of losses on the underlying reference obligations, based on actual losses as determined pursuant to the settlement procedure in each transaction, exceed the deductible or subordination in the transaction. Once such losses exceed the deductible or the subordination, the transactions are structured with the intention that MBIA is generally obligated to pay the losses, net of recoveries, if any, on any subsequent reference obligations that default. Some contracts also provide for further deferrals of payment at our option. In the event of MBIA Corp.’s failure to pay a claim under the insured CDS or the insolvency of MBIA Corp., the insured CDS contract provides that the counterparty can terminate the CDS and make a claim for the amount due, which would be based on the fair value of the insured CDS at such time. An additional difference between our CDS and typical market standard contracts is that our contracts, like our financial guarantee contracts, cannot be accelerated by the counterparty in the ordinary course of business but only upon the occurrence of certain events including the failure of LaCrosse to make a payment due under the CDS or the bankruptcy of MBIA Corp. or MBIA UK, our UK subsidiary that also insured certain CDS contracts entered into by LaCrosse. Similar to our financial guarantee insurance, all insured CDS policies are unconditional and irrevocable and our obligations thereunder cannot be transferred unless the transferees are also licensed to write financial guarantee insurance policies. Since insured CDS contracts are accounted for as derivatives under relevant accounting guidance, the Company did not defer the charges associated with underwriting the CDS policies and they were expensed at origination.

 

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The structure of our payment obligations in these contracts is intended to prevent large one-time claims upon an event of default of underlying reference obligations and to allow for payments over time (i.e. “pay-as-you-go” basis) or at final maturity. However, the size of payments will ultimately depend on the timing and magnitude of losses. There are primarily three types of payment provisions:

 

  (i) timely interest and ultimate principal;

 

  (ii) ultimate principal only at final maturity; and

 

  (iii) payments upon settlement of individual referenced collateral losses in excess of policy-specific deductibles and subordination. The deductible or loss threshold is the amount of losses experienced with respect to the underlying or referenced collateral that would be required to occur before a claim against an MBIA insurance policy can be made.

All of the contracts with settlement based on ultimate principal only at final maturity have been terminated under the terms of the agreements. MBIA had transferred some of the risk of loss on insured CDS transactions using reinsurance to other financial guarantee insurance and reinsurance companies. The fair value of the transfer under the reinsurance contract with the reinsurers is accounted for as a derivative asset. These derivative assets are valued consistently with our valuation policies.

Valuation Modeling of MBIA-Insured Derivatives

As a result of the significant differences between market standard CDS contracts and the CDS contracts insured by MBIA, we believe there are no relevant third-party exit value market observations for our insured structured credit derivative contracts and, therefore, no principal market as described in fair value measurement and disclosures. In the absence of a principal market, we value these insured credit derivatives in a hypothetical market where market participants are assumed to be other comparably-rated primary financial guarantors. Since there are no observable transactions in the financial guarantee market that could be used to value our transactions, we generally use internal and third-party models, depending on the type and structure of the contract, to estimate the fair value of our insured derivatives.

Our primary model for insured CDSs simulates what a bond insurer would charge to guarantee a transaction at the measurement date, based on the market-implied default risk of the underlying collateral and the remaining structural protection in a deductible or subordination. This approach assumes that bond insurers would be willing to accept these contracts from us at a price equal to what they could issue them for in the current market. While the premium charged by financial guarantors is not a direct input into our model, the model estimates such premium and this premium increases as the probability of loss increases, driven by various factors including rising credit spreads, negative credit migration, lower recovery rates, lower diversity score and erosion of deductible or subordination.

Valuation Models Used

Approximately 69% of the balance sheet fair value of insured credit derivatives as of December 31, 2009 is valued using the Binomial Expansion Technique (“BET”) model, which is a probabilistic approach to calculating expected loss on our exposure based on market variables for underlying referenced collateral. During the third quarter of 2009, the Company changed the model it used to estimate the fair value of most of its insured multi-sector CDOs. Previous to the third quarter of 2009, these transactions were valued using the BET model. Beginning with the third quarter of 2009, we valued these transactions using an internally-developed valuation model, referred to as the Direct Price Model. Approximately 31% of the balance sheet fair value of insured credit derivatives as of December 31, 2009 was valued using the Direct Price Model.

There were four factors that led to the development of the Direct Price Model. (1) Market spreads for RMBS and ABS CDO collateral were no longer available. RMBS and ABS CDO collateral comprised the majority of the collateral for the multi-sector CDOs that were transitioned to a new marking model. Although market prices were available for the collateral, the BET model requires a spread input and the conversion from price to spread can be subjective for securities that trade substantially below par, which was the case for most of the collateral in these

 

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transactions. (2) The BET model contemplates a multi-tranche structure and allocates potential losses to each tranche. Many of the multi-sector CDOs insured by MBIA have experienced collateral erosion to the extent that there is no market value to the subordinated tranches. As a result, this key feature of the BET model is no longer relevant. (3) The BET model requires a recovery rate assumption. This is not readily observable on all the collateral. As the market-implied probability of default of collateral has increased the recovery rate assumption has become increasingly important, which has gradually increased the relative importance in the model of internal assumptions as opposed to observable market inputs. (4) For all insured transactions that have been transitioned to a Direct Price Model. MBIA has an option to defer losses on principal to the legal final maturity, which is typically decades in the future. As a result of increased actual and market-implied future potential losses, as well as the significant widening of CDS spreads for MBIA, the value of this deferral option has increased. It currently has a very significant effect on the estimated fair value of MBIA’s guarantee so it was appropriate to use a model that explicitly valued that deferral option.

A. Description of the BET Model

1. Valuation Model Overview

The BET was originally developed by Moody’s to estimate a probability distribution of losses on a diverse pool of assets. We have made modifications to this technique in an effort to incorporate more market information and provide more flexibility in handling pools of dissimilar assets (a) we use market credit spreads to determine default probability instead of using historical loss experience and (b) for collateral pools where the spread distribution is characterized by extremes, we model each segment of the pool individually instead of using an overall pool average.

There are three steps within BET modeling to arrive at fair value for a structured transaction: pool loss estimation, loss allocation to separate tranches of the capital structure and calculation of the change in value.

 

   

The pool loss estimation is calculated by reference to the following (described in further detail under “Model Inputs” below):

 

   

credit spreads of the underlying collateral. This is based on actual spreads or spreads on similar collateral with similar ratings, or in some cases is benchmarked;

 

   

diversity score of the collateral pool as an indication of correlation of collateral defaults; and

 

   

recovery rate for all defaulted collateral.

 

   

Losses are allocated to specific tranches of the transaction according to their subordination level within the capital structure.

 

   

For example, if the expected total collateral pool loss is 4% and the transaction has an equity tranche and three progressively more senior C, B, and A tranches with corresponding underlying subordination levels of 0%, 3%, 5% and 10%, then the 4% loss will have the greatest impact on the equity tranche. It will have a lower, but significant impact on the C tranche and a lesser impact on the B tranche. MBIA usually insures the most senior tranche with lowest exposure to collateral losses due to the underlying subordination provided by all junior tranches.

 

   

At any point in time, the unrealized gain or loss on a transaction is the difference between the original price of the risk (the original market-implied expected loss) and the current price of the risk based on the assumed market-implied expected losses derived from the model.

Additional structural assumptions of the model worth noting are listed below:

 

   

Default probability is determined by three factors: credit spread, recovery rate after default and the time period under risk.

 

   

Defaults are modeled spaced out evenly over time.

 

   

Collateral is generally considered on an average basis rather than being modeled separately.

 

   

Correlation is modeled using a diversity score, which is calculated based on rules regarding industry or sector concentrations. Recovery rates are based on historical averages and updated based on market evidence.

 

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2. Model Strengths and Weaknesses

The primary strengths of the BET model are:

 

   

The model takes account of transaction structure and key drivers of market value. The transaction structure includes par insured, weighted average life, level of deductible or subordination (if any) and composition of collateral.

