AIG Insurance Company
AIG traces its roots to 1919, when American Cornelius Vander Starr
established a general insurance agency, American Asiatic Underwriters, in
Shanghai, China. Since then, an enterprising spirit, ingenuity, and tenacity
have built the company into one of the world’s leading insurers. Today, AIG
is focused on what it has been known for since the beginning: the willingness
and ability to provide insurance coverage to meet the diverse needs of its
1919-1929 AIG traces its roots to an insurance organization started by
Cornelius Vander Starr in a two- room office in Shanghai, China
1919 Cornelius Vander Starr establishes a general insurance company, American
Asiatic Underwriters, in Shanghai, China
1925 American Asiatic Underwriters expands beyond mainland China by opening
branches in Hong Kong, Indo-China (Vietnam), and the Philippines.
1926 The first US office, American International Underwriters (AIU), opens in
New York City.
1930-1939The organization expands its Asian presence and begins operations in Latin America.
1931 C.V. Starr invests in a second life insurance operation, international
Assurance Company, in Hong Kong.
1937 First Latin American market operation opens in Cuba.
1939 Company headquarters relocates from Shanghai, China, to New York City.
1940-1949 After World War II, operations begin in new markets across the
globe, including Japan and Germany.
1946 Soon after World War II, C.V. Starr opens American International
Underwriters offices, in Japan and Germany to provide insurance for the US
1949 C.V.Starr's insurance organization ceases operations in the People's
Republic of China and relocates to Hong Kong.
1950 -1959 Growth continues in the US through the acquisition of a general
insurer, and worldwide with the opening of operations in Australia and the
1951 AIU establishes its first Middle Eastern operation, in Lebanon.
1952 The acquistion of general insurer Globe and Rutgers Insurance Group,
which includes American Home brand, expands the company's domestic market
1953 AIU opens offices in the United Kingdom.
1954 Operations begin in South Korea.
1957 AIU opens in Australia.
1960-1969 American International Group, INC. (AIG) is formed as a unifying
umbrella organization and it begins a new era as a public company.
1961 Worldwide personal accident and health division established.
1966 The company begins writing Directors and Officers (D&O)
liability insurance coverage and later becomes a leading provider.
1967 American International Group (AIG) incorporates in Delaware.
1968 Maurice R. Greenberg succeeds C.V. Starr as company leader.
1969 AIG stock begins publicly trading.
1970- 1979 AIG introduces new energy, transportation, and entertainment
products to serve the needs of specialized industries.
1973 AIG enters Sweden.
1975 AIG is the first US insurance organization to establish a direct
business relationship with the People's Republic of China following a visit
by President and CEO Maurice R. Greenberg.
1977 AIG establishes a joint venture operation in Egypt.
1979 AIG forms joint venture operations with Eastern European insurers in
Hungry, Poland, and Romania.
1980- 1989 AIG lists its shares on the New York Stock Exchange and expands
its business lines to include mortgage insurance.
1980 A pollution liability program is introduced.
1981 AIG acquires mortgage insurer United Guaranty Corporation (UGC).
1984 (Oct 10) AIG begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
1987 AIG is the first foreign organization to list on the Tokyo Stock
1990-1999 AIG returns to its roots in China when it receives the first oreign
insurance license granted in over 40 years by the Chinese government. In the
US, the company acquires a leading retirement saving provider.
1992 Lloyd's of London and AIG reach an agreement to establish the first
insurance company underwriting operation located at Lloyd's.
1992 The People's Republic of China grants AIG a license to operate a life
and non-life insurance business i Shanghai.
1994 AIG receives a joint venture license to operate in Russia.
1995 AIG internet site, www.aig.com, launches.
1997 American Home, an AIG subsidiary, receives a license to market
automobile insurance to Japanese consumers.
1997 AIG launches microinsurance, a global operations, with the Foundation
for International Community Assistance (FINCA), in Uganda.
1999 AIG aquires Sun America, Inc., a leading retirement and financial
2000- 2009 AIG strengthens its position in the US life insurance market, but
by the end of the decade, a global financial crisis begins, and the US
government steps in to support the company.
2001 Tata and AIG form a joint venture general insurance company in India.
2001 AIG acquires American General Corporation .
2003 Purchasing 9.9% of capital shares, AIG invests in the People's Insurance
Company of China (PICC)
2005 Martin J. Sullivan is appointed AIG President and CEO.
2005 AIG receives a general insurance license in Vietnam.
2005 The company's Disaster Rlief Fund aids Hurricane Katrina recovery and
2006 AIG aquires Travel Guard ,a provider of travel insurance programs and
emergency travel assistance.
