AIG : Everything you need to know

One of the largest global insurance companies operating worldwide, AIG opened its first New Zealand office in Wellington in November 1970, with the Auckland office opening soon afterwards.

With customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions, AIG today offers a range of life insurance, property and casualty insurance and other financial products to its global client base. It is headquartered in New York City and serves 87% of the Fortune Global 500, along with 83% of the Forbes 2000. As of December 31 2017, AIG had US $65.2 billion in shareholder equity.

Company history

Initially set up as an Asia-based insurer, AIG was founded as American Asiatic Underwriters (AAU) in Shanghai, China in 1919. The firm soon had operations across Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and it opened its first United States office in 1926, where it was named the American International Underwriters Corporation (AIU).

The post-Second World War AIU entered Japan and Germany to offer insurance for US military personnel, and it continued to expand into Europe and the United Kingdom throughout the 40s and 50s. By the end of the decade, the company’s general and life insurance operations included a network of offices across 75 countries.

In 1960, AIU started developing an international accident and health business, and two years later it began to focus on selling insurance through independent brokers rather than agents. American International Group (AIG) was finally incorporated as an umbrella organisation in 1967, forming the company recognisable across the globe today.

New Zealand operations

AIG offers a comprehensive range of business cover within the New Zealand market - its specialised policies including cover for the aerospace, manufacturing, construction, medical and financial services sectors. The AIG Private Client Group also offers a range of personal lines products including home and liability insurance, and offers protection for unique assets such as fine art, jewellery and antique collections.

The insurer regularly makes use of its global perspective to bring new covers and technologies to the New Zealand market, and offers clients “the benefits of global experience and anticipation of emerging risks” combined with a strong local presence across the country.

In October 2012, AIG announced a five and a half year agreement to sponsor six New Zealand-based rugby teams, including the world famous All Blacks.

AIG New Zealand appointed its new CEO, Elliot Hill, in June 2017, with his appointment becoming effective that same October. He succeeded former CEO Mike Raines and strengthened AIG’s presence in the New Zealand market.


AIG has a number of global subsidiaries and holdings; key international holdings include the following:

Lexington Insurance Company

Founded in 1965 with four staff members, and US$3 million in gross written premium. Lexington is a surplus lines insurance company wholly owned by AIG, and it is the largest US-based surplus lines insurer. It currently offers property, casualty and specialty lines policies.

The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC)

An insurance company that specialises in tax-qualified retirement plans, supplemental tax-deferred and after-tax investments.

The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and had over $86 billion in customer assets under management as of December 31, 2014. Its products include mutual fund programmes, life insurance, brokerage accounts and college savings plans.

Fuji Fire and Marine Insurance Company

A Japanese insurance company founded in April 1918 with its headquarters in Tokyo. As of April 2012 it has 172 sales offices and 109 claims offices throughout Japan, and it was delisted from stock exchanges as a result of a share acquisition by Chartis in 2011.

Solvency margin and financial strength rating

As of June 30, 2018, AIG’s solvency capital as filed with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is as follows:

  • Minimum solvency capital: $33.567 million
  • Actual solvency capital: $90.997 million
  • Solvency margin: $57.430 million
  • Solvency result: 271.1%

Its financial strength rating is listed as A (strong), as given by S&P Global Ratings.

AIG : In the news