 

   

The model is a consistent approach to marking positions that minimizes the level of subjectivity. Model structure, inputs and operation are well documented both by Moody’s and by MBIA’s internal controls, creating a strong controls process in execution of the model. We have also developed a hierarchy for usage of various market-based spread inputs that reduces the level of subjectivity, especially during periods of high illiquidity.

 

   

The model uses market inputs with the most relevant being credit spreads for underlying referenced collateral, assumed recovery rates specific to the type and rating of referenced collateral, the diversity score of the entire collateral pool, and MBIA’s CDS and derivative recovery rate level. These are key parameters affecting the fair value of the transaction and all inputs are market-based whenever available and reliable.

The primary weaknesses of the BET model are:

 

   

There is no market in which to test and verify the fair values generated by our model, and as of December 31, 2009, the model inputs were also either unobservable or highly illiquid, adversely impacting their reliability.

 

   

There are diverse approaches to estimating fair value of such transactions among other financial guarantee insurance companies.

 

   

The BET model requires an input for collateral spreads. However, some securities are quoted only in price terms. For securities that trade substantially below par, the conversion from price to spread can be subjective.

 

   

Results may be affected by averaging of spreads and use of a single diversity factor, rather than using specific spreads for each piece of underlying collateral and collateral-specific correlation assumptions. While more specific data could improve the reliability of the results, it is not currently available and neither is a model that could produce more reliable results in the absence of that data.

3. BET Model Inputs

Specific detail regarding these model inputs are listed below:

a. Credit spreads

The average spread of collateral is a key input as we assume credit spreads reflect the market’s assessment of default probability for each piece of collateral. Spreads are obtained from market data sources published by third parties (e.g. dealer spread tables for assets most closely resembling collateral within our transactions) as well as collateral-specific spreads on the underlying reference obligations provided by trustees or market sources. Also, when these sources are not available, we benchmark spreads for collateral against market spreads, including in some cases, assumed relationships between the two spreads. This data is reviewed on an ongoing basis for reasonableness and applicability to our derivative portfolio. We also calculate spreads based on quoted prices and on internal assumptions about expected life, when pricing information is available and spread information is not.

The actual calculation of pool average spread varies depending on whether we are able to use collateral-specific credit spreads or generic spreads as an input.

 

   

If collateral-specific spreads are available, the spread for each individual piece of collateral is identified and a weighted average is calculated by weighting each spread by the corresponding par exposure.

 

   

If collateral-specific credit spreads are not available, we use generic spread tables based on asset class and average rating of the collateral pool. Average credit rating for the collateral is calculated from the

 

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weighted average rating factor (“WARF”) for the collateral portfolio and then mapped to an appropriate spread. WARF is based on a 10,000 point scale designed by Moody’s where lower numbers indicate better credit quality. Ratings are not spaced equally on this scale because the marginal difference in default probability at higher rating quality is much less than at lower rating levels. We obtain WARF from the most recent trustee’s report or we calculate it based on the collateral credit ratings. For a WARF calculation, we identify the credit ratings of all collateral (using, in order of preference as available, Moody’s, S&P or Fitch ratings), then convert those credit ratings into a rating factor on the WARF scale, average those factors (weighted by par) to create a portfolio WARF, and then map the portfolio WARF back into an average credit rating for the pool. We then apply this pool rating to a market spread table or index appropriate for the collateral type to determine the generic spread for the pool, which becomes the market-implied default input into the BET model.

 

   

If there is a high dispersion of ratings within a collateral pool, the collateral is segmented into different rating buckets and each bucket is used in calculating the overall average.

 

   

When spreads are not available on either a collateral-specific basis or ratings-based generic basis, MBIA uses its hierarchy of spread sources (discussed below) to identify the most appropriate spread for that asset class to be used in the model.

We use the spread hierarchy listed below in determining which source of spread information to use, with the rule being to use CDS spreads where available and cash security spreads as the next alternative. Cash spreads reflect trading activity in funded fixed-income instruments while CDS spreads reflect trading levels for non-funded derivative instruments. While both markets are driven partly by an assessment of the credit quality of the referenced security, there are factors which create significant differences, such as CDS spreads can be driven by speculative activity since the CDS market facilitates both long and short positions without ownership of the underlying security, allowing for significant leverage.

Spread Hierarchy:

 

   

Actual collateral-specific credit spreads. If up-to-date and reliable market-based spreads are available, they are used.

 

   

Sector-specific spreads (JP Morgan and Bank of America Securities-Merrill Lynch (“BAS-ML”) spread tables by asset class and rating).

 

   

Corporate spreads (Bloomberg and Risk Metrics spread tables based on rating).

 

   

Benchmark from most relevant spread source (for example, if no specific spreads are available and corporate spreads are not directly relevant, an assumed relationship is used between corporate spreads or sector-specific spreads and collateral spreads). Benchmarking can also be based on a combination of market spread data and fundamental credit assumptions.

For example, if current market-based spreads are not available then we apply either sector-specific spreads from spread tables provided by dealers or corporate cash spread tables. The sector-specific spread applied depends on the nature of the underlying collateral. Transactions with corporate collateral use the corporate spread table. Transactions with asset-backed collateral use one or more of the dealer asset-backed tables. If there are no observable market spreads for the specific collateral, and sector-specific and corporate spread tables are not appropriate to estimate the spread for a specific type of collateral, we use the fourth alternative in our hierarchy. An example is tranched corporate collateral, where we apply corporate spreads as an input with an adjustment for our tranched exposure.

As of December 31, 2009, actual collateral credit spreads were used in one transaction. Sector-specific spreads were used in 12% of the transactions valued using the BET model. Corporate spreads were used in 28% of the transactions and spreads benchmarked from the most relevant spread source (number 4 above) were used for 59% of the transactions. When determining the percentages above, there were some transactions where MBIA incorporated multiple levels within the hierarchy. For example, for some transactions MBIA used actual collateral-specific credit spreads (number 1 above) in combination with a calculated spread based on an assumed relationship (number 4 above). In those cases, MBIA classified the transaction as being benchmarked from the most relevant spread source (number 4 above) even though the

 

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majority of the average spread was from actual collateral-specific spreads. The spread source can also be identified by whether or not it is based on collateral WARF. No Level 1 spreads are based on WARF, all Level 2 and 3 spreads are based on WARF and some Level 4 spreads are based on WARF. WARF-sourced and/or ratings-sourced credit spread was used for 72% of the transactions.

Over time the data inputs change as new sources become available, existing sources are discontinued or are no longer considered to be reliable or the most appropriate. It is always our objective to move to higher levels on the hierarchy, but we sometimes move to lower priority inputs because of discontinued data sources or because we consider higher priority inputs no longer representative of market spreads. This occurs when transaction volume changes such that a previously used spread index is no longer viewed to reflect current market levels, as was the case for CMBS collateral in insured CDSs beginning in 2008. Refer to section “Input Adjustments for Insured CMBS Derivatives in the Current Market” below.

b. Diversity Scores

The diversity score is a measure to estimate the diversification in a portfolio. The diversity score estimates the number of uncorrelated assets that are assumed to have the same loss distribution as the actual portfolio of correlated assets. For example, if a portfolio of 100 assets had a diversity score of 50, this means that the 100 correlated assets are assumed to have the same loss distribution as 50 uncorrelated assets. A lower diversity score represents higher assumed correlation, increasing the chances of a large number of defaults, and thereby increasing the risk of loss in the senior tranche. A lower diversity score will generally have a negative impact on the valuation for our senior tranche. The calculation methodology for a diversity score includes the extent to which a portfolio is diversified by industry or asset class, which is either calculated internally or reported by the trustee on a regular basis. Diversity scores are calculated at transaction origination, and adjusted as the collateral pool changes over time. MBIA’s internal modeling of the diversity score is based on Moody’s methodology but uses MBIA’s internal assumptions on default correlation, including variables such as collateral rating and amount, asset type and remaining life.

c. Recovery Rate

The recovery rate represents the percentage of par expected to be recovered after an asset defaults, indicating the severity of a potential loss. MBIA generally uses rating agency recovery assumptions which may be adjusted to account for differences between the characteristics and performance of the collateral used by the rating agencies and the actual collateral in MBIA-insured transactions. We may also adjust rating agency assumptions based on the performance of the collateral manager and on empirical market data. In 2009, we lowered recovery rates for CMBS collateral, and certain RMBS, ABS and collateralized loan obligation (“CLO”) collateral. The recovery rates for certain RMBS and ABS collateral were lowered in the fourth quarter of 2009, which increased our derivative liability by $200 million.

d. Input Adjustments for Insured CMBS Derivatives in the Current Market

History of Input Adjustments

Approximately $45.3 billion gross par of MBIA’s insured derivative transactions as of December 31, 2009 include substantial amounts of CMBS and commercial mortgage collateral. Prior to 2008, we had used spreads drawn from CMBX indices and CMBS spread tables as pricing input on the underlying referenced collateral in these transactions. In 2008, as the financial markets became illiquid, we observed a significant disconnect between cumulative loss expectations of market analysts on underlying commercial mortgages and loss expectations implied by the CMBX indices and CMBS spread tables.

