Even to this day American International Group (AIG) is one of the world's largest insurance firms. While it held the spotlight for staggering losses and government bailouts, the company's subsidiaries have steadily provided general property/casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement services, financial services, and residential mortgage guaranty insurance to commercial, institutional, and individual customers in the US and more than 130 countries around the world. In exchange for $161.3 billion in bailouts, at one point the US government held more than 90% of AIG. An exit plan of repayments and stock sales gradually shrunk that number. By 2013 the US Treasury had sold all of its AIG shares.
Having crawled its way back from the edge of an abyss, AIG is leaner than before and has nice black ink on its ledgers. After selling off piles of non-core businesses and quietly disposing of some riskier operations, the company in late 2014 completed its reorganization. AIG now operates through two reportable segments: Commercial Insurance (property/casualty, mortgage guaranty, and institutional markets) and Consumer Insurance (retirement, life, and personal insurance), as well as a Corporate and Other segment. The Commercial and Consumer Insurance segments each account for more than 40% of AIG's revenues.
Property/casualty coverage includes workers' compensation, home, auto, travel, accident, and specialty insurance policies. Property/casualty policies are sold to commercial and individual clients in the US and around the world and have continued to be a solid source of growth for AIG, even during years of financial strife.
Domestic life insurance and retirement services businesses include VALIC and American General Life, and The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York. The group also offers single and flexible premium deferred fixed annuities and single premium immediate and delayed-income annuities and variable annuities and other income products.
Other operations include the AIG Benefit Solutions unit, which operates through two segments: U.S. Employee Benefits (including employer-funded and voluntary products) and U.S. Affinity Benefits (to serve affinity groups).
AIG's United Guaranty Corporation was one of the few mortgage guaranty insurance businesses to survive the subprime mortgage meltdown. With tighter guidelines, the business is now polished up and faces fewer competitors in its domestic and international markets. In early 2016, AIG announced plans to spin off United Guaranty Corporation.
AIG companies serves more than 88 million customers, which includes commercial, institutional, and individual customers.
AIG and its subsidiaries have more than 400 offices in the US, as well as 500 offices in 75 international countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia/Pacific region. About 70% of AIG's annual revenues come from sales in the domestic market.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its retail products directly to individual consumers through independent and career insurance agents, retail banks, direct-to-consumer platforms, and national, regional, and independent broker-dealers.
The group distributes its products every way possible -- from specialty brokers, independent agents, financial advisors, banks, direct to the consumer, and through affinity groups. AIG maintains direct sales groups consisting of representatives affiliated with its VALIC and American General subsidiaries. It also operates the AIG Direct distribution group, and it has relationships with 6,000 independent financial advisors, as well as with tens of thousands of financial institution agents, more than 1,000 independent marketing organizations.
Mortgage guaranty products are marketed to a variety of mortgage originators and through mortgage lenders and credit unions. Institutional markets products are primarily sold through specialized marketing and consulting firms and structured settlement brokers.
In 2014 revenues decreased 6% to $64.4 billion due a decline in premiums, primarily for consumer insurance which was negatively impacted in the Asia/Pacific region as the yen weakened, as well as declines of other realized capital gains. In the Americas, the casualty business slowed down, bringing in fewer new customers and suffering from rate pressures.
After reporting staggering losses in 2008 and 2009, AIG reported profits in 2010 and 2011 followed by 80% decline in 2012 due to weather event-related losses, litigation expenses, and credit facility charges. In 2013 the company saw a net income hike of 164% due to a decline in benefits, claims, and expenses. However, in 2014 net income once again declined 17% due to the decreased revenue as well as increases in income tax expenses.
In 2014 AIG's operating cash flow decreased by 15% due to lower net income and a decline in cash generated by reinsurance assets and funds held under reinsurance treaties.
The company has divested nearly all of its non-insurance operations. AIG formed a new subsidiary, ILFC Holdings through which it planned to conduct an IPO of the last major non-insurance holding, aircraft leasing business International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). However in 2014 the company sold ILFC to AerCap Ireland Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of AerCap for $7.6 billion. In early 2016, AIG announced plans to sell broker-dealer unit AIG Advisory Group to a group of investors.
Also in early 2016, the group announced plans to spin off mortgage insurance unit United Guaranty Corporation. These divestitures fall short of the major breakup for which some shareholders are pushing. Dubbed a systemically important financial institution (SIFI), AIG is therefore subject to increased scrutiny by regulators. Other non-bank SIFI's have been downsizing, refocusing on core operations and removing themselves from the heightened oversight. However, AIG has thus far resisted pressure to undergo a major split.
As it wraps up reorganization efforts, AIG is beginning to move towards growth through organic measures, including the launch of new product offerings and distribution channels in its core operating segments. The company's primary goals include growth of assets under management, increasing life insurance in-force, and enhancing return on equity by simplifying the legal entity structure and improving operational efficiencies. For the Commercial Insurance segment, AIG is focused on improving its business portfolio by using enhanced data and analytics to provide better pricing and underwriting.
Other key strategic efforts include leveraging its extensive distribution organization of more than 300,000 financial professionals, expanding its relationships with key distribution partners, and adopting a more customer-centric approach.
In 2014 American General Life Insurance Company partnered with Market Synergy Group to offer enhanced index annuity solutions. Also that year, the company expanded its excess casualty liability limits for Class 1 railroads in the US and Canada to $1 billion per incident.
Mergers and Acquisitions
With its reorganization complete, AIG has once again begun building up operations through acquisitions. In 2015 the company bought the UK-based Ageas Protect Limited from Belgian insurer Ageas Group for some €250 million. The newly acquired unit became part of AIG's Global Consumer business, which offers personal accident, health, and travel coverage, as well as customized insurance plans for wealthy individuals.
Also that year, AIG agreed to buy Laya Healthcare, the second-largest health insurer in Ireland.