AIG: Corporate Welfare King Mouths Off

Most Americans know American International Group (AIG) as the global insurance behemoth that was so recklessly managed it had an outsized role in tanking the global economy.

Rather than feeling a bit humble for wreaking havoc on the lives of millions, AIG's new management is feeling rather cocky. Apparently AIG CEO Robert Benmosche has figured out the magic formula for selling insurance. Benmosche told Bloomberg News that he likes to do business in "red states" where the firm signs up more reliable customers than those in "more liberal" areas.

"All of the states where we're a leader, where we're the No. 1 insurer, are red states, all of the states where we're at the bottom are blue states," says Benmosche. "Part of what we found out is that our model is about culture and it's about the attitude in the public. And what we find is where there's more of a tendency for people to be more liberal, more that the government is responsible for what happens to me."

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. In 2008, AIG was taken over by the federal government, propped up with a $183 billion taxpayer bailout and it remains so weak that the American taxpayer still has a large stake in this firm. If there is a "welfare king" on Wall Street his name is Bob Benmosche.

It's time for AIG to shut up and pay up the $31 billion it still owes U.S. taxpayers, with interest. And remember America -- red, white and blue -- don't do business with AIG's mortgage guarantor, United Guaranty, or other subsidiaries like Chartis property-casualty insurer and the SunAmerica Financial Group.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.


red state: alaska the alaska health care commission has set its goal as evaluating the impact of ACA on the insurance industry in alaska. (see state of alaska homepage online to verify) the governor of alaska has asked the AG of alaska to assess and report on whether the governor will be in violation of federal law (aca) if the governor takes no actions required by ACA. (see state of alaska online to verify) alaska has a budget surplus of millions, billions the governor reduced the number of people who were receiving medicaid SCHIP about 8 months ago by decreased the poverty level for eligibility red state of alaska: not an hospitable place for poor or middle class people to live; excellent place for corporate greed to thrive

During the Iraq war/occupation and, I suppose, Afghanistan, we gave companies like Xe hundreds of millions of dollars with which to purchase health insurance for their employees who served as mercenaries for our military. From an article I read in 2009 or 2010, AIG, acting like so many other health insurers, was denying claims or delaying claims payments to hundreds of employees who were injured or became ill while on the job in those foreign countries. Why they should be "popular" in red or any other color state, I do not know. Why they shouldn't pay what is due our government I do not know either. All your cautions about avoiding both AIG and its mortgage guarantor are 100 percent justified.