In addition, due to financial market uncertainty since last year, transaction volume in CMBS and trading activity in the CMBX were both dramatically lower than in prior periods. We also considered that the implied loss rates within the CMBX index were much higher than that forecast by fundamental researchers and MBIA’s internal analysis. As a result of these issues, we concluded that the CMBX indices and the CMBS spread tables were unreliable model inputs for the purpose of estimating fair value in our hypothetical market among monoline insurers.

 

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As a result, in the first quarter of 2008, we modified the spread used for these transactions to reflect a combination of market spread pricing and third-party fundamental analysis of CMBS credit. Our revised spread input was a CMBX index analog that combines expectations for CMBS credit performance (as forecasted by the average of three investment banks’ research departments) together with the illiquidity premium implied by the CMBX indices. The illiquidity premium we used was the senior triple-A tranche spread of the CMBX index that matched the origination vintage of collateral in each transaction. For example, collateral originated in the second half of 2006 used the triple-A tranche spread of the CMBX series 1 as the illiquidity premium. The sum of the illiquidity premium plus the derived credit spread based on the average cumulative net loss estimates of three investment banks’ research departments was used as a CMBX analog index.

In the third quarter of 2009, MBIA reassessed the reasonableness of CMBX inputs. CMBX levels are now quoted in price terms instead of spread. It was observed that trading activity in CMBX indices is more liquid than in recent quarters. There has also been some convergence between the loss rates implied by the CMBX index and that of fundamental analysts. During the third quarter of 2009 CMBX prices improved (implying a lower loss rate) while fundamental assessments of loss rates for CMBS increased. MBIA concluded that it was again appropriate and reasonable to use CMBX as an input for the BET model.

Current CMBX Input Adjustment

Since CMBX is now quoted in price terms and the BET model requires a spread input, it is necessary to convert CMBX prices to spreads. To do this we assumed that a portion of the CMBX price reflected market illiquidity. We assumed this illiquidity component was the difference between par and the price of the highest priced CMBX triple-A series. As of December 31, 2009 the highest priced triple-A CMBX index was series 1 and its price was $92.50, corresponding to an illiquidity premium of 7.5%. We assumed that the price of each CMBX index has two components: an illiquidity component and a loss component. So the market implied losses were assumed to be the difference of par less the liquidity adjusted price. These loss estimates were converted to spreads using an internal estimate of duration. The illiquidity premium was also converted to a spread using the same approach and the CMBX spread was calculated as the sum of those two numbers.

e. Other Input Adjustments

During the third quarter of 2009, the Company modified its inputs for RMBS collateral in insured CDO-squared transactions because an appropriate source was no longer available for RMBS collateral spreads. Previously, spread levels were provided by securities firms, however, these firms no longer provide this information. As a result, the Company assumed that all RMBS collateral defaulted and there was a recovery based on the current recovery rate assumption.

f. Nonperformance Risk

In compliance with the requirements of fair value measurement, our valuation methodology for insured credit derivative liabilities incorporates the Company’s own nonperformance risk and the nonperformance risk of its reinsurers. We calculate the fair value by discounting the market value loss estimated through the BET model at discount rates which include MBIA Corp.’s and the reinsurers’ CDS spreads (or an estimate if there is not a traded CDS contract referencing a reinsurer) as of December 31, 2009. Prior to the second quarter of 2009, MBIA used the 5-year CDS spread on MBIA Corp. to calculate nonperformance risk. This assumption was compatible with the average life of the CDS portfolio, which was approximately 5 years. In the second quarter of 2009, we refined this approach to include a full term structure for CDS spreads. Under the refined approach, the CDS spreads assigned to each deal are based on the weighted average life of the deal.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, we enhanced the calculation of nonperformance risk for certain multi-sector and corporate CDOs. MBIA previously used the weighted average life of the overall transaction to calculate nonperformance risk. For the transactions affected, the timing of potential modeled loss varies significantly by the type of collateral that generates the loss. Therefore, the nonperformance risk calculation was adjusted to reflect the potential timing of loss for each collateral type. This adjustment increased our derivative liability by $345 million.

 

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Beginning in the first quarter of 2009, we limited the impact of MBIA’s CDS speads so that the derivative liability, after giving effect to nonperformance risk, could not be lower than MBIA’s recovery derivative price multiplied by the unadjusted derivative liability.

Prior to the third quarter of 2008, the Company did not apply nonperformance risk to the excess (if any) of insured par over the par value of remaining collateral (such excess referred to as “burn-through”) within CDS transactions. Most obligations insured by MBIA do not have burn-through. However, an increasing number of multi-sector CDOs insured by MBIA had developed burn-through. As a result, in the third quarter of 2008 the Company began applying its nonperformance calculation to burn-through, which resulted in a reduction of the fair value of its derivative liability by $683 million. Most of the insured transactions with burn-through are now valued using the Direct Price Model.

B. Description of Direct Price Model

1. Valuation Model Overview

The Direct Price Model was developed internally to address weaknesses in our BET model specific to valuing insured multi-sector CDOs, as previously discussed. There are three steps in the model. First, market prices are obtained or estimated for all collateral within a transaction. Second, the present value of the market-implied potential losses is calculated for the transaction, assuming that MBIA defers all principal losses to the legal final maturity. This is determined by the contractual terms of each agreement and interest rates. Third, the impact of nonperformance risk is calculated.

2. Model Strengths and Weaknesses

The primary strengths of the Direct Price Model are:

 

   

The model takes account of transaction structure and key drivers of market value. The transaction structure includes par insured, legal final maturity, level of deductible or subordination (if any) and composition of collateral.

 

   

The model is a consistent approach to marking positions that minimizes the level of subjectivity. Model structure, inputs and operation are well documented by MBIA’s internal controls, creating a strong controls process in execution of the model.

 

   

The model uses market inputs for each transaction with the most relevant being market prices for collateral, MBIA’s CDS and derivative recovery rate level and interest rates. Most of the market inputs are observable.

The primary weaknesses of the Direct Price Model are:

 

   

There is no market in which to test and verify the fair values generated by our model.

 

   

There are diverse approaches to estimating fair value of similar transactions among other financial guarantee insurance companies.

 

   

The model does not take into account potential future volatility of collateral prices. When the market value of collateral is substantially lower than insured par and there is no or little subordination left in a transaction, which is the case for most of the transactions marked with this model, the Company believes this assumption still allows a reasonable estimate of fair value.

3. Model Inputs

 

   

Collateral prices

MBIA was able to obtain broker quotes for the majority of the collateral. For any collateral not directly priced, a matrix pricing grid was used based on security type and rating. For each security that was not directly priced, an average was used based on securities with the same rating and security type categories.

 

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Interest rates

The present value of the market-implied potential losses was calculated, assuming that MBIA deferred all principal losses to the legal final maturity. This was done through a cash flow model that calculated potential interest payments in each period and the potential principal loss at the legal final maturity. These cash flows were discounted using the LIBOR flat swap curve.

