New UG CEO to Continue Same Track

DEC 21, 2012 5:51pm ET

United Guaranty Corp.’s soon-to-be new chief executive is looking to continue the same policies her two immediate predecessors put into place that has led the company to be No. 1 in new insurance written.

But unlike Eric Martinez and Kim Garland, both of whom came from a property/casualty insurance background, Donna DeMaio brings more of a banker/lender perspective to the position. She will become CEO when Garland moves up to chief underwriting officer for global consumer insurance at parent company American International Group Inc.

Before joining UGC in May as chief operating officer (the post Garland occupied prior to his promotion to UGC CEO), she had been president and CEO of MetLife Bank starting in 2005 until its sale to GE in December 2011.

Among the operations in her oversight included MetLife Home Loans.

“My predecessors have built a very solid base here at United Guaranty and quite honestly, I consider myself quite lucky to be able to build off that base. At my prior job, I had to build a base myself. It is a nice position to be in,” DeMaio declared.

And while she worked on the banking side at MetLife, the parent company is an insurer, so she is familiar with how the business operates.

Stepping in at UGC has helped to give a perspective from the lender point of view to people whose only experience had been in the insurance business.

Industry figures have shown the private mortgage insurance execution growing its market share in recent months and the issues involving the Federal Housing Administration and its need to raise money for MMI Fund could further eliminate the gap between two, DeMaio said.

By having private mortgage insurance in the system, it will help meet the goals of increasing private capital and reducing government involvement, she said.

As for UGC, the company has reached its planned growth in sales staff given the current economic environment. But if loan originations start to grow again, the company is willing to increase its sales force.

She will also continue the risk-based pricing program which Martinez and Garland put in place. UGC is unique among the private mortgage insurers in using this form of pricing.

DeMaio said this is one of the keys to UGC’s recent success. It provides “a very competitive price” for its policies, particularly to those borrowers with the highest credit quality.

Another reason for UGC’s growth is that it is strong financially, with support from AIG, she said.