Insurance Companies…Who’s Watching These Crooks?

Off the Top of my Head

By Paul Murray

Incredibly, insurance premiums worldwide have skyrocketed in the wake of natural disasters and the prospect of more wild weather resulting from climate change and other factors…deforestation, fracking etc, etc.

The insurance premiums for my businesses have more than doubled in the past two years and I’m one of the lucky ones…word is that the insurance for Canterbury University has increased tenfold…from $1 million to $10 million.

OK, in the case of the South Island of New Zealand, we’ve had a rough time with the Christchurch Earthquake, but insurance companies should have had sufficient reserved to cover all contingencies, have spread their own risk through reinsurance…that is what they are supposed to do…they are insurance companies and have teams of actuaries working on risk calculation to ensure the insurers are able to honour their commitment to their customers.

However, it would seem that insurance companies, which have been joined at the hip with banks for the past 50 years, are hitting their customers up for sufficient money to cover their losses in a single year…and we are allowing this to happen by dutifully digging deep and paying the inflated premiums.

In the United States the situation was even worse. U.S. citizens were subjected to the “Too Big to Fail” scenario whereby huge insurers like AIG, which completely failed to meet its commitment to its customers, was bailed out to the tune of around $180 billion by the U.S. taxpayer.

But we don’t need to worry about that here in New Zealand right? Wrong…AIG is deeply involved in the N.Z. insurance industry, it is the nation’s largest general insurer…the company even sponsors the All Blacks!

Insurance companies have a responsibility to man up and take their losses like any other business and the fact that they are being allowed to outrageously inflate their premiums to cover their losses is a failing of our government who seem feeble in response to the power of these companies and their lobbyists who argue that the government needs to support their policies…policies that the government has been backing through the legal system for many years…if you operate a commercial business, you must have insurance, it’s the law.

But of course, once the coffers of the insurers have been replenished, they will reduce the premiums right? Mmmm…that would seem unlikely given that in the history of the world insurance premiums have never gone down, so we can expect insurance companies to be making uber-profits in the coming years…the only way to get your money back would be to purchase shares in insurance companies and further encourage the bastards!!

Climate change is said to be responsible for the extreme weather conditions we have been seeing in recent years. Deforestation, pollution, industry, reliance on fossil fuels etc are seen as contributing factors to climate change, but who is behind all this? Insurance companies invest heavily in such enterprises…and fracking, which some consider responsible for earthquakes…insurance companies have it locked down…create demand for their intangible product (…you don’t need insurance until your house burns down) by destroying the Earth, sell policies to people to prevent them from personal loss resulting from “natural disasters,” have government (taxpayer) back-up in the event the demand exceeds contingency funds and then a further safety cushion by being allowed to arbitrarily increase insurance premiums whenever necessary to recover losses…and we, the policyholders and voters allow this to happen by being apathetic and subservient…we desperately need political leadership in New Zealand (and elsewhere), we the people need to stand up and say ENOUGH!! and we need political leaders who will not roll over to corporate lobbyists and stand up for the rights of the people…how about it Johnki?

American International Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
American International Group, Inc.
AIG 2012 logo.png
Type Public
Traded as NYSEAIG
S&P 500 Component
Industry Insurance, Financial services
Founded Shanghai, China (1919)[1]
Founder(s) Cornelius Vander Starr
Headquarters 180 Maiden Lane, New York City,
New York, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Bob Benmosche
(President & CEO)
Steve Miller (Chairman)[2]
Products Insurance annuitiesmutual funds
Revenue Decrease US$ 64.237 billion (2011)[3]
Operating income Decrease US$ (1.065) billion (2011)[4]
Net income Increase US$ 17.798 billion (2011)[4]
Total assets Decrease US$ 655.773 billion (2011)[4]
Total equity Decrease US$ 105.806 billion (2011)[4]
Employees 57,000 (2011)[4]
Website AIG.com

American International Group, Inc. NYSEAIG, also known as AIG, is an American multinational insurance corporation. Its corporate headquarters is reported as 180 Maiden Lane in New York City (was formerly in the American International Building in New York City). The British headquarters office is on Fenchurch Street in London, continental Europe operations are based inLa Défense, Paris, and its Asian headquarters office is in Hong Kong. According to the 2011 Forbes Global 2000 list, AIG was the 29th-largest public company in the world.[5][6] It was listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average from April 8, 2004 to September 22, 2008.

AIG suffered from a liquidity crisis when its credit ratings were downgraded below “AA” levels in September 2008. The United States Federal Reserve Bank on September 16, 2008 created an $85 billion credit facility to enable the company to meet increased collateral obligations consequent to the credit rating downgrade, in exchange for the issuance of a stock warrant to the Federal Reserve Bank for 79.9% of the equity of AIG. The Federal Reserve Bank and the United States Treasury by May 2009 had increased the potential financial support to AIG, with the support of an investment of as much as $70 billion, a $60 billion credit line and $52.5 billion to buy mortgage-based assets owned or guaranteed by AIG, increasing the total amount available to as much as $182.5 billion.[7][8] AIG subsequently sold a number of its subsidiaries and other assets to pay down loans received, and continues to seek buyers of its assets

History

The American International Building inLower Manhattan.

