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Vol. 8 - Issue 2
February 6, 2019


WSJ: How Old Is AIG?

Last week’s Wall Street Journal (the paper’s insurance reporter -- Leslie Scism) had a fascinating front page article about AIG celebrating its 100th anniversary.  However, the company’s former chief executive, Hank Greenberg, disputes the company’s math.

AIG makes the claim to being 100 years old by tracing its roots to 1919, when Cornelius Vander Starr began insurance businesses in Shanghai.  However, as Mr. Greenberg sees it, AIG dates back only to 1967.  That’s when, writes Scism, Mr. Greenberg says he “pulled together various operations that had grown from that original Shanghai company—to take public.”

“Mr. Greenberg says the insurance business he has been expanding since he left AIG—known as Starr Cos.—is the legitimate claimant to the 100th anniversary. Starr Cos., not AIG, is the one which connects to the Shanghai start, he says.”

Mr. Greenberg added: “You think I’m going to sit quietly by and let them take credit for being 100 years old?  They’re not, and I know the answer to that because I formed AIG.”

It’s a fascinating story and something that CO readers, the risketeers that we are, will enjoy.

[I had the privilege of interviewing Hank Greenberg (an email Q&A) several years back.  Shortly after it was published a package arrived in the mail.  Inside was his just published book with a very nice inscription.  As an insurance guy, I’ve always cherished it.]




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