Facing tight credit that's likely to become costlier still and the need to find cash to fuel renewed economic growth, companies are looking at their captive insurance programs to identify ways to make better or more efficient use of the funds deployed in those operations. That's the finding of this year's captive insurance benchmarking study by brokerage Marsh.

Companies want to reduce the amount of money that's tied up in posting collateral and meeting the capital requirements of regulators, says Scott Gemmell, a senior vice president at Bermuda-based Marsh Captive Solutions Group and author of the survey.

The most common strategies include "captives returning surplus funds to parent companies through the use of intercompany loans, captives investing in parent company commercial paper, and captives setting up lease-back deals for fixed assets and equipment of the parent company," says Gemmell.

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