AIG history dates back to 1919, when Cornelius Vander Starr established an insurance agency in Shanghai, China. Starr was the first Westerner in Shanghai to sell insurance to the Chinese, which he continued to do until AIG left China in early 1949—as Mao Zedong led the advance of the Communist People’s Liberation Army on Shanghai.[9][10] Starr then moved the company headquarters to its current home in New York City.[11] The company went on to expand, often through subsidiaries, into other markets, including other parts of Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.[12]

In 1962, Starr gave management of the company’s lagging U.S. holdings to Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, who shifted its focus from personal insurance to high-margin corporate coverage. Greenberg focused on selling insurance through independent brokers rather than agents to eliminate agent salaries. Using brokers, AIG could price insurance according to its potential return even if it suffered decreased sales of certain products for great lengths of time with very little extra expense. In 1968, Starr named Greenberg his successor. The company went public in 1969.[13]

Beginning in 2005, AIG became embroiled in a series of fraud investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange CommissionU.S. Justice Department, and New York State Attorney General‘s Office. Greenberg was ousted amid an accounting scandal in February 2005; he is still fighting civil charges being pursued by New York state.[14][15][16] The New York Attorney General’s investigation led to a $1.6 billion fine for AIG and criminal charges for some of its executives.[17] Greenberg was succeeded as CEO by Martin J. Sullivan, who had begun his career at AIG as a clerk in its London office in 1970.[18]

AIG purchased the remaining 39% that it did not own of online auto insurance specialist 21st Century Insurance in 2007 for $749 million.[19] With the failure of the parent company and the continuing recession in late 2008, AIG rebranded its insurance unit to 21st Century Insurance.[20][21]

On June 15, 2008, after disclosure of financial losses and subsequent to a falling stock price, Sullivan resigned and was replaced by Robert B. Willumstad, Chairman of the AIG Board of Directors since 2006. Willumstad was forced by the US government to step down and was replaced by Edward M. Liddy on September 17, 2008.[22] AIG’s board of directors named Robert Benmosche CEO on August 3, 2009 to replace Mr. Liddy, who earlier in the year announced his retirement.[23]

Business

Holdings

In the United States, AIG is the largest underwriter of commercial and industrial insurance, and AIG acquired American General Life Insurance in August 2001.[24]

Financial crisis

Chronology of September 2008 liquidity crisis

On September 16, 2008, AIG suffered a liquidity crisis following the downgrade of its credit rating. Industry practice permits firms with the highest credit ratings to enterswaps without depositing collateral with their trading counter-parties. When its credit rating was downgraded, the company was required to post additional collateral with its trading counter-parties, and this led to an AIG liquidity crisis. AIG’s London unit sold credit protection in the form of credit default swaps (CDSs) on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that had by that time declined in value.[25] The United States Federal Reserve Bank announced the creation of a secured credit facility of up to US$85 billion, to prevent the company’s collapse by enabling AIG to meet its obligations to deliver additional collateral to its credit default swap trading partners. The credit facility provided a structure to loan as much as US$85 billion, secured by the stock in AIG-owned subsidiaries, in exchange for warrants for a 79.9% equity stake, and the right to suspend dividends to previously issued common and preferred stock.[18][26][27] AIG announced the same day that its board accepted the terms of the Federal Reserve Bank’s rescue package and secured credit facility.[28] This was the largest government bailout of a private company in U.S. history, though smaller than the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a week earlier.[29][30]

AIG’s share prices had fallen over 95% to just $1.25 by September 16, 2008, from a 52-week high of $70.13.[citation needed] The company reported over $13.2 billion in losses in the first six months of the year.[31][32] The AIG Financial Products division headed by Joseph Cassano, in London, had entered into credit default swaps to insure $441 billion worth of securities originally rated AAA. Of those securities, $57.8 billion were structured debt securities backed by subprime loans.[33] CNN named Cassano as one of the “Ten Most Wanted: Culprits” of the 2008 financial collapse in the United States.[34]

As Lehman Brothers (the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history at that time) suffered a catastrophic decline in share price, investors began comparing the types of securities held by AIG and Lehman, and found that AIG had valued its Alt-A and sub-prime mortgage-backed securities at 1.7 to 2 times the values used by Lehman which weakened investors’ confidence in AIG.[31] On September 14, 2008, AIG announced it was considering selling its aircraft leasing division, International Lease Finance Corporation, to raise cash.[31] The Federal Reserve hired Morgan Stanley to determine if there are systemic risks to a financial failure of AIG, and asked private entities to supply short-term bridge loans to the company. In the meantime, New York regulators allowed AIG to borrow $20 billion from its subsidiaries.[35][36]

At the stock market‘s opening on September 16, 2008, AIG’s stock dropped 60 percent.[37] The Federal Reserve continued to meet that day with major Wall Street investment firms, hoping to broker a deal for a non-governmental $75 billion line of credit to the company.[38] Rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s downgraded AIG’s credit ratings on concerns over likely continuing losses on mortgage-backed securities. The credit rating downgrade forced the company to deliver collateral of over $10 billion to certain creditors and CDS counter-parties.[39] The New York Times later reported that talks on Wall Street had broken down and AIG may file for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, September 17.[40] Just before the bailout by the US Federal Reserve, AIG former CEO Maurice (Hank) Greenberg sent an impassioned letter to AIG CEO Robert B. Willumstad offering his assistance in any way possible, ccing the Board of Directors. His offer was rebuffed.[41]