 

   

Nonperformance risk

The methodology for calculating MBIA’s nonperformance risk is the same as used for the BET model. Due to the current level of MBIA CDS rates and the long tenor of these transactions, the derivative recovery rate was used to estimate nonperformance risk for all transactions marked by this model.

Overall Model Results

As of December 31, 2009, our net insured derivative liability of $3.8 billion comprised the fair values of insured derivatives included in “Derivative assets” and “Derivative liabilities” on our consolidated balance sheet of $756 million and $4.6 billion, respectively, based on the results of the aforementioned pricing models. In the current environment the most significant driver of changes in fair value is nonperformance risk. In aggregate, the nonperformance calculation results in a pre-tax net insured derivative liability which is $14.8 billion lower than the net liability that would have been estimated if we did not include nonperformance risk in our valuation. Nonperformance risk is a fair value concept and does not contradict the Company’s internal view, based on fundamental credit analysis of our economic condition, that the Company will be able to pay all claims when due.

The Company reviews the model results on a quarterly basis to assess the appropriateness of the assumptions and results in light of current market activity and conditions. This review is performed by internal staff with relevant expertise. If live market spreads are observable for similar transactions, those spreads are an integral part of the analysis. For example, new insured transactions that resemble existing (previously insured) transactions would be considered, as would negotiated settlements of existing transactions. This data has been scarce or non-existent in recent periods, but MBIA Corp. did negotiate settlements of two insured CDS transactions in the fourth quarter of 2009. In assessing the reasonableness of the fair value estimate for insured CDS we considered the executed prices for those transactions as well as a review of internal consistency and relativity.

The Company believes that it is important to apply its valuation techniques consistently. However, we may consider making changes in the valuation technique if the change results in a measurement that is equally or more representative of fair value under current circumstances.

 

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Fair Value Hierarchy – Level 3

Accounting principles for fair value measurement and disclosures establish a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1 measurements) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3 measurements). Assets and liabilities are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. Instruments that trade infrequently and, therefore, have little or no price transparency are classified within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy. Also included in Level 3 are financial instruments that have significant unobservable inputs deemed significant to the instrument’s overall fair value. The following table presents the fair values of assets and liabilities recorded on our consolidated balance sheet that are classified as Level 3 within the fair value hierarchy as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, along with a brief description of the valuation technique for each type of asset and liability. Our derivative liabilities, principally relating to insured derivatives, constitute the majority of fair values of instruments classified as Level 3.

 

In millions

   December 31, 2009   

Valuation Technique

Investments:

     

U.S. Treasury and government agency

   $ 6   

Quoted prices for which the inputs are

unobservable

Foreign governments

     12    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Corporate obligations

     281    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Mortgage-backed securities

     

Residential mortgage-backed agency

     48    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Residential mortgage-backed non-agency

     230    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Commercial mortgage-backed

     31    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Asset-backed securities

     

Collateralized debt obligations

     285    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Other asset-backed

     586    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

State and municipal bonds

     

Tax-exempt bonds

     50    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Taxable bonds

     —      Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Perpetual preferred securities

     77    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Other investments

     19    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Derivative assets

     771    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs
         

Total Level 3 assets at fair value

   $   2,396   
         

Medium-term notes

     110    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Derivative liabilities

     4,561    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs
         

Total Level 3 liabilities at fair value

   $ 4,671   
         

 

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES (continued)

 

In millions

   December 31, 2008   

Valuation Technique

Investments:

     

U.S. Treasury and government agency

   $ 32    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Foreign governments

     130    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Corporate obligations

     587    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Mortgage-backed securities

     

Residential mortgage-backed agency

     156    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Residential mortgage-backed non-agency

     397    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Commercial mortgage-backed

     37    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Asset-backed securities

     

Collateralized debt obligations

     553    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Other asset-backed

     905    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

State and municipal bonds

     

Tax-exempt bonds

     49    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Taxable bonds

     46    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Perpetual preferred securities

     45    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable

Other investments

     58    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Derivative assets

     807    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs
         

Total Level 3 assets at fair value

   $   3,802   
         

Medium-term notes

     176    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs

Derivative liabilities

     6,305    Quoted prices for which the inputs are unobservable or valuation models with significant unobservable inputs
         

Total Level 3 liabilities at fair value

   $ 6,481   
         

Level 3 assets were $2.4 billion and $3.8 billion as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively, and represented approximately 17% and 21%, respectively, of total assets measured at fair value. Level 3 liabilities were $4.7 billion and $6.5 billion as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively, and represented approximately 99% and 97%, respectively, of total liabilities measured at fair value.

Transfers into and out of Level 3 were $114 million and $871 million, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2009. Transfers into and out of Level 3 were principally for available-for-sale securities where inputs, which are significant to their valuation, became observable or unobservable during the period. These inputs included spreads, yield curves observable at commonly quoted intervals, and market corroborated inputs. Foreign governments and corporate obligations comprised the majority of the transferred instruments. For the year ended December 31, 2009, the net unrealized gains related to the transfers into Level 3 was $15 million and the net unrealized gains related to the transfers out of Level 3 was $81 million.

Transfers into and out of Level 3 were $1.2 billion and $959 million, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2008. Transfers into and out of Level 3 were principally for available-for-sale securities where

 

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES (continued)

 

inputs, which are significant to their valuation, became observable or unobservable during the period. These inputs included spreads, prepayment speeds, default speeds, default severities, yield curves observable at commonly quoted intervals, and market corroborated inputs. Corporate obligations, CMBS and CDOs comprised the majority of the transferred instruments. For the year ended December 31, 2008, the net unrealized losses related to the transfers into Level 3 was $25 million and the net unrealized losses related to the transfers out of Level 3 was $82 million.

Fair Value Control Processes

The majority of pricing for investments is provided by third-party providers who use their own data sources and models to arrive at fair value pricing for each security. Refer to “Financial Assets” above for a discussion on the use of pricing services and brokers, as well as the validation procedures performed.

With respect to insured credit derivatives, we use a fair value validation process. We review the model results on a quarterly basis to assess the appropriateness of the assumptions and results in light of current market activity and conditions. This review is performed by internal staff with relevant expertise. If live market spreads are observable for similar transactions, those spreads are an integral part of the analysis. For example, new insured transactions that resemble existing (previously insured) transactions would be considered, as would negotiated settlements of existing transactions. However, there have been no new insured transactions in recent periods. There were several insured CDS transactions that MBIA commuted or were terminated during 2009. In some cases, MBIA did not make any payment to the counterparties and, in other cases, the amount of payment was lower than MBIA’s carrying value for the derivative. As a result, the termination amounts were lower than our related derivative liabilities. However, we did not use these transactions to adjust the valuation of other insured derivatives because we determined that there were unique characteristics to the terminated transactions that did not apply to the remaining portfolio. For example, these transactions were privately negotiated and did not reflect independent fair values. As a result of very limited observable activity, our recent reviews have focused more on internal consistency and relativity, as well as the reasonableness of modeled results given current market conditions.

Refer to the “Market Risk” section included herein for a further discussion of how the Company manages the risks inherent in its financial instruments.

Premium Revenue Recognition

The Company recognizes premium revenue in accordance with the guidance provided for financial guarantee insurance contracts. This guidance requires insurance enterprises that issue financial guarantee insurance and reinsurance contracts to recognize and measure premium revenue based on the amount of insurance protection provided during the measurement period. Periodic premium revenue is measured by applying a constant rate to the insured principal amount outstanding during the period. A constant rate for each financial guarantee insurance contract is calculated as the ratio of (a) the present value of premium received or expected to be received over the period of the contract to (b) the sum of all insured principal amounts outstanding during each period over the term of the contract. As premium revenue is recognized, unearned premium revenue liability is reduced.

