American International Group Inc., the insurer majority owned by the U.S. after a 2008 bailout, is hosting an event at a California facility that advertises “the amenities of an ultra luxury hotel.”
The American General unit assembled about 65 people who distribute its products for a two-and-a-half-day stay this week at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, California, said Larry Mark, a spokesman for AIG’s life insurance division. Nine AIG managers were also sent to the resort to make presentations, Mark said in a e-mail. He declined to say the cost of the event for the insurer.
“It is important for these speakers, as well as the eight field representatives in attendance to spend quality, one-on-one time with our key distribution partners to ensure they understand our offerings,” he said. “It is standard practice in the financial-services industry to hold such business development, leadership meetings.”
AIG resumed such conferences about two years ago, after being rebuked by lawmakers in 2008 for spending $440,000 to send about 100 advisers to the St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach, California. Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche is working to expand sales as he seeks private investors to replace government capital.
“We are back to the business of being in business and we’re in the marketplace competing,” said Mark.
Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, in October 2008 called AIG’s event that year an “insult to taxpayers.”
Pelican Hill has “Palladian-inspired architecture from Northern Italy,” 204 bungalows, 128 villas, a spa and 36-holes of golf designed by Tom Fazio on a property with views of the Pacific Ocean, according to the resort’s website.
A “Garden Double Queen” room is available for $395 per night today and tomorrow, and an “Ocean Four Bedroom Villa” costs $1,150 a night, according to the resort’s online-booking system. Kate Starr, a spokeswoman for Pelican Hill, didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
AIG was bailed out in 2008 in a rescue that swelled to $182.3 billion. The insurer paid back the balance on a Federal Reserve credit line in January, and the Treasury exchanged its preferred interest for 92 percent of the company’s common stock. That stake was cut to 77 percent in a May share sale.