Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AIG which stands for American Internation Group was a Insurance Giant in the United states till it was collapsed in last September 2008. An assortment of business that run the complete range from aircraft leasing to Life insurance for Indians to Retirement plans for people, remained profitable which could not offset the loses.Given A.I.G.'s size and the complexity of its deals, federal officials decided that a bailout was preferable to the havoc in international markets that would likely follow bankruptcy.

AIG Insurance is a group of companies known as the American International Group, and is one of the leading service operators in more than 130 countries. AIG was founded in 1967. As per the ratings of 2006, Global Forbes 2000 List, considered AIG as the fourth largest company in the world. AIG is the world's leading international insurance and financial services company. In the U.S., AIG is the largest underwriter of commercial and industrial insurance. AIG concentrates its focus on four distinct markets: life insurance and retirement services, financial services, general insurance and asset management. AIG continues to enhance its financial growth through development of new products, markets and distribution channels. The customer base ranges from commercial, individual and institutional customers. AIG stock is listed in the New York Stock Exchange, and in other stock exchanges such as London, Paris, Switzerland and Tokyo.

The company was bailed out by the Federal Reserve, but even after that $85 billion infusion, losses continued to mount and in November the Treasury announced a new rescue package that brought the total cost to $150 billion.

AIG has four principal business segments

General Insurance

AIG's General Insurance operations include the largest U.S. underwriters
of commercial and industrial insurance, the most extensive international
property-casualty network, a personal lines business with an emphasis
on auto insurance and high-net-worth clients and mortgage guaranty insurance
operations. AIG's leadership is a result of its underwriting skill,
innovative insurance solutions, financial strength, superior service and
responsive claims handling. The AIG claims operation gives clients access
to a vast worldwide network of dedicated experts and top legal firms.

Life Insurance & Retirement Services

Serving millions of customers around the world, AIG's growing global Life
Insurance businesses make up the most extensive network of any life
insurer. Strategies for enhancing growth focus on developing new markets,
expanding distribution channels and broadening product offerings. AIG
has one of the premier Retirement Services businesses in the United
States. It also has an extensive international retirement services network
to meet the growing needs of groups and individuals in countries

Financial Services

AIG's Financial Services businesses specialize in aircraft and equipment
leasing, capital markets, consumer finance and insurance premium finance.
These businesses complement AIG's core insurance operations and achieve
a competitive advantage by capitalizing on opportunities throughout the
AIG global network.

Asset Management

AIG's Asset Management Group businesses include institutional and retail
asset management, broker-dealer services, private banking and spread-based
investment business from the sale of guaranteed investment contracts, as
well as the management of AIG insurance invested assets. Businesses in
the Group leverage AIG's deep knowledge of markets around the world
and expertise in a wide range of asset classes.

Though its name is American, the company is rooted in Asia. According to company lore, its founder, Cornelius Vander Starr, a World War I veteran, traveled to Asia with only 300 Japanese yen (less than $3 today) in his pocket and started the firm in Shanghai in 1919.

With a partner, he sold marine and fire insurance and expanded rapidly throughout the Philippines, Indonesia and China by hiring locals as agents and managers, a business strategy A.I.G. uses today. Nearly half of A.I.G.’s 116,000 direct employees — about 62,000 people — are in Asia.

Mr. Greenberg joined the company in 1960. He focused on making giant commercial deals, increasing its share of the life insurance business and writing what were, decades ago, unusual types of coverage, like insurance against kidnapping and protection from suits against a company’s officers and directors.

A.I.G.’s problems rest in the company’s London-based financial products unit, part of its financial services group, which is exposed to securities tied to the value of home loans — the same kind of securities that forced Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy proceedings the day before A.I.G. was bailed out. The financial products group sold credit-default swaps, complex financial contracts allowing buyers to insure securities backed by mortgages. Many of the buyers were European banks. As home values have fallen, the value of the underlying mortgages has declined, and A.I.G. has had to reduce the value of the securities on its books.

The company's distress came after an unusual period of turmoil at the company.Early in 2005, questions arose about financial transactions that had the effect of making the company’s earnings look better. Mr. Greenberg resigned as chief executive after regulators sent a wave of subpoenas to the company; eventually A.I.G. restated earnings covering a five-year period. His successor tried to restore confidence in the company but his efforts did not meet with investor approval and he was replaced after the company announced that it lost $7.8 billion in 2008's first quarter..

In September the main financial ratings agencies made clear that they would downgrade A.I.G. ratings if the company were not able to raise more capital to back its obligations. A frantic scramble for investors was unsuccessful, leading a reluctant Fed to conclude that a bailout was unavoidable.

The new bailout announced in November included an easing of the terms for the cash infusion and a plan to use $50 billion in government funds to take the most toxic assets off of A.I.G.'s balance sheet.

This was a collective information i got from and

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