Federal Reserve bailout

On the evening of September 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank‘s Board of Governors announced that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had been authorized to create a 24-month credit-liquidity facility from which AIG could draw up to $85 billion. The loan was collateralized by the assets of AIG, including its non-regulated subsidiaries and the stock of “substantially all” of its regulated subsidiaries, and with an interest rate of 850 basis points over the three-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (i.e., LIBOR plus 8.5%). In exchange for the credit facility, the U.S. government received warrants for a 79.9 percent equity stake in AIG, with the right to suspend the payment of dividends to AIG common and preferred shareholders.[18][27] The credit facility was created under the auspices of Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act.[27][42][43] AIG’s board of directors announced approval of the loan transaction in a press release the same day. The announcement did not comment on the issuance of a warrant for 79.9% of AIG’s equity, but the AIG 8-K filing of September 18, 2008, reporting the transaction to the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that a warrant for 79.9% of AIG shares had been issued to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.[18][28][44] AIG drew down US$ 28 billion of the credit-liquidity facility on September 17, 2008.[45] On September 22, 2008, AIG was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.[46] An additional $37.8 billion credit facility was established in October. As of October 24, AIG had drawn a total of $90.3 billion from the emergency loan, of a total $122.8 billion.[47]

Maurice Greenberg, former CEO of AIG, on September 17, 2008, characterized the bailout as a nationalization of AIG. He also stated that he was “bewildered” by the situation and was at a loss over how the entire situation got out of control as it did.[48] On September 17, 2008, Federal Reserve Board chair Ben Bernanke asked Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to join him, to call on members of Congress, to describe the need for a congressionally authorized bailout of the nation’s banking system. Weeks later, Congress approved the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Bernanke said to Paulson on September 17, “We can’t keep doing this. Both because we at the Fed don’t have the necessary resources and for reasons of democratic legitimacy, it’s important that the Congress come in and take control of the situation.”[49]

Additional bailouts of 2008

From mid September till early November, AIG’s credit-default spreads were steadily rising, implying the company was heading for default.[50][51] On November 10, 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced it would purchase $40 billion in newly issued AIG senior preferred stock, under the authority of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act‘sTroubled Asset Relief Program.[52][53][54] The FRBNY announced that it would modify the September 16 secured credit facility; the Treasury investment would permit a reduction in its size from $85 billion to $60 billion, and that the FRBNY would extend the life of the facility from three to five years, and change the interest rate from 8.5% plus the three-month London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) for the total credit facility, to 3% plus LIBOR for funds drawn down, and 0.75% plus LIBOR for funds not drawn, and that AIG would create two off- balance-sheet Limited Liability Companies (LLC) to hold AIG assets: one to act as an AIG Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Facility and the second to act as an AIG Collateralized Debt Obligations Facility.[52][54] Federal officials said the $40 billion investment would ultimately permit the government to reduce the total exposure to AIG to $112 billion from $152 billion.[52] On December 15, 2008, the Thomas More Law Center filed suit to challenge the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, alleging that it unconstitutionally promotes Islamic law (Sharia) and religion. The lawsuit was filed because AIG provides Takaful Insurance Plans, which, according to the company, avoid investments and transactions that are”un-Islamic”.[55][56]

As of January 2012, TARP had about $50 billion invested in AIG according to one report. Break even for the government was figured at $28.73 a share v. then-current share price of about $25.[57]

Counterparty controversy

AIG was required to post additional collateral with many creditors and counter-parties, touching off controversy when over $100 billion was paid out to major global financial institutions that had previously received TARP money. While this money was legally owed to the banks by AIG (under agreements made via credit default swaps purchased from AIG by the institutions), a number of Congressmen and media members expressed outrage that taxpayer money was going to these banks through AIG.[58] In January, 2010, a document known as “Schedule A – List of Derivative Transactions” was released to the public, against the wishes of the New York Fed. It listed many of the insurance deals that AIG had with various other parties, such as Goldman SachsSociété GénéraleDeutsche Bank, and Merrill Lynch.[59][60]

Had AIG been allowed to fail in a controlled manner through bankruptcy, bondholders and derivative counterparties (major banks) would have suffered significant losses, limiting the amount of taxpayer funds directly used. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke argued: “If a federal agency had [appropriate authority] on September 16, [2008], they could have been used to put AIG into conservatorship or receivership, unwind it slowly, protect policyholders, and impose haircuts on creditors and counterparties as appropriate. That outcome would have been far preferable to the situation we find ourselves in now.”[61]

Post-bailout expenditures

The week following the September bailout, AIG employees and distributors participated in a California retreat which cost $444,000 and featured spa treatments, banquets, and golf outings.[62][63]

