Bond insurers' expansion into new businesses like cash management and guaranteed investment contracts are not currently a threat to the insurers' triple-A ratings, but they do have a cost, according to a report released yesterday by Standard & Poor's Corp.

"Even though these companies are perceived as low risk, [there is] no free ride" with expansion, said Richard P. Smith, managing director at Standard & Poor's. "I don't think they're being reckless, [but] there are costs of being in these businesses."

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