Skip to main content

AIG Cancels Additional 'Junket'

The troubled insurer nixes plans for a risk-management conference later this month in California under public pressure for costs savings.

For more coverage from Ratings team, check out Ratings section.



, the large U.S. insurance company that took on too much risk before the government stepped to

bail it out

last month, has canceled a risk-management conference scheduled for later this month in California.

The insurer confirmed today it has nixed plans for a confab scheduled for later this month at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. AIG, which just today received another $37.8 billion from the

Federal Reserve

, recently came under fire for holding a conference at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif. AIG hosted that nearly $500,000 conference days after the U.S. government stepped in with an $85 billion loan in mid-September.

The conference at the Half Moon Bay, already attracting criticism in the media this morning, would have been the fifth one held for the AIG Private Client Group and would have been attended by independent agents and brokers providing services for high net worth individuals. It would have required the attendance of larger numbers of AIG employees, as it was to serve partially also as a conference to earn credits for continuing education.

Joe Norton, director of public relations at AIG, said that the earlier event held in Monarch Beach resulted in a reevaluation of all of the costs in AIG operations. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson yesterday, Edward Liddy, the newly appointed Chairman and CEO of AIG, said that the event held by American General Life Insurance Co. -- rated B by Ratings -- was mischaracterized in a congressional hearing. Liddy pointed out that this was an event for independent life insurance agents, not AIG executives and that this sort of meeting is normal in the business.

The conference, held for 50 top-producing life insurance agents and their guests was attended by 10 employees of the insurance subsidiary, none of which were corporate executives, according to Liddy's letter. Liddy accepted that although the event had been planned for many months, "our company is now facing very difficult challenges -- and that we owe our employees and the American public new standards and approaches."

Liddy assured Paulson that AIG management is reevaluating the costs of all of AIG operations and is focused on doing what is necessary to address the capital structure, repay the

Federal Reserve

and emerge as a healthy global insurer. Ratings issues financial strength ratings for 4,000 life, health, annuity, and property/casualty insurers are available at no charge on the

Insurers & HMOs Screener

. In addition, the Financial Strength Ratings on each of the nation's 8,600 banks and savings and loans are available on the

Banks & Thrifts Screener


Gavin Magor joined Ratings in 2008, and is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to health insurers and supporting other health care-related consumer products, including Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance and elder care information. He conducts industry analysis in these areas. He has more than 20 years' international experience in credit risk management, commercial lending and analysis, working in the U.K., Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. He holds a master's degree in business administration from The Open University in the U.K.