It was reported that the trip was a reward for top-performing life-insurance agents planned before the bailout.[64] Less than 24 hours after the news of the party was first reported by the media, it was reported that the Federal Reserve had agreed to give AIG an additional loan of up to $37.8 billion.[65] AP reported on October 17 that AIG executives spent $86,000 on a previously scheduled English hunting trip. News of the lavish spending came just days after AIG received an additional $37.8 billion loan from the Federal Reserve, on top of a previous $85 billion emergency loan granted the month before. Regarding the hunting trip, the company responded, “We regret that this event was not canceled.”[66] An October 30, 2008 article from CNBC reported that AIG had already drawn upon $90 billion of the $123 billion allocated for loans.[67] On November 10, 2008, just a few days before renegotiating another bailout with the US Government for $40 billion, ABC News reported that AIG spent $343,000 on a trip to a lavish resort in Phoenix, Arizona[68]

Settlement of credit default swaps

On October 22, 2008, Lehman Brothers’ creditors who bought credit default swaps to hedge against a Lehman bankruptcy settled those accounts. The net payments were $5.2 billion[69] even though initial estimates of the amount of the settlement were between $100 billion and $400 billion.[70]

By December 2008, AIG had paid at least $18.7 billion to various financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and Société Générale, to retire obligations related to credit default swaps (CDS). As much as $53.5 billion related to swap payouts are part of the bailout.[71]

On March 15, 2009, under mounting pressure from Congress and after consultation with the Federal Reserve, AIG disclosed a list of major recipients of collateral postings and payments under credit default swapsguaranteed investment agreements, and securities lending agreements.[72] Below is data from one of the charts AIG released, representing only a portion of the total payouts, over a period of a few months.

AIG collateral postings to credit default swap counterparties
from the period September 16, 2008 to December 31, 2008[73]
Counterparty US $ posted Counterparty US $ posted
Société Générale $4,100,000,000 Deutsche Bank $2,600,000,000
Goldman Sachs $2,500,000,000 Merrill Lynch $1,800,000,000
Calyon $1,100,000,000 Barclays $900,000,000
UBS $800,000,000 DZ Bank $700,000,000
Wachovia $700,000,000 Rabobank $500,000,000
KFW $500,000,000 JPMorgan $400,000,000
Banco Santander $300,000,000 Danske Bank $200,000,000
Reconstruction Finance Corporation[74] $200,000,000 HSBC Bank $200,000,000
Morgan Stanley $200,000,000 Bank of America $200,000,000
Bank of Montreal $200,000,000 Royal Bank of Scotland $200,000,000
Other (unknown) $4,100,000,000

[edit]Sales of assets

AIG since September 2008 has marketed its assets to pay off its government loans. A global decline in the valuation of insurance businesses, and the weakening financial condition of potential bidders, has challenged its efforts. If the U.S. government decides to continue to protect the company from falling into bankruptcy, it may have to take the assets itself in exchange for the loans, or offer further direct financial support.[75]

Munich Re bought machinery and equipment insurance company Hartford Steam Boiler in 2009.[76][77]

In April 2009 it was announced that AIG was selling the 21st Century Insurance subsidiary to Farmers Insurance Group for $1.9 billion.[78] The sale included AIG Hawaii.[79]

In June 2009, AIG sold down its majority ownership of reinsurer Transatlantic Re.[80]

As of September 6, 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported that Pacific Century Group had agreed to pay $500 million for a part of American International Group’s asset management business, and that they also expected to pay an additional $200 million to AIG in carried interest and other payments linked to future performance of the business.[81]

Also in 2009, AIG sold its operations in Colombia to Ecuador’s Banco del Pichincha.

On March 1, 2010, insurance company Prudential confirmed that it was in advanced negotiations to buy the Asian operations of AIG.[82] Prudential was to buy the pan-Asian life insurance company, American International Assurance (AIA), for approximately $35.5 billion.[83] On June 1, 2010 the deal failed because AIG would not accept the $30.5 billion after Prudential lowered the amount by $5 billion from the originally planned $35.5 billion after Prudential shareholder discontent.[84]

AIG agreed on March 8, 2010, to sell its American Life Insurance Co. unit (ALICO) to MetLife Inc. for $15.5 billion in cash and stock by November 1, 2010. Alico has annuities, life and health insurance operations in Japan, Middle East (including Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan), Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. AIG said it will sell Alico for $6.8 billion in cash and the remainder in MetLife equity. The deal leaves AIG as the second-largest shareholder of MetLife, with a stake of more than 20% in the company.

On March 29, 2010, Bloomberg L.P. reported that after almost three months of delays, AIG had completed the $500 million sale of a portion of its asset management business, branded PineBridge Investments, to the Asia-based Pacific Century Group.[85]

In August 2010, Fortress Investment Group purchased 80% of the interest in financing company American General Finance.[86]

On September 30, 2010, AIG announced an agreement to sell two of its life insurance companies in Japan, AIG Star and AIG Edison, to Prudential Financial for $4.2 billion in cash and $600 million in the assumption of third party debt to help repay some of the money owed to the U.S. government.[87]

On November 1, 2010, AIG announced it had raised $36.71 billion from the sale of ALICO and an initial public offering for AIA (which included Philamlife). The company will use the proceeds Federal Reserve Bank of New York credit facility and make payments on other interests owned by the government.[88]

