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Insurer American International Group (AIG) posted higher profits for the fourth quarter and full-year 2011 on deferred tax benefits.

The New York-based insurer reported a fourth-quarter profit of $19.8 billion, or $10.43 a share, compared to $11.2 billion, or $16.60 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

For full-year 2011, the company posted a profit of $17.8 billion, compared to $7.8 billion a year earlier.

"Fourth quarter and full year profitability reflects the tremendous commitment and focus on business fundamentals by everyone at AIG," said Robert H. Benmosche, AIG president and chief executive officer.


The company's mortgage insurance subsidiary United Guaranty helped 40,000 families retain their homes last year, the company said.

Still, the mortgage insurance unit posted a fourth-quarter operating loss of $23 million, down from income levels of $154 million in 4Q of 2010. Results for the mortgage insurance segment were negatively impacted by decreased lending in the housing market and new home loan delinquencies.

Net premiums written during the fourth quarter hit $200 million, up from $167 million a year earlier. The credit quality of newly insured loans improved with the average FICO score of aUnited Guaranty loan now at 757 and the loan-to-value ratio averaging 91%.


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