The appointment last week of Paula Rosput Reynolds as chief restructuring officer at least infers that AIG is taking steps to dispose of assets, but the time to act is now, not when cash has been depleted to nothing.

Prudential PLC ( PUK), whose CEO, Mark Tucker, indicated an interest in certain assets of AIG, has kept quiet recently about the possibility of a purchase. Now, MetLife ( MET) is thought to have emerged as a possible suitor.

In its earnings call Thursday, MetLife CEO Robert Henrikson was asked by an analyst if it would use the capital purchase program to finance acquisitions. He responded: "I cannot possibly comment," at which point the analyst said, "I will take that as a yes," generating considerable laughter. MetLife executives offered no rebuttal to that inference.

MetLife recorded $639 million profit for the quarter and posted an unexpected 16% increase in revenue. Henrikson confirmed during the call that it is a bank holding company and is allowed access to the federal program, but that he had no comment to make other than that MetLife is well capitalized and has a strong balance sheet. Ratings issues financial strength ratings for 4,000 life, health, annuity, and property/casualty insurers are available at no charge on the Insurers & HMOs Screener. In addition, the Financial Strength Ratings on each of the nation's 8,600 banks and savings and loans are available on the Banks & Thrifts Screener.

For more coverage from Ratings team, check out Ratings section.
Gavin Magor joined Ratings in 2008, and is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to health insurers and supporting other health care-related consumer products, including Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance and elder care information. He conducts industry analysis in these areas. He has more than 20 years' international experience in credit risk management, commercial lending and analysis, working in the U.K., Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. He holds a master's degree in business administration from The Open University in the U.K.

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