AIG announced September 6, 2012, it was selling part of its stake, up to $2 billion dollars, in Asian insurer AIA Group Ltd. and plans to pay off more of its loans from the US government. The insurer’s board also approved the repurchase of up to $5 billion dollars of shares of its common stock from the US government.[89]

Record losses

On March 2, 2009, AIG reported a fourth quarter loss of $61.7bn (£43bn) and revenue of −$23.7bn (−£16.2bn) for the final three months of 2008. This was the largest quarterly loss in corporate history at that time.[90] The announcement of the loss had an impact on morning trading in Europe and Asia, with the FTSE100DAX and Nikkeiall suffering sharp falls. In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to below 7000 points, a twelve-year low.[91][92] The news of the loss came the day after the U.S. Treasury Department had confirmed that AIG was to get an additional $30 billion in aid, on top of the $150 billion it has already received.[93] The Treasury Department suggested that the potential losses to the US and global economy would be ‘extremely high’ if it were to collapse[94] and has suggested that if in future there is no improvement, it will invest more money into the company, as it is unwilling to allow it to fail.[95] The firm’s position as not just a domestic insurer, but also one for small businesses and many listed firms, has prompted US officials to suggest its demise could be ‘disastrous’ and the Federal Reserve said that AIG posed a ‘systemic risk’ to the global economy.[90] The fourth quarter result meant the company made a $99.29 billion loss for the whole of 2008,[94] with five consecutive quarters of losses costing the company well over $100 billion.[95] In a testimony before the Senate Budget Committee on March 3, 2009, the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that “AIG exploited a huge gap in the regulatory system,” … and “to nobody’s surprise, made irresponsible bets and took huge losses”.[96]

2009 employee bonus payments

In March 2009, AIG announced that they were paying $165 million in executive bonuses. Total bonuses for the financial unit could reach $450 million and bonuses for the entire company could reach $1.2 billion.[97] President Barack Obama, who voted for the AIG bailout as a Senator[98] responded to the planned payments by saying “[I]t’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” and “In the last six months, AIG has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury. I’ve asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”[99]

Protester outside 60 Wall StreetDeutsche Bank‘s US main office in the wake of the bonus controversy is interviewed by news media.

Politicians on both sides of the Congressional aisle reacted with outrage to the planned bonuses. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said “I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they’d follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.”[100] Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) accused AIG of “Alice in Wonderland business practices” and said “It boggles the mind.” He has threatened to tax the bonuses at up to 100%.[101] Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said “These people brought this on themselves. Now you’re rewarding failure. A lot of these people should be fired, not awarded bonuses. This is horrible. It’s outrageous.”[102] Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) echoed his comments, saying “This is an outrage.”[103] Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) said “This is ridiculous.” and AIG executives “need to understand that the only reason they even have a job is because of the taxpayers.”[104] Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said “I’ve had it.” and “The fact that they continue to do it while we pour in billions of dollars is indefensible.”[105] Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said paying these bonuses would be “rewarding incompetence”[104] and “These people may have a right to their bonuses. They don’t have a right to their jobs forever.”[102]Representative Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) said “AIG should not be on welfare from Uncle Sam, and yet paying bonuses and transferring a considerable amount of taxpayer funds to entities overseas.”[105] Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said “It makes me angry. I slammed the phone more than a few times on discussing AIG.”[102] Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, said “The easy thing would be to just say, you know, ‘Off with their heads,’ and violate the contracts, but you have to think about the consequences of breaking contracts for the overall system of law.”[106] Austan Goolsbee, of the Council of Economic Advisers said “I don’t know why they would follow a policy that’s really not sensible, is obviously going to ignite the ire of millions of people.” and “You worry about that backlash.”[107]

Political commentators and journalists expressed an equally bipartisan outrage.[100][108][109][110][110][111][112][113][114][115][116]

On March 24, 2009, The New York Times printed the resignation letter of Jake DeSantis, executive vice president of AIG’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of AIG. DeSantis stated he had nothing to do with the credit default swaps, he lost much of his life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of AIG Financial Products; he had agreed to work for an annual salary of $1 out of a sense of duty, that he was assured many times the bonuses would be paid in March 2009, and that he believed he and others were let down by Liddy’s lack of support. He also stated he was going to donate his bonus to those suffering from the global economic downturn.[117]

It was reported that Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Con) (who first denied, then admitted to amending the legislation to allow the AIG bonuses), received $160,000 from employees of AIG.[118][119][120][121] A memo issued in 2006 by Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, urged AIG employees to donate to Dodd, saying that as “next in line to become chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee… Senator Dodd will now have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.”[122]

Manchester United Sponsorship

AIG was the principal sponsor of English football club Manchester United from 2006–2010, and as part of the sponsorship deal, its logo was prominently displayed on the front of the club’s jerseys and other merchandise. The AIG deal was announced by Manchester United chief executive David Gill on April 6, 2006, for a British shirt sponsorship record £56.5 million, to be paid over four years (£14.1 million a year). The deal became the most valuable sponsorship deal in the world in September 2006, after the renegotiation and subsequent degrading of the £15 million-a-year deal Italian team Juventus had with oil firm Tamoil. During AIG’s sponsorship, Manchester United enjoyed one of its most successful periods in history, winning the Premier League three consecutive years, two Football League Cups, and the UEFA Champions League.[citation needed]

