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.