2007 AIG acquires Matrix Direct, Inc., a direct marketer of term life
2008 AIG Chairman Robert Willumstad becomes CEO.
2008 a FINANCIAL CRISIS HITS THE us, THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDES SUPPORT TO aig,
AND eDWARD m. Liddy becomes AIG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
2009Robert H. Benmosche is named AIG President and CEO.
2009 AIG befins using social media, with the company's first tweet on
Twitter, by Matrix Direct.
2010-present AIG restructures itself, fully repays assistance from US
government plus a profit, restores its reputation, and relaunches its brand.
2011 AIG executes its plan to repay the US government and position the US
Treasury to exit its ownership stake in AIG.
2011 The company expands in Japan by acquiring Fuji Fire and Marine, a
property casualty insurer.
2011 AIG supports relief efforts following a major earthquake and tsunami
2012 AIG rebrands and introduces a new logo.
2014 Peter D. Hancock is named AIG President and CEO.
In 1919, Cornelius Vander Starr stepped off a steamship in Shanghai determined
to make his mark in the world. Working from a two-room office, he established
American Asiatic Underwriters, an insurance agency to which we trace our roots.
Starr believed in making the world a better place and with other early company
pioneers, his organization grew across the world.
Today, AIG is a global insurance company with operations in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. We provide a range of insurance products to support our clients in business and in life, including: general property/casualty, life insurance, and retirement and financial services through our General Insurance, Life and Retirement and Investments business units. What unites us across all of these products is our commitment to helping our clients prepare for what’s next. Whether that’s helping cities and communities to prepare for and recover from natural disasters or providing a financially secure retirement for millions of Americans, we have the specialist expertise to help clients better manage risk.
Cornelius Vander Starr
Cornelius Vander Starr establishes American Asiatic Underwriters (AAU), a general insurance company, in Shanghai, China.
Group picture of 5 people including Nelle Vander Starr and Cornelius Vander Starr
Nelle Vander Starr (center) joins the company’s early operations in Shanghai, China, later becoming the first woman executive.
American International Underwriters office building in New York City
The first U.S. office, American International Underwriters (AIU), opens in New York City.
Cornelius Vander Starr disembarking a plane and being greeted in Cuba
First Latin American market operation opens in Cuba.
Front page of
Company headquarters relocate from Shanghai, China to New York City.
During World War II, many company employees — both those in the military and civilians — are affected by the global conflict. C.V. Starr helps employees and their families by providing financial support and supplies during the war and jobs after the war. Also, he personally corresponds with families of employees who were being held in an internment camp. As one employee’s mother wrote to her son, “As soon as [Mr. Starr] had any word at all from the American Red Cross about you, he phoned me. He told me you were safe.”
Two men talking to each other in front of an American International Underwriters office
Soon after World War II, C.V. Starr opens offices, in Japan and Germany to provide insurance for the U.S. military.
Lilo Wiegand, one of the women who helped build AIG, joins the company in West Berlin. During the Berlin Blockade of 1948-1949, she singlehandedly runs the West Berlin office and keeps it open serving clients. Ms. Wiegand manages the West Berlin operation for over 15 years.
Through the Marshall Plan, 1948 to1952, the United States gave almost $13 billion (more than $100 billion today) in economic support to more than a dozen European countries still recovering from the war. C.V. Starr is an early and committed supporter of the Marshall Plan, and the company plays a part by providing insurance for vital infrastructure projects in Germany, Greece, and Turkey.
The company establishes its first Middle Eastern operation, in Lebanon.
The acquisition of general insurer Globe and Rutgers Insurance Group, which includes the American Home brand, expands the company’s domestic market presence.
Two men greeting each other in front of an American International Underwriters office in the United Kingdom
Offices open in the United Kingdom.
The company provides aid to victims of the devastating floods in the Netherlands by making a $10,000 donation to support recovery efforts.
Contact cover from 1954 highlighting insurance coverage of the North Magnetic Pole expedition on the Monte Carlo
The company provides insurance coverage for a scientific expedition to the North Magnetic Pole aboard the ship, Monte Carlo. The 11-person crew faces many challenges on their way to the top of the world including strong storms and pack ice.
The Franklin Life Insurance Company (later acquired by AIG) is one of the first businesses in the U.S. to enter the computer age when it purchases a Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC). The computer performs a range of functions including premium billing, premium accounting, dividend accounting, agency commission accounting, and valuation of reserves. Experiencing phenomenal sales growth, Franklin Life management determines that new technology is necessary to keep up demand and future growth.
Operations begin in South Korea.
Offices open in Australia.
AIG provides travel accident insurance for the New York Yankees’ cross-country trips during the World Series.
