American International Group Inc. (AIG:US) Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche said the insurer’s largest unit, Chartis, may be renamed with the AIG brand as the company emerges from a U.S. government rescue.
“We are considering being just AIG, being proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Benmosche, 68, said yesterday in a speech at a Korea Society dinner in New York.
The insurer has been increasing its use of the AIG name that was dismissed by then-CEO Edward Liddy as “wounded and disgraced” in 2009, less than a year after a bailout that swelled to $182.3 billion. The New York-based company last year began selling life insurance through the AIG Direct platform, the first time it used the name in advertising to consumers since late 2008.
AIG has repaid a Federal Reserve credit line and bought back shares from the U.S. Treasury Department, helping to reduce the government stake to 61 percent (AIG:US) from more than 90 percent. Benmosche said the insurer has defied critics with its rebound.
“When I got to AIG, they said AIG is gone, it’s finished, the brand will never come back,” Benmosche said yesterday.
Benmosche is counting on results at Chartis, a global property-casualty insurer, to fuel profit growth after selling (AIG:US) non-U.S. life businesses and lending units. Chartis provides protection against worker injuries, storm damage and lawsuits.
The Chartis name replaced AIU Holdings LLC in July 2009 after 7,000 brokers, clients and employees were surveyed about whether the unit needed a brand more distinct from its parent. Chartis is derived from the Greek word for map, the firm said at the time, “underscoring the company’s 90-year history as a successful global pioneer that is able to guide clients to customized solutions.”
Benmosche’s company also retained U.S. life and retirement- services businesses including Western National Life, which was previously known as AIG Annuity. Benmosche, who joined the insurer in August of 2009, told employees his first month on the job that the AIG brand may make a comeback.
“My sense is, one day, if AIG does well, starts to pay back the debt, AIG’s name may come back,” he said in a town-hall style meeting with staff in 2009.
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