An issuer of an insured financial obligation may retire the obligation prior to its scheduled maturity through legal defeasance in satisfaction of the obligation according to its indenture, which results in the Company’s obligation being extinguished under the financial guarantee contract. The Company recognizes any remaining unearned premium revenue on the insured obligation as premium revenue in the period the contract is extinguished to the extent the unearned premium revenue has been collected.

Non-refundable commitment fees are considered insurance premiums and are initially recorded under unearned premium revenue in the consolidated balance sheets when received. Once the related financial guarantee insurance policy is issued, the commitment fees are recognized as premium written and earned using the constant rate method. If the commitment agreement expires before the related financial guarantee is issued, the non-refundable commitment fee is immediately recognized as premium written and earned at that time.

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES (continued)

 

Goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the cost of acquiring a business enterprise over the fair value of the net assets acquired. Under the accounting guidance for goodwill and other intangible assets, goodwill is tested for impairment at least annually. An impairment loss is triggered if the estimated fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value. As of December 31, 2009, goodwill totaled $31 million and was related to our U.S public finance insurance operations and, as of December 31, 2008, goodwill totaled $77 million and was related to our insurance operations.

In connection with the establishment of National in the first quarter of 2009, the Company changed the composition of its insurance reporting unit. As a result, the $77 million of goodwill recorded in our insurance operations was allocated between our U.S public finance insurance and our structured finance and international insurance reporting units based on the relative fair values of each reporting unit as of January 1, 2009. Of the $77 million, $46 million was allocated to our structured finance and international insurance business and $31 million was allocated to our U.S. public finance insurance business.

We performed our annual impairment test of goodwill as of January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2010. As of January 1, 2009, the fair value of insurance reporting unit exceeded its carrying value indicating that goodwill was not impaired. As of January 1, 2010, the fair value of our U.S. public finance reporting unit exceeded its carrying value indicating that goodwill is not impaired. However, the fair value of our structured finance and international insurance reporting unit did not exceed its carrying value, indicating that goodwill was impaired. Such impairment was primarily driven by continued deterioration in the performance of insured RMBS and CDO transactions. As a result, in the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company recorded an impairment loss of $46 million, representing the full amount of goodwill recorded in our structured finance and international insurance reporting unit.

In performing our impairment tests of goodwill as of January 1, 2010, we calculated the fair value of our structured finance and international insurance reporting unit and our U.S. public finance insurance reporting unit utilizing discounted cash flow modeling. The inputs to our valuation models included our estimates of market participant assumptions.

Alternative valuation methods used to assess goodwill would have likely produced different fair values. However, we believe that the valuation method described above provides the best estimates of fair value. Refer to “Note 13: Goodwill” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information about our accounting for goodwill.

Deferred Income Taxes

Deferred income taxes are recorded with respect to the temporary differences between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and the reported amounts in the Company’s financial statements that will result in deductible or taxable amounts in future years when the reported amounts of assets and liabilities are recovered or settled. Such temporary differences relate principally to premium revenue recognition, deferred acquisition costs, unrealized appreciation or depreciation of investments and derivatives, invested asset impairments, and deferred compensation.

Valuation allowances are established to reduce deferred tax assets to an amount that more likely than not will be realized. Changes in the amount of a valuation allowance are reflected within our provision for income taxes in the statement of operations. Determining whether to establish a valuation allowance and, if so, the amount of the valuation allowance requires management to exercise judgment and make assumptions regarding whether such tax benefits will be realized in future periods. All evidence, both positive and negative, needs to be identified and considered in making the determination. Future realization of the existing deferred tax asset ultimately depends on management’s estimate of the future profitability and existence of sufficient taxable income of appropriate character (for example, ordinary income versus capital gains) within the carry-forward period available under the tax law. In the event that the Company’s estimate of taxable income is less than that required to utilize the full amount of any deferred tax asset, a valuation allowance would be established. As of December 31, 2009 and 2008, the Company’s valuation allowance included in its deferred tax asset was $490 million and $351 million, respectively.

 

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES (continued)

 

Refer to “Note 14: Income Taxes” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information about the Company’s deferred income taxes.

RECENT ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS

Recent Accounting Developments

Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities (ASU 2009-17)

In December 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2009-17, “Consolidations (Topic 810)—Improvements to Financial Reporting by Enterprises Involved with Variable Interest Entities,” to require the holder of a variable interest(s) in a VIE to determine whether it holds a controlling financial interest in a VIE. A holder of a variable interest (or combination of variable interests) that has a controlling financial interest in a VIE is considered the primary beneficiary and is required to consolidate the VIE. The accounting guidance deems controlling financial interest as both (a) the power to direct the activities of a VIE that most significantly impact the VIE’s economic performance and (b) the obligation to absorb losses or the rights to receive benefits of the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. This accounting guidance eliminates the more quantitative approach for determining the primary beneficiary of a VIE. The accounting guidance will require an ongoing reassessment of whether a holder of a variable interest is the primary beneficiary of a VIE and is effective for the Company as of January 1, 2010. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact of adopting this guidance and, at this time, expects that the adoption of this standard will have a material impact on its consolidated assets and liabilities. The Company believes that the adoption of this accounting standard will not have an impact on its liquidity.

Refer to “Note 3: Recent Accounting Pronouncements” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion about accounting guidance recently adopted by the Company, as well as other recent accounting developments relating to guidance not yet adopted by the Company.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Summary of Consolidated Results

The following table presents a summary of our consolidated financial results for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007:

 

In millions except for per share amounts

   2009    2008     2007  

Total revenues (losses)

   $ 2,954    $ (857   $ (273

Total expenses

     1,737      2,871        2,793   
                       

Pre-tax income (loss)

   $ 1,217    $ (3,728   $ (3,066

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

     583      (1,055     (1,144
                       

Net income (loss)

   $ 634    $ (2,673   $ (1,922
                       

Net income (loss) available to common shareholders

   $ 623    $ (2,673   $ (1,922
                       

Net income (loss) per share

   $ 2.99    $ (12.11   $ (14.93

For the year ended December 31, 2009, we recorded consolidated net income of $623 million or $2.99 per share, after adjusting for preferred stock dividends of MBIA Insurance Corporation, compared with a net loss of $2.7 billion or $12.11 per share for 2008. Weighted average shares outstanding totaled 208 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, down 6% from 2008 as a result of repurchases of common stock by the Company.

Consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2009 were $3.0 billion compared with a loss of $857 million for the same period of 2008. The increase in our consolidated revenues principally reflects unrealized gains on insured derivatives and an increase in insurance fees, partially offset by a reduction in net investment income and lower realized losses from the sale of securities and other-than-temporary impairments.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (continued)

 

Consolidated expenses for the year ended December 31, 2009 were $1.7 billion compared with expenses of $2.9 billion for 2008. The decrease in our consolidated expenses was primarily due to a decline in interest expense as a result of a reduction in outstanding debt within our investment management services operations. Additionally, losses and LAE incurred on financial guarantee insurance policies decreased due to a decline in losses incurred on our RMBS exposure.

For the year ended December 31, 2008, we recorded a consolidated net loss of $2.7 billion or $12.11 per share, compared with a net loss of $1.9 billion or $14.93 per share for 2007. Weighted average shares outstanding totaled 220 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, up 71% from 2007 as a result of issuing common stock in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2008 were a loss $857 million compared with a loss of $272 million for 2007. The decrease in our consolidated revenues principally resulted from a decline in net investment income and an increase in realized losses on insured derivatives, the sale of securities, and other-than-temporary impairments of securities, partially offset by a decrease in unrealized losses on insured derivatives.

Consolidated expenses for the year ended December 31, 2008 were $2.9 billion compared with $2.8 billion for 2007. The increase in our consolidated expenses was principally due to additional loss and LAE incurred on our insured RMBS exposure and an increase in insurance operating expenses.

