|Source:||Hartford Courant (CT)|
June 25–A new insurance provider that opened for business this month in Middletown received $1.1 million in state tax credits in exchange for a promise to add 145 jobs by 2014.
Asterisk Financial Inc., 213 Court St., specializes in its newly launched insurance product, Personal Guarantee Insurance, which is coverage of the debt obligation on loans for small- and medium-size businesses owners. If the business fails, the person who provided the loan guarantee can protect his or her assets — such as a home — from being seized by the bank. The insurance policy covers up to $5 million of loan liability.
“It’s actually to protect the guarantor against total loss of personal assets,” said Asterisk Financial chief executive Mark L. Ricciardelli. “This is more of a lifestyle product, for business owners to protect what they’ve worked for all their lives, and protect their families.”
Asterisk started two weeks ago, and already has some prospective customers. The ideal customer is an established Main Street-style business that needs a loan to grow. Asterisk isn’t interested in insuring loans for start-up companies, said Ricciardelli, 58, of Avon, who has 34 years of experience as an insurance and financial services executive for Travelers, GE Capital and other companies.
The company is licensed to sell its Personal Guarantee Insurance in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin, and has plans to add 10 other states this year and next.
Asterisk doesn’t actually have the capital to pay losses; it is an underwriter for a multinational company that Ricciardelli would not disclose.
“We’re actually a managing general underwriter,” he said.
So far, the company has eight employees and likely will grow to 25 or more in the next 12 months, he said.
“The fact that Asterisk Financial has made the decision to utilize these tax credits is great news for our state and underscores the value of this program to small businesses,” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said.
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