On January 21, 2009, it was announced that AIG would not be renewing its sponsorship of the club at the end of the deal in May 2010. It is not clear, however, whether or not AIG’s agreement to run MU Finance will continue. American risk consulting firm Aon Corporation was named the club’s new principal sponsor on June 3, 2009, with its sponsorship of the club taking effect from the beginning of the 2010–11 season. The terms of the deal were not revealed, but it has been reported to be worth approximately £80 million over four years.[123]

Share buyback

Due to the Q3 2011 net loss widened, so on November 3, 2011 the AIG shares has plunged 49 percent year to date. The insurer’s board has approved the share buyback of as much as $1 billion.[124]

[edit]Litigation

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed(September 2008)

In November 2004, AIG reached a US$126 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department partly resolving a number of regulatory matters, but the company must still cooperate with investigators continuing to probe the sale of a non-traditional insurance product.[125]

On June 11, 2008, three stockholders, collectively owning 4% of the outstanding stock of AIG, delivered a letter to the Board of Directors of AIG seeking to oust CEO Martin Sullivan and make certain other management and Board of Directors changes. This letter was the latest volley in what the Wall Street Journal deemed a “public spat” between the Company’s Board and management, on the one hand, and its key stockholders, and former CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg on the other hand.[126]

Circa 2010 the WSJ reported that a family sued AIG for alleged complicity in a ‘stranger-originated life insurance‘ scheme, whereby AIG managers allegedly welcomed people without an insurable interest to take out life insurance policies against others. The case involved JB Carlson and Germaine Tomlinson, and was one of many similar lawsuits in the US at the time.[127]

On 9 January 2013 AIG’s board discussed joining a lawsuit against the United States government because the bailout they received was unfair to their investors. [128]The idea was rejected.[129]

Accounting fraud claims

On October 14, 2004 the New York State Office of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that it had commenced a civil action against Marsh & McLennan Companiesfor steering clients to preferred insurers with whom the company maintained lucrative payoff agreements, and for soliciting rigged bids for insurance contracts from the insurers. The Attorney General announced in a release that two AIG executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with this illegal course of conduct. In early May 2005, AIG restated its financial position and issued a reduction in book value of USD $2.7 billion, a 3.3 percent reduction in net worth.

On February 9, 2006, AIG and the New York State Attorney General’s office agreed to a settlement in which AIG would pay a fine of $1.6 billion.[130]

Corporate governance

Board of directors

  • Robert H. Benmosche – President and Chief Executive Officer, American International Group, Inc.
  • W. Don Cornwell – Former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Granite Broadcasting Corporation
  • John H. Fitzpatrick – Chairman, Oak Street Management Co., LLC
  • Laurette T. Koellner – Former Senior Vice President, The Boeing Company and Former President Boeing International
  • Donald H. Layton – Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, E*Trade Financial Corporation
  • Christopher S. Lynch – Former Partner, KPMG LLP
  • Arthur C. Martinez – Former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sears, Roebuck and Co.
  • George L. Miles, Jr. – President and Chief Executive Officer, WQED Multimedia
  • Henry S. Miller – Chairman and Managing Director, Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC
  • Robert S. Miller – Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, American International Group, Inc.
  • Suzanne Nora Johnson – Former Vice Chairman, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Morris W. Offit – Chairman, Offit Capital Advisors LLC
  • Ronald A. Rittenmeyer – Former Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Electronic Data Systems Corporation
  • Douglas Steenland – Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Airlines Corporation