Our consolidated book value (total shareholders’ equity) was $2.6 billion as of December 31, 2009, increasing from $994 million as of December 31, 2008. The increase in our consolidated book value was principally driven by net income available to common shareholders and a decrease in net unrealized losses on investment securities recorded in accumulated other comprehensive loss. Our consolidated book value per share as of December 31, 2009 was $12.66, increasing from $4.78 as of December 31, 2008.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (continued)

 

U.S. Public Finance Insurance and Structured Finance and International Insurance Operations

As described in the previous “Business Description” section, in the first quarter of 2009 we separated our insurance operations into two segments; U.S. public finance insurance and structured finance and international insurance. However, in order to provide a basis of comparison for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008, and 2007, we have combined the results of our U.S. public finance insurance and structured finance and international insurance segments in the discussions that follow. Where practical, we have provided information about the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 separately for our U.S. public finance insurance segment and our structured finance and international insurance segment. Additionally, the results presented in this section include revenues and expenses from transactions with our investment management services and corporate operations:

 

    2009     2008     2007     Percent Change  

In millions

  U.S.
Public
Finance
  Structured
Finance and
International
    Eliminations     Combined
Insurance
Operations
    Insurance
Operations
    Insurance
Operations
    2009
vs.
2008
    2008
vs.
2007
 

Net premiums earned

  $ 563   $ 333      $ (135   $ 761      $ 880      $ 740      -14   19

Net investment income

    217     287        —          504        584        573      -14   2

Fees and reimbursements

    15     234        (136     113        9        20      n/m      -54

Change in fair value of insured derivatives:

               

Realized gains (losses) and other settlements on insured derivatives

    1     (167     —          (166     (397     116      58   n/m   

Unrealized gains (losses) on insured derivatives

    0     1,650        —          1,650        (1,822     (3,727   n/m      51
                                                         

Net change in fair value of insured derivatives

    1     1,483        —          1,484        (2,219     (3,611   n/m      39

Net gains (losses) on financial instruments at fair value and foreign exchange

    —       37        —          37        209        121      -82   72

Net realized gains (losses)

    23     (73     —          (50     (35     56      -42   n/m   

Investment losses related to other-than-temporary impairments:

               

Investment losses related to other-than-temporary impairments

    —       (270     —          (270     —          —        -100   0

Other-than-temporary impairments recognized in accumulated other comprehensive loss

    —       168        —          168        —          —        100   0
                                                         

Net investment losses related to other-than-temporary impairments

    —       (102     —          (102     —          —        -100   0

Net gains on extinguishment of debt

    —       14        —          14        39        —        -65   100
                                                         

Total revenues

    819     2,213        (271     2,761        (533     (2,101   n/m      75
                                                         

Losses and loss adjustment

    94     770        —          864        1,318        900      -34   46

Amortization of deferred acquisition costs

    116     217        (251     82        75        67      9   12

Operating

    58     179        (20     217        208        133      5   56

Interest

    —       223        —          223        190        82      18   133
                                                         

Total expenses

    268     1,389        (271     1,386        1,791        1,182      -23   51
                                                         

Pre-tax income (loss)

  $ 551   $ 824      $ —        $ 1,375      $ (2,324   $ (3,283   n/m      29
                                                         

 

n/m—Percentage change not meaningful.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (continued)

 

In 2009, the Company did not write any material U.S. public finance insurance or any structured finance and international insurance. The lack of insurance writings in each segment reflects the impact of the downgrades of the insurance financial strength of MBIA by the major rating agencies that occurred in 2008 and 2009, and the impact of litigation over the formation of National in 2009. The Company does not expect to write a material amount of new business prior to an upgrade of the insurance financial strength ratings of its insurance subsidiaries and market acceptance that such ratings will be stable in the future. The timing of any such upgrade is uncertain and will depend on a variety of quantitative and qualitative factors used by the rating agencies in their evaluation, including the resolution of pending litigation. The Company believes that it will resume writing business in the U.S. public finance market before actively re-engaging in the structured finance and international markets.

Net premiums earned on non-derivative financial guarantees for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007 are presented in the following table. Net premiums earned represent gross premiums earned net of premiums ceded to reinsurers, and include scheduled premium earnings and premium earnings from refunded issues.

 

               Percent Change  

In millions

   2009    2008    2007    2009
vs.
2008
    2008
vs.
2007
 

Net premiums earned:

             

U.S. public finance

   $ 563    $ 506    $ 359    11   41
                                 

Structured finance and international

             

U.S.

     166      188      198    -13   -4

Non-U.S.

     167      186      183    -10   2
                                 

Total structured finance and international

   $ 333    $ 374    $ 381    -11   -2
                                 

In 2009, U.S. public finance net premiums earned of $563 million increased $57 million or 11% compared with 2008. The increase was attributable to an increase in scheduled premiums earned of $137 million related to premium earnings on policies assumed from FGIC in 2008. This increase was partially offset by a decrease in refunding activity of $80 million compared with 2008. The decrease is consistent with the overall decline in refundings experienced in the municipal market during 2009.

In 2008, U.S. public finance net premiums earned of $506 million increased $147 million or 41% compared with 2007. The increase was primarily due to an increase in refunding activity of $128 million compared with 2007. The increase in refunded premiums earned was consistent with an observed overall increase in the refunding of debt obligations by municipal issuers compared with 2007. Additionally, scheduled premiums earned increased $20 million mostly due to premium earnings on policies assumed from FGIC in the third quarter of 2008.

In 2009, structured finance and international net premiums earned of $333 million decreased $41 million or 11% compared with 2008. The decrease was primarily due to a reduction in structured finance premium earnings related to applying the new earnings methodology prescribed for financial guarantee insurance contracts effective January 1, 2009, partially offset by the recognition of $45 million of premiums related to the termination of MBIA’s remaining Eurotunnel exposure. Additionally, the maturity of policies in prior periods has adversely affected premiums earned in 2009.

In 2008, structured finance and international net premiums earned of $374 million decreased $7 million or 2% compared with 2007. The decrease is related to a decline in U.S. structured finance business of $10 million compared with 2007 and reflects the maturity and termination of policies in the absence of new business. Partially offsetting the decrease was an increase in non-U.S. premiums earned of $3 million or 2% primarily related to non-U.S. public finance business.

CREDIT QUALITY Financial guarantee insurance companies use a variety of approaches to assess the underlying credit risk profile of their insured portfolios. MBIA uses both an internally developed credit rating

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (continued)

 

system as well as third-party rating sources in the analysis of credit quality measures of its insured portfolio. In evaluating credit risk, we obtain, when available, the underlying rating of the insured obligation before the benefit of its insurance policy from nationally recognized rating agencies, Moody’s and S&P. Other companies within the financial guarantee industry may report credit quality information based upon internal ratings that would not be comparable to our presentation.

The following table presents the credit quality distribution of MBIA’s outstanding net par insured as of December 31, 2009 and 2008. All ratings are as of the period presented and represent S&P ratings. If transactions are not rated by S&P, a Moody’s equivalent rating is used. If transactions are not rated by either S&P or Moody’s, an MBIA equivalent rating is used.

 

      December 31, 2009     December 31, 2008  
     Net Par Outstanding     Net Par Outstanding  

In millions

Rating

       Amount            %             Amount            %      

U.S. public finance:

          

AAA

   $ 21,278    4.2   $ 19,113    3.4

AA

     236,065    46.5     255,958    45.9

A

     200,893    39.5     225,021    40.4

BBB

     47,029    9.3     53,822    9.7

Below investment grade

     2,725    0.5     3,312    0.6
                          

Total

   $ 507,990    100.0   $ 557,226    100.0
                          

Structured finance and international:

          

AAA

   $ 87,210    42.6   $ 121,542    53.0

AA

     13,981    6.8     20,555    9.0

A

     39,437    19.3     21,039    9.2

BBB

     33,393    16.4     39,601    17.3

Below investment grade

     30,508    14.9     26,575    11.5
                          

Total

   $ 204,529    100.0   $ 229,312    100.0
                          

As of December 31, 2009, total U.S. public finance net par outstanding rated A or above, before giving effect to MBIA’s guarantee, remained flat at 90% compared with December 31, 2008. As of December 31, 2009 and 2008, net par outstanding rated below investment grade was less than 1%.

