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Benmosche Exits Greenberg Jewel Linked to AIG Founding

American International Group Inc.'s AIA Tower stands in Hong Kong. Photographer: Timothy O'Rourke/Bloomberg
American International Group Inc.'s AIA Tower stands in Hong Kong. Photographer: Timothy O'Rourke/Bloomberg

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc. has cut a tie to its founding in Asia as the company winds down bets on non-U.S. life insurance.

AIG completed its last offering of AIA Group Ltd. shares, raising $6.45 billion, the New York-based company said today. Hong Kong-based AIA is among divisions labeled a “crown jewel” by former Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.

The following is a timeline of AIG’s growth in Asia, followed by divestitures as the company repaid a U.S. rescue.

1919: Cornelius Vander Starr founds American Asiatic Underwriters in Shanghai.

1921: Starr establishes Asia Life Insurance Co., which will later become American Life Insurance Co., known as Alico.

1931: Starr establishes International Assurance Co., which later becomes American International Assurance Co., also known as AIA.

1969: AIG, formed to hold Starr-founded companies, goes public.

1992: AIA is the first foreign-owned life- and non-life insurance business to receive a license in China, according to the company’s website.

2004: Non-U.S. life is one of AIG’s “crown jewels,” Greenberg says. The business “could not be replicated” by rivals.

May 2006: AIA wins approval to sell group life in China.

April 9, 2008: AIG projects operating profit from life insurance outside the U.S. will climb 88 percent by 2012 to $12 billion.

Sept. 16, 2008: The U.S. bails out AIG after the insurer is overwhelmed by losses on bets tied to the U.S. housing market.

Oct. 3, 2008: AIG will sell life-insurance operations in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Japan and keep a majority stake in AIA, “if at all possible,” says then-CEO Edward Liddy.

Dec. 1, 2009: AIG is allowed to reduce its draw on a Federal Reserve credit line by $25 billion in anticipation of proceeds from divestitures of AIA and Alico.

March 1, 2010: AIG agrees to sell AIA to Prudential Plc for $35.5 billion in cash and securities. CEO Robert Benmosche says the deal will provide funds on a “faster track” than an IPO.

March 8, 2010: MetLife Inc. agrees to buy Alico for about $16 billion.

June 2, 2010: Prudential Plc, led by Tidjane Thiam, says it terminated the deal after shareholders balked at the price.

Sept. 30, 2010: Prudential Financial Inc. agrees to buy AIG Star Life Insurance Co. and AIG Edison Life Insurance Co. for about $4.8 billion to expand in Japan.

October 2010: AIG raises $20.5 billion selling a 67 percent stake in AIA in Hong Kong’s largest public offering.

Jan. 12, 2011: AIG agrees to sell Taipei-based Nan Shan Life Insurance Co. to Ruen Chen Investment Holding Co.

March 6, 2012: AIG sells about $6 billion of AIA shares.

Sept. 6, 2012: AIG sells about $2 billion of AIA shares, cutting stake to 14 percent.

Dec. 10, 2012: The U.S. says it is selling the last of its shares acquired in the AIG bailout. The government’s profit on the rescue is about $22.7 billion.

Dec. 18, 2012: AIG says it sold the last of its AIA shares in an offering that raised $6.45 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at

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