As of October 2011.[131]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ “AIG and China: Could A “Special Relationship” Translate into Cash?”TIME. September 18, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  2. ^ BusinessInsurance, “‘Turnaround Kid’ Miller gets challenge at AIG”
  3. ^ {{cite web |url=http://www.aig.com/Chartis/internet/US/en/2011annualreport_tcm3171-440893.pdf Page 213}
  4. a b c d e “Form 10-K”. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  5. ^ “The World’s Biggest Public Companies”ForbesArchived from the original on June 04 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ “AIG”Forbes. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Son, Hugh (May 13, 2009). “AIG’s Trustees Shun ‘Shadow Board,’ Seek Directors (Update2)”. Bloomberg. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  8. ^ “U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Board Announce Participation in AIG Restructuring Plan” (Press release). Federal Reserve Board. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  9. ^ Thompson, Clifford; Block, Maxine; Moritz, Charles; Rothe, Anna Herthe; Candee, Marjorie Dent (1941). Current Biography YearbookCurrent Biography (60th ed.).H. W. Wilson Company. p. 247. ISBN 0-8242-1042-5. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  10. ^ “Foreign Office Files for China, 1949–1976″Part 1: Complete Files for 1949: Publisher’s Note. Adam Matthew Publications. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  11. ^ “AIG: What does this US giant do?”. BBC News. September 17, 2008.Archived from the original on March 20, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  12. ^ “American International Group Inc (New York Stock Exchange)”Company profile (New York: Thomson Reuters). Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  13. ^ Hoover’s Handbook of American Business (9th ed.). Austin, TX: Hoover’s Business Press. 1999. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-57311-045-7. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  14. ^ “MSNBC”. MSNBC. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  15. ^ Zuill, Lilla (March 3, 2009). “Reuters”. Reuters. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  16. ^ “The Street.com”.
  17. ^ Yahoo[dead link]
  18. a b c d Andrews, Edmund L.; Michael J. de la Merced and Mary Williams Walsh (September 16, 2008). “Fed’s $85 billion Loan Rescues Insurer”New York times.Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  19. ^ “AIG buys 21st Century Insurance”Los Angeles Times. September 28, 2007.
  20. ^ “AIG rebrand US auto insurance unit 21st Century Insurance, and cut jobs”. November 26, 2008. Retrieved Dec. 3, 2008.
  21. ^ “AIG renaming auto insurance division, cutting jobs”. November 26, 2008. Retrieved Dec. 3, 2008.
  22. ^ Zuill, Lilla (December 30, 2008). “Former AIG CEO Willumstad foregoes some stock awards”. New York: Thomson Reuters. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  23. ^ Dennis, Brady (August 3, 2009). “The Washington Post, “AIG Names Robert Benmosche New President and CEO””The Washington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  24. ^ “History of American General Life Companies”. AIGAG.com. Archived from the original on July 07 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  25. ^ Gretchen, Morgenson (September 27, 2008). “Behind Insurer’s Crisis, Blind Eye to a Web of Risk”. NY Times. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  26. ^ Kaiser, Emily (September 17, 2008). “After AIG rescue, Fed may find more at its door”. Reuters. Archived from the original on September 20, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  27. a b c United States Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Press release: Federal Reserve Board, met with full support of the Treasury Department, authorizes the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to lend up to $85 billion to the American International Group (AIG), September 16, 2008
  28. a b “AIG Statement on Announcement by Federal Reserve Board of $85 billion Secured Revolving Credit Facility: Addresses Liquidity Issues and Policyholder Concerns”. American International Group, Inc.. September 16, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  29. ^ Clobbered: Dow Plummets 449 on Credit Fears Fox Business News
  30. ^ “Adding to the Government’s Books”New York Times. September 18, 2008.Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2008. (Graphic comparing size of government credit facilities or asset guarantees)
  31. a b c Gretchen Morgensen; Mary Williams Walsh (September 14, 2008). “Rush Is On to Prevent AIG From Failing”The New York TimesArchived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2008.
  32. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin (September 14, 2008). “AIG to Plan Restructuring and Asset Sales”The New York TimesArchived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2008.
  33. ^ Mark Pittman (September 29, 2008). “Goldman, Merrill Collect Billions After Fed’s AIG Bailout Loans”. Bloomberg News. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  34. ^ “Culprits of the Collapse – Joe Cassano”. Ac360.blogs.cnn.com. October 10, 2008. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  35. ^ “Fed Seeks At Least $70 billion to Help AIG.”. The New York Times DealBook. September 15, 2008. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
  36. ^ “Goldman, JPMorgan Try to Arrange $75 billion AIG Loan”. Bloomberg. September 15, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
  37. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin (September 16, 2008). “AIG Plummets Again as Options Fade”The New York TimesArchived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  38. ^ Michael Grynbaum (September 16, 2008). “Wall Street Holds Steady; Fed to Meet”The New York TimesArchived from the original on February 22, 2009. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
  39. ^ “S&P: Ratings on American International Group Lowered and Kept on CreditWatch Negative”. Yahoo News. September 16, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2009.[dead link]