As of December 31, 2009, total structured finance and international net par outstanding rated A or above, before giving effect to MBIA’s guarantee, was 69% compared with 71% as of December 31, 2008. Adverse changes in the ratings of our structured finance and international net par outstanding was principally a result of ratings downgrades on our mortgage-related exposure. As of December 31, 2009 and 2008, 15% and 12%, respectively, of net par outstanding was rated below investment grade.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (continued)

 

INVESTMENT INCOME Net investment income in our insurance operations for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, and ending investment asset balances at amortized cost as of December 31, 2009 and 2008 are presented in the following tables:

 

     2009   2008   2007   Percent Change  

In millions

Net Investment Income

  U.S. Public
Finance
  Structured
Finance and
International
  Eliminations   Combined
Insurance
Operations
  Insurance
Operations
  Insurance
Operations
  2009
vs.
2008
    2008
vs.
2007
 

Core net investment income

  $ 217   $ 221   $ —     $ 438   $ 528   $ 493   -17   7

VIE investment income

    —       66     —       66     56     80   18   -30
                                               

Pre-tax investment income

  $ 217   $ 287   $ —     $ 504   $ 584   $ 573   -14   2

After-tax investment income

  $ 171   $ 194   $ —     $ 365   $ 455   $ 449   -20   1

 

    December 31, 2009   December 31, 2008  

In millions

Investments at Amortized Cost

  U.S. Public
Finance
  Structured
Finance and
International
  Eliminations   Combined
Insurance
Operations
  Pre-tax
yield (1)
    Insurance
Operations
  Pre-tax
yield (1)
 

Core fixed-income securities:

             

Tax-exempt

  $ 2,624   $ 55   $ —     $ 2,679   4.40   $ 3,157   4.49

Taxable

    2,348     1,177     —       3,525   6.57     3,454   5.69

Short-term

    285     966     —       1,251   1.39     1,542   2.16
                                 

Total fixed-income

  $ 5,257   $ 2,198   $ —     $ 7,455   4.92   $ 8,153   4.56

Other

    —       10     —       10       49  
                                 

Core asset balances at amortized cost

  $ 5,257   $ 2,208   $ —     $ 7,465     $ 8,202  

VIE assets at amortized cost

    —       1,821     —       1,821       1,846  
                                 

Ending asset balances at amortized cost

  $ 5,257   $ 4,029   $ —     $ 9,286     $ 10,048  
                                 

 

(1)—Estimated yield-to-maturity.

For the year ended December 31, 2009, our U.S. public finance insurance investment portfolio generated $217 million of pre-tax net investment income, excluding net realized gains and losses. Invested assets in this segment were principally funded by capital contributions to National and the assumption of U.S. public finance premiums from MBIA Corp., including those premiums assigned under the reinsurance agreement with FGIC on February 17, 2009. Additionally, National entered into simultaneous repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements with our asset/liability products segment, which provides yield enhancement to our U.S. public finance insurance investment portfolio as a result of increased net interest earnings from these collective agreements. As of December 31, 2009, the notional amount utilized under these agreements was $1.7 billion.

For the year ended December 31, 2009, our structured finance and international insurance investment portfolio generated $221 million of pre-tax net investment income, excluding net realized gains and losses. Invested assets in this segment declined due to dividends and returns of capital from MBIA Corp. to MBIA Inc. and the cession of MBIA Corp.’s U.S. public finance business to National on February 17, 2009.

In 2008, MBIA Corp. entered into a $2.0 billion secured lending agreement with our asset/liability products segment. Interest income on this arrangement, totaling approximately $60 million in 2009, is included in our structured finance and international insurance net investment income. As of December 31, 2009, the amount outstanding from our asset/liability products segment under this agreement was $1.6 billion. During the fourth quarter of 2009, a total of $400 million of the secured loan was repaid.

In 2009, our combined insurance pre-tax net investment income, excluding net realized gains and losses, decreased 14% to $504 million from $584 million in 2008. The decrease in pre-tax net investment income reflects a decline in average invested assets as a result of loss payments made over the past 12 months. After-tax net

 

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investment income decreased 20% in 2009 compared with 2008. The larger decrease in after-tax net investment income compared with 2008 resulted from a higher proportion of taxable investments held during 2009.

VIE investment income is generated from interest bearing assets held by such entities and supports the payment of interest expense on debt issued by these entities. In 2009, the increase in VIE investment income primarily resulted from the consolidation of additional VIE’s by MBIA Corp. in the fourth quarter of 2008. Excluding interest income related to VIEs, combined insurance net investment income decreased 17% on a pre-tax basis and 23% on an after-tax basis in 2009 compared with 2008.

In 2008, our insurance operation’s pre-tax net investment income, excluding net realized gains and losses, increased 2% to $584 million from $573 million in 2007. The increase in pre-tax net investment income reflects growth in average invested assets from the proceeds of our surplus notes and the Warburg Pincus equity transactions and, to a lesser extent, proceeds from our reinsurance transaction with FGIC. The effect of the increase in average invested assets was partially offset by a decrease in yields on tax-exempt and short-term investments. After-tax net investment income increased 1% in 2008 as the proportion of taxable investments increased compared with 2007.

In 2008, the decrease in VIE investment income compared with 2007 primarily resulted from a decline in floating interest rates on VIE assets. Excluding interest income related to VIEs and interest income related to Northwest Airlines’ enhanced equipment trust certificates (“EETCs”) received as part of a remediation, which the Company sold in June 2007, insurance-related net investment income decreased 4% on a pre-tax basis and 10% on an after-tax basis in 2008 compared with 2007.

FEES AND REIMBURSEMENTS For the year ended December 31, 2009, combined insurance fees and reimbursements were $113 million compared with $9 million for the same period of 2008. The increase in fees and reimbursements was primarily due to the receipt of amounts in excess of those which were contractually due to MBIA upon the termination of certain reinsurance agreements, totaling $85 million, advisory fees of $7 million on a Latin American infrastructure transaction, and an increase in waiver and consent fees related to the ongoing management of our structured finance and international insurance business. For the year ended December 31, 2008, combined insurance fees and reimbursements decreased $11 million or 54% compared with 2007 as a result of a reduction in expense reimbursements associated with loss prevention efforts. Due to the transaction-specific nature inherent in fees and reimbursements, these revenues can vary significantly period to period.

NET CHANGE IN FAIR VALUE OF INSURED DERIVATIVES MBIA has sold credit protection by insuring derivative contracts with various financial institutions. As of December 31, 2009, we had $119.2 billion of net par outstanding on insured derivatives compared with $140.3 billion as of December 31, 2008. During the year ended December 31, 2009, 23 insured credit derivative transactions, representing $15.2 billion in net par outstanding, either matured or were contractually terminated prior to maturity.

In certain cases, the Company reinsured credit derivative transactions thereby purchasing credit protection on a portion of the risk written. Substantially all of the Company’s insured derivative exposure was written by its structured finance and international insurance segment. Insured derivatives within the Company’s U.S. public finance insurance segment primarily relate to interest rate swaps that were insured with municipal debt obligations.

Changes in fair value of the insured derivatives are recorded in “Net change in fair value of insured derivatives” in the consolidated statements of operations. The “Realized gains (losses) and other settlements on insured derivatives” include (i) premiums received and receivable on written derivative contracts, (ii) premiums paid and payable to reinsurers in respect of derivative contracts, (iii) net amounts received or paid on reinsurance commutations, (iv) losses paid and payable to derivative contract counterparties due to the occurrence of a credit event or settlement agreement, (v) losses recovered and recoverable on purchased derivative contracts due to the occurrence of a credit event or settlement agreement, and (vi) fees relating to derivative contracts. The “Unrealized gains (losses) on insured derivatives” include all other changes in fair value of the insured derivative

 

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contracts. The following table presents the net premiums earned related to derivatives and the components of the net change in fair value of insured derivatives for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007:

 

    2009     2008     2007     Percent Change  

In millions

  U.S. Public
Finance
    Structured
Finance and
International
    Eliminations   Combined
Insurance
Operations
    Insurance
Operations
    Insurance
Operations
    2009
vs.
2008
    2008
vs.
2007
 

Net premiums and fees earned on insured derivatives

  $ 1      $ 123      $ —     $ 124      $ 137      $ 116      -10   18

Realized gains (losses) on insured derivatives

    —          (290     —       (290     (534     —        46   n/m   
                                                         

Realized gains (losses) and other settlements on insured derivatives

    1        (167     —       (166     (397     116      58   n/m   

Unrealized gains (losses) on insured derivatives

    (0     1,650        —       1,650        (1,822     (3,727   190   51
                                                         

Net change in fair value of insured derivatives

  $ 1      $ 1,483      $ —     $ 1,484      $ (2,219   $ (3,611   167   39
                                                         

 

n/m—Percentagechange not meaningful.