American International Group, INC. Certificate of Stock 1967
American International Group (AIG) incorporates in Delaware.
Maurice R. Greenberg succeeds Cornelius Vander Starr as company leader.
Cover of American International Group Annual Report 1969
AIG stock begins publicly trading.
AIG is the first U.S. Insurance organization to establish a direct business relationship with the People’s Republic of China following a visit by President and CEO Maurice R. Greenberg.
People in a room and a sign with
AIG opens operations in Ireland, the first wholly American-owned insurer established in the country.
New York Stock Exchange trading board listing
AIG begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Page showing Chinese characters for
The People's Republic of China grants AIG a license to operate a life and non-life insurance business in Shanghai, the first foreign insurer granted a license in over 40 years by the Chinese government.
AIG acquires Sun America, Inc., a leading retirement and financial services company.
AIG launches one of the industry’s first cyber security insurance protection programs.
Front page of AIG Contact from December 2001 with an article American General Acquisition Completed: Integration Generating Valuable Synergies
AIG acquires American General Corporation, a leading life insurer
Tata and AIG form a joint venture general insurance company in India.
Martin J. Sullivan is appointed AIG President and CEO.
AIG acquires Travel Guard, a provider of travel insurance programs and emergency travel assistance.
AIG Chairman Robert Willumstad becomes CEO.
A financial crisis hits the U.S., the government provides support to AIG, and Edward M. Liddy becomes AIG Chairman and CEO.
Robert H. Benmosche is named AIG President and CEO.
Group of volunteers holding water bottles, food and other emergency supplies
An earthquake off the coast of Japan triggers a tsunami that devastates the Sendai region. In the aftermath, AIG helps coastal Japanese communities by using innovative technology to shorten claim times, and provide financial support and emergency supplies.
Acquires Fuji Fire and Marine, a leading non-life insurer in Japan.
AIG signs an agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Union to sponsor the All Blacks including Maori All Blacks, All Black Sevens, New Zealand Women’s Sevens, New Zealand Black Ferns and New Zealand Under 20s rugby teams.
Football team wearing AIG t-shirts celebrating on a football field
AIG launches sponsorship of the Dublin GAA’s hurling, football, ladies, and camogie teams in Ireland.
Peter D. Hancock is named AIG President and CEO.
AIG acquires Ageas Protect, a provider of life protection products in the United Kingdom.
AIG acquires Laya Healthcare, a leading health insurance provider in Ireland.
Brian Duperreault head shot
Brian Duperreault is named AIG President & CEO.
AIG Women's Open Flag
AIG acquires Ellipse, a specialist provider of group life risk protection in the UK.
AIG acquires Validus Holdings, Ltd. a leading provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services.
AIG becomes the Title Sponsor of the Women’s British Open (now AIG Women’s Open).AIG becomes the Title Sponsor of the Women’s British Open (now AIG Women’s Open).
AIG named official insurance partner of the PGA of America.
Peter Zaffino appointed President of AIG.
Head shot of Peter Zaffino
Peter Zaffino is named Chief Executive Officer.
Copyright © 2020 American International Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization. AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement solutions, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
A.I.G. Lists Banks It Paid With U.S. Bailout Funds
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
Published: March 15, 2009
Amid rising pressure from Congress and taxpayers, the American International Group on Sunday released the names of dozens of financial institutions that benefited from the Federal Reserve’s decision last fall to save the giant insurer from collapse with a huge rescue loan.
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press
With public anger rising, A.I.G. disclosed some financial institutions that benefited from the federal bailouts meant to prop up the troubled insurance giant.
Financial companies that received multibillion-dollar payments owed by A.I.G. include Goldman Sachs ($12.9 billion), Merrill Lynch ($6.8 billion), Bank of America ($5.2 billion), Citigroup ($2.3 billion) and Wachovia ($1.5 billion).
Big foreign banks also received large sums from the rescue, including Société Générale of France and Deutsche Bank of Germany, which each received nearly $12 billion; Barclays of Britain ($8.5 billion); and UBS of Switzerland ($5 billion).
A.I.G. also named the 20 largest states, starting with California, that stood to lose billions last fall because A.I.G. was holding money they had raised with bond sales.
In total, A.I.G. named nearly 80 companies and municipalities that benefited most from the Fed rescue, though many more that received smaller payments were left out.
The list, long sought by lawmakers, was released a day after the disclosure that A.I.G. was paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to executives at the A.I.G. division where the company’s crisis originated. That drew anger from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike on Sunday and left the Obama administration scrambling to distance itself from A.I.G.
“There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what’s happened at A.I.G. is the most outrageous,” Lawrence H. Summers, an economic adviser to President Obama who was Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, said Sunday on “This Week” on ABC. He said the administration had determined that it could not stop the bonuses.