  40. ^ Michael Merced; Eric Dash (September 16, 2008). “Industry Efforts to Rescue AIG Said to Falter”The New York TimesArchived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  41. ^ Many blame the financial problems on the legal problems AIG began having as a result of a number of government investigations alleging fraud and other inproprieties which were approved by the office of its then chairman, Maurice Greenberg. These problems placed such a focus on AIG’s activities that it created a level of required transparency and fear of getting caught, which many believe forced the company to be less active and willing to cheat its way out of these problems. A manner of doing business it learned with its core activity of denying legitimate insurance claims and then pressuring its insureds, their witnesses and anyone else coming to their support while trying to intimidate judges and insurance commissioners. So who began all this? In May 2001 an insurance claimant and shareholder, Cesar Balbin stepped into the annual shareholders meetings. For the first time ever in the company’s history, AIG was publicly accused of criminal and civil racketeering activities including: extortion, blackmale, claims fraud, theft of company equity: it took with it the chairman, billions of dollars and led to a greater transparency and fear that possibly contributed to inaction by many at AIG to participate in its typically less than legal and proper activities required to keep the company afloat.“Letter from Maurice Greenberg to AIG Ceo and Board of Directors” (PDF). WikiLeaks. September 16, 2008. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  42. ^ Federal Reserve Act: Section 13. Powers of Federal Reserve Banks Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  43. ^ 12 U.S.C. ch.3 subch.IX
  44. ^ FORM 8-K Current Report, American International Group (September 18, 2008).EDGAR United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  45. ^ Son, Hugh (September 20, 2008). “AIG Filing on Takeover Omits Reference to Shareholder Meeting”Bloomberg. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  46. ^ “AIG booted out of the Dow”. CNN Money. September 18, 2008.
  47. ^ Son, Hugh (October 24, 2008). “AIG Taps $90.3 billion From Fed, CEO Says More May Be Needed”. Bloomberg. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  48. ^ Mark Ruquet, “Greenberg Pans AIG “Nationalization”, National Underwriter Life & Health, September 18, 2008
  49. ^ Cassidy, John (December 1, 2008). “Anatomy of a Meltdown: Ben Bernanke and the financial crisis.”The New YorkerArchived from the original on December 04 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
  50. ^ “Press Release (AIG)”. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. October 8, 2008.Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  51. ^ “How AIG got Uncle Sam over a barrel”The Economist. November 13, 2008.Archived from the original on December 04 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  52. a b c Sorkin, Andrew Ross; Mary Williams Walsh (November 10, 2008). “U.S. Provides More Aid to Big Insurer”New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  53. ^ “Treasury to Invest in AIG Restructuring Under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” (Press release). United States Department of the Treasury. November 10, 2008. Archived from the original on November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  54. a b “Press Release (AIG)”. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. November 10, 2008. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  55. ^ Kevin J. Murray v. Henry M. Paulson, filed December 15, 2008, p. 9
  56. ^ “Frequently Asked Questions regarding AIG Takaful”. Aigtakaful-enaya.com. June 15, 2011. Archived from the original on July 07 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  57. ^ Gordon, Marcy (January 26, 2012). “Report: Taxpayers still owed $133B from bailout”The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Associated Press. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  58. ^ Lanman, Scott (March 5, 2009). “Bloomberg – Senators Dodd & Shelby Demand Information”. Bloomberg. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  59. ^ AIG’s mysterious Schedule A finally revealed Matthew Goldstein, reuters DealZone, Jan 27, 2010, accessed 2010 4 21
  60. ^ AIG (date unknown). “Schedule A – List of Derivative Transactions” (PDF). Reuters. Retrieved 2010 4 29.
  61. ^ “Bernanke-AIG Testimony”. Federalreserve.gov. March 24, 2009. Archivedfrom the original on June 07 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  62. ^ Taylor, Andrew (October 8, 2008). “AIG execs’ retreat after bailout angers lawmakers”. Associated Press.[dead link]
  63. ^ “AIG execs waste bailout portion”. October 11, 2008.
  64. ^ Lapidos, Juliet (October 8, 2008). “Can Paulson Fire Naughty Executives? How much control does the Treasury have over personnel at AIG?”. Slate.
  65. ^ Fed grants AIG $37.8 billion loan, International Herald Tribune, October 8, 2008
  66. ^ Augstums, Ieva (October 17, 2008). “AIG executives spent thousands during hunting trip”. Associated Press.[dead link]
  67. ^ AIG Already Running Through Government Loans, CNBC, October 30, 2008
  68. ^ Another AIG Resort “Junket”: Top Execs Caught on Tape , ABC News, November 10, 2008
  69. ^ Brettell, Karen (October 22, 2008). “UPDATE 1-Payment on Lehman CDS only around $5.2 bln -DTCC”. Reuters.
  70. ^ “Seekingalpha.com”. Seekingalpha.com. October 13, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  71. ^ Son, Hugh (December 10, 2008). “AIG CDS Payouts and Retirements”. Bloomberg. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  72. ^ “AIG – Related Resources”. Aig.com. April 28, 2011. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  73. ^ AIG released some figures about where it’s government bailout money had been spent in 2009. The data for this table was from a page entitled “Attachment A: Collateral Postings under AIGFP CDS”. This was an attachment to another AIG document entitled “AIG Discloses Counterparties to CDS, GIA, and Securities Lending Transactions”. Please see: “Counterparty Attachment 3-18-2009″ (PDF). aig.com. March 18, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2010. for the attachment. Or this page at AIG for more info. (If this is moved, please also see politico.com)
  74. ^ Per source; however, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (established by the U.S. government under Herbert Hoover) was dissolved in 1957.
  75. ^ Bansal, Paritosh (February 24, 2009). “AIG may rethink asset sales in tough markets : Deals : Reuters”. Reuters UK. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
  76. ^ Munich Re buys AIG’s Hartford Steam Boiler for $742m
  77. ^ Munich Re concludes purchase of Hartford Steam Boiler
  78. ^ Lifsher, Marc; Zimmerman, Martin (April 17, 2009). “AIG to sell 21st Century to Farmers Insurance”Los Angeles Times.
  79. ^ AIG Hawaii part of $2B sale
  80. ^ AIG confirms sale of Transatlantic Re shares
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References and further reading

[edit]External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: American International Group

About LivinginPeaceProject

Paul Murray is the founder of the LivinginPeace Project. www.livinginpeace.com Paul originally from Australia, but have been living in New Zealand for eight years. Before that he was in Japan for a decade working as a journalist. He met his wife Sanae in Japan and they married in 2008.
This entry was posted in Banking, Business, Economics, Education, Historical, Money, New Zealand, Photography, Politics, Product review, Social Commentary, United States, West Coast and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Insurance Companies…Who’s Watching These Crooks?

  1. Yes! Finally someone writes about test.

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