The Company no longer insures new credit derivative contracts except in transactions related to the restructuring or reduction of existing derivative exposure. As a result, premiums earned related to insured credit derivatives will decrease over time as exposure to such transactions declines. Realized losses on insured derivatives for the year ended December 31, 2009 resulted from the settlement of three CDO transactions and payments related to a multi-sector CDO transaction. Realized losses on insured derivatives for the year ended December 31, 2008 resulted from the settlement of all or a portion of four CDO transactions. Settlements in 2009 were $159 million for $1.3 billion of par outstanding compared with settlements in 2008 of $558 million for $2.7 billion of par outstanding.

Unrealized gains for the year ended December 31, 2009 were $1.7 billion compared with unrealized losses in 2008 of $1.8 billion. Unrealized gains in 2009 were primarily related to changes in MBIA’s CDS and recovery swaps pricing, narrower collateral spreads, and transaction terminations, partially offset by losses from enhancements to our valuation models and inputs, subordination erosion, lower estimated recovery rates on collateral and collateral rating migration. The main enhancements to our valuation models and inputs were the development of a direct pricing model for multi-sector CDOs, assumptions about ABS collateral defaults, the calculation of nonperformance risk for CDOs, and the refinement of a spread model for CMBS transactions. Enhancements to our valuation models and inputs are discussed further in the “Critical Accounting Estimates” section included herein. Unrealized losses for the year ended December 31, 2008 were primarily due to spread widening, and to a lesser extent, subordination erosion, collateral rating migration and lower recovery rates. This was significantly offset by the deterioration in MBIA’s CDS spreads. For example, MBIA’s five year CDS spread as of December 31, 2007 was 3.41% per annum. As of December 31, 2008, the cost of the CDS was 46.5% upfront plus 5% per annum; and as of December 31, 2009, MBIA Corp.’s five year CDS cost was 64.25% upfront plus 5% per annum. Our mark-to-market on insured credit derivatives at year end 2009 uses the most appropriate of the one to ten year CDS for each transaction, and those costs ranged from 17.5% upfront plus 5% per annum to 64.25% upfront plus 5% per annum.

Since our insured credit derivatives have similar terms, conditions, risks, and economic profiles to our financial guarantee insurance policies, we evaluate them for impairment periodically in the same way that we estimate loss and LAE for our financial guarantee policies. Credit impairments on insured derivatives represent the present values of our estimates of expected future claim payments for such transactions, using a discount rate of 6.51%. We estimate that additional credit impairments on insured derivatives for the year ended December 31, 2009 were $777 million across 13 CDO transactions. Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2007 through December 31,

 

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2009, total credit impairments on insured derivatives were estimated at $2.5 billion across 16 CDO transactions, inclusive of eight CDO transactions for which we realized net losses of $838 million, net of reinsurance recoveries. The net realized losses were primarily associated with commutations, partial commutations, and restructurings or terminations of policies.

These credit impairments, a non-GAAP measure, may differ from the fair values recorded in our financial statements. The fair value of an insured derivative contract will be influenced by a variety of market and transaction-specific factors that may be unrelated to potential future claim payments. In the absence of credit impairments or the termination of derivatives at losses, the cumulative unrealized losses recorded from fair valuing insured derivatives should reverse before or at the maturity of the contracts. Contracts also may be settled prior to maturity at amounts that may be more or less than their recorded fair values. Those settlements can result in realized gains or losses, and the reversal of unrealized losses.

The Company is not required to post collateral to counterparties of these contracts, thereby avoiding liquidity risks typical of standard credit derivative contracts. Refer to “Note 24: Commitment and Contingencies” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information about legal actions commenced by MBIA with respect to certain CDS contracts. The outcome of such legal actions may affect the amount of realized losses ultimately incurred by the Company. Costs associated with mitigating credit impairments on insured derivatives are expensed as incurred and included within “Operating expenses” in our consolidated statements of operations. Such costs totaled $22 million, and $6 million for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008. The Company did not incur such costs in 2007.

NET REALIZED GAINS AND LOSSES Combined insurance net realized losses totaled $50 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared with net realized losses of $35 million in 2008 and net realized gains of $56 million in 2007. The net realized losses for the year ended December 31, 2009 were primarily related to impairment charges in our structured finance and international insurance segment, partially offset by net gains from sales of investment securities within our U.S. public finance insurance and our structured finance and international insurance portfolios. Net realized losses for the year ended December 31, 2008 were largely due to sales of investment securities. Net realized gains in 2007 included $32 million of gains related to the disposition of Delta and Northwest Airlines’ EETCs the Company received from insurance remediations.

NET GAINS AND LOSSES ON FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS AT FAIR VALUE AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE Combined insurance net gains and losses on financial instruments at fair value and foreign exchange primarily represent foreign exchange gains and losses on the sale of investments and translation of non-functional currency activities. For the year ended December 31, 2009, net gains on financial instruments at fair value and foreign exchange were $37 million compared with $209 million in 2008 and $121 million in 2007. Net gains for the year ended December 31, 2009 were generated by our structured finance and international insurance segment and were primarily due to net gains from foreign exchange. Net gains for the year ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 were largely due to gains resulting from the change in value of a credit facility of $250 million and $110 million, respectively, which was terminated in the fourth quarter of 2008. Gains on this facility were due to an increase in the differential between the company’s CDS spreads and the yield applicable to the facility.

INVESTMENT LOSSES RELATED TO OTHER-THAN-TEMPORARY IMPAIRMENTS Combined insurance investment losses related to other-than-temporary impairments totaled $102 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 and primarily resulted from the impairment of assets within consolidated VIEs. Refer to the “Liquidity” section included herein for additional information about impaired investments.

LOSSES AND LOSS ADJUSTMENT EXPENSES MBIA’s insured portfolio management groups within its U.S. public finance and structured finance and international insurance businesses (collectively, “IPM”) are responsible for monitoring MBIA-insured issues. The level and frequency of MBIA’s monitoring of any insured issue depends on the type, size, rating and performance of the insured issue. If IPM identifies concerns with respect to the performance of an insured issue it may designate such insured issue as “Caution List-Low,” “Caution List-Medium,” “Caution List-High,” or “Classified.”

The amounts included within this “Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses” section exclude realized and unrealized gains and losses and estimated credit impairments on insured credit derivatives. Refer to the “Net Change in Fair

 

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Value of Insured Derivatives” section included herein for information about payments we have made or expect to make under insured credit derivative transactions.

Refer to “Note 3: Recent Accounting Pronouncements” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information about the impact of newly effective guidance related to the accounting for financial guarantee insurance contracts. Additionally, a further description of the Company’s loss reserving policy is included in “Note 2: Significant Accounting Policies” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

The following tables present information about our insurance reserves and recoverables as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, as well as our loss and LAE provision for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007:

 

     December 31,       
     2009    2008       

In millions

   U.S.
Public
Finance
   Structured
Finance and
International
   Combined
Insurance
Operations
   Insurance
Operations
   Percent
Change
2009

vs.
2008
 

Gross losses and LAE reserves

   $ 184    $ 2,227    $ 2,411    $ 1,889    28

Expected recoveries on unpaid losses

     2      829      831      563    48
                                  

Subtotal

     182      1,398