But some members of Congress expressed outrage over the bonuses. Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat of Maryland who had demanded more information about the bonuses last December, accused the company’s chief executive, Edward M. Liddy, of rewarding reckless business practices.
“A.I.G. has been trying to play the American people for fools by giving nearly $1 billion in bonuses by the name of retention payments,” Mr. Cummings said on Sunday. “These payments are nothing but a reward for obvious failure, and it is an egregious offense to have the American taxpayers foot the bill.”
An A.I.G. spokeswoman said Sunday that the company would not identify the recipients of these bonuses, citing privacy obligations.
Ever since the insurer’s rescue began, with the Fed’s $85 billion emergency loan last fall, there have been demands for a full public accounting of how the money was used. The taxpayer assistance has now grown to $170 billion, and the government owns nearly 80 percent of the company.
But the insurance giant has refused until now to disclose the names of its trading partners, or the amounts they received, citing business confidentiality.
A.I.G. finally relented after consulting with the companies that received the government support. Mr. Liddy said in a statement on Sunday: “Our decision to disclose these transactions was made following conversations with the counterparties and the recognition of the extraordinary nature of these transactions.”
Still, the disclosure is not likely to calm the ire aimed at the company and its trading partners.
The Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, appearing on “60 Minutes” on CBS on Sunday night, said: “Of all the events and all of the things we’ve done in the last 18 months, the single one that makes me the angriest, that gives me the most angst, is the intervention with A.I.G.”
He went on: “Here was a company that made all kinds of unconscionable bets. Then, when those bets went wrong, they had a — we had a situation where the failure of that company would have brought down the financial system.”
In deciding to rescue A.I.G., the government worried that if it did not bail out the company, its collapse could lead to a cascading chain reaction of losses, jeopardizing the stability of the worldwide financial system.
The list released by A.I.G. on Sunday, detailing payments made between September and December of last year, could bolster that justification by illustrating the breadth of losses that might have occurred had A.I.G. been allowed to fail. Some of the companies, like Goldman Sachs and Société Générale, had exposure mainly through A.I.G.’s derivatives program. Others, though, like Barclays and Citigroup, stood to lose mainly because they were customers of A.I.G.’s securities-lending program, which does not involve derivatives.
But taxpayers may have a hard time accepting that so many marquee financial companies — including some American banks that received separate government help and others based overseas — benefiting from government money.
The outrage that has been aimed at A.I.G. could complicate the Obama administration’s ability to persuade Congress to authorize future bailouts.
Patience with the company’s silence began to run out this month after it disclosed the largest loss in United States history and had to get a new round of government support. Members of Congress demanded in two hearings to know who was benefiting from the bailout and threatened to vote against future bailouts for anybody if they did not get the information.
“A.I.G.’s trading partners were not innocent victims here,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who presided over one recent hearing. “They were sophisticated investors who took enormous, irresponsible risks.”
The anger peaked over the weekend when correspondence surfaced showing that A.I.G. was on the brink of paying rich bonuses to executives who had dealt in the derivative contracts at the center of A.I.G.’s troubles.
Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, implicitly questioned the Treasury Department’s judgment about the whether the bonuses were binding.
“We need to find out whether these bonuses are legally recoverable,” Mr. Frank said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
Many of the institutions that received the Fed payments were owed money by A.I.G. because they had bought its credit derivatives — in essence, a type of insurance intended to protect buyers should their investments turn sour.
As it turned out, many of their investments did sour, because they were linked to subprime mortgages and other shaky loans. But A.I.G. was suddenly unable to honor its promises last fall, leaving its trading partners exposed to potentially big losses.
When A.I.G. received its first rescue loan of $85 billion from the Fed, in September, it forwarded about $22 billion to the companies holding its shakiest derivatives contracts. Those contracts required large collateral payments if A.I.G.’s credit was downgraded, as it was that month.
Among the beneficiaries of the government rescue were Wall Street firms, like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch that had argued in the past that derivatives were valuable risk-management tools that skilled investors could use wisely without any intervention from federal regulators. Initiatives to regulate financial derivatives were beaten back during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Goldman Sachs had said in the past that its exposure to A.I.G.’s financial trouble was “immaterial.” A Goldman Sachs representative was not reachable on Sunday to address whether that characterization still held. When asked about its exposure to A.I.G. in the past, Goldman Sachs has said that it used hedging strategies with other investments to reduce its exposure.
Until last fall’s liquidity squeeze, A.I.G. officials also dismissed those who questioned its derivatives operation, saying losses were out of the question.
Edmund L. Andrews and Jackie Calmes contributed reporting.