In the third quarter of 2011, the Company estimated $497 million of incremental economic losses on certain insured transactions backed by pools of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). The majority of the increase reflects the Company’s revised expectations for the costs of commuting such transactions. The balance was due to deterioration within some insured transactions during the quarter and an adjustment made to the Company’s loss expectations reflecting an increased probability of a recession. While loss severities on liquidated properties have trended lower from the highs seen a year ago, they remain in excess of historical norms, leading to deductible erosion in some of our insured transactions.

In the third quarter of 2011, the Company closed commutation agreements with four counterparties, three of which were announced in conjunction with the release of its second quarter 2011 financial results. The Company closed an additional commutation in the third quarter after the second quarter announcement. The total amount of insured exposure commuted in the third quarter was $8.5 billion, consisting of certain multi-sector CDO and investment grade corporate CDO transactions. After September 30, 2011, the Company agreed to commute transactions with additional counterparties. The transactions, comprising primarily commercial real estate, total $10.6 billion in insured exposure.

In the third quarter of 2011, the Company increased its expectations for incremental economic losses on certain first-lien RMBS transactions by $109 million, reflecting higher loss severities upon foreclosures within certain insured Alt-A mortgage loan securitizations.

Portions of the $631 million of total economic losses are on policies subject to insurance accounting while other amounts relate to losses on insured VIEs or insured credit derivatives for which GAAP specifies alternative accounting. The following is a summary of third quarter economic losses based on those categories:
     

3Q 2011 Economic Losses (Benefit)
$ in millions
 

Change in Expected Payments
$234
Change in Insurance Recoveries (54)
Loss & LAE Expense on Policies Subject to Insurance Accounting $180
 
Credit Impairments on Insured VIEs $35
 
Credit Impairments on Insured Credit Derivatives $422
LAE on Insured Credit Derivatives (6)
Credit Impairments and LAE on Insured Credit Derivatives $416
 
Total Economic Losses (Benefit) $631
 

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