BALTIMORE - USF&G Corp. is sharpening its focus on credit unions.

The Baltimore-based insurer late last month formed its credit union services division to market what it calls a Tier 1 Portfolio for Credit Unions, which contains fidelity bonding, directors and officers liability, and other property and casualty coverage.

"This development confirms our focus on and commitment to the credit union marketplace," USF&G chairman and chief executive officer Norman P. Blake Jr. said in a release.

In 1993, USF&G introduced a fidelity bond for credit unions. It then began to develop other property and casualty insurance products for the industry.

USF&G has tried to position itself as an alternative to the CUNA Mutual Group, the dominant insurance provider for the industry. Some credit unions have grumbled that the premiums they paid CUNA Mutual have been too high and that they are subsidizing other, riskier institutions.

"USF&G represents a fresh approach to our business," said Gerry Toland, chief executive of Red Stone Federal Credit Union and a member of the USF&G credit union advisory board.

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