AIG Goes On The Attack

After months of months of taking a beating in the press and by politicians, AIG (AIG) is set to go on the offensive.

CEO Ed Liddy will (once again) appear on Capitol Hill today, and though in the past he’s typically been polite and defferential, this time the plan is to fight back, says WSJ.

“Rampant, unwarranted criticism of AIG serves only to diminish the value of our businesses around the world,” he will tell a U.S. House oversight committee while pleading for a better partnership with the government — owner of 80% of the company.

Our plan contemplates that AIG’s best businesses will establish separate identities from the parent holding company,” his testimony reads. “The major insurance companies will emerge with diverse products, strong management and clear growth strategies worthy of investor confidence.”

The future AIG will be strong, transparent and “a credit to all of its owners,” Mr. Liddy will vow.

This more direct tack was anticipated in the company’s recent 10-Q. As noted by The Deal and, the company is blaming the media for exacerbating its problems. This is really from the filing:

Adverse publicity and public reaction to events concerning AIG has had and may continue to have a material adverse effect on AIG. Since September 2008, AIG has been the subject of intense scrutiny and extensive comment by global news media, officials of governments and regulatory authorities around the world and segments of the public at large in the communities that AIG serves. At times, there has been strong criticism of actions taken by AIG, its management and its employees and of transactions in which AIG has engaged. In a few instances, such as the public reaction in March 2009 over the payment of retention awards to AIGFP employees, this criticism has included harassment of individual AIG employees or public protest affecting AIG facilities.

To date, this scrutiny and extensive commentary has adversely affected AIG by damaging AIG’s business, reputation and brand among current and potential customers, agents and other distributors of AIG products and services, thereby reducing sales of AIG products and services, and resulting in an increase in AIG policyholder surrenders and non-renewals of AIG policies. This scrutiny and commentary has also undermined employee morale and AIG’s ability to motivate and retain its employees. If this level of scrutiny and criticism continues or increases, AIG’s business may be further adversely affected and its ability to retain and motivate employees further harmed.

Thing is, they’re probably right. It’s also probably a lost cause and a pointless fight. As Liddy says, the more brands they can pullout from under the horrible AIG brand name, the better.


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