Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - Page 12 News List

AIG’s local unit emphasizes its commitment to Taiwan

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

AIG General Insurance (Taiwan) Co (AIGGI Taiwan, 友邦產險), the local unit of embattled US insurer American International Group Inc (AIG), said yesterday that it would not put local assets up for sale, nor exit the local market.

The comments came in the wake of concern over the parent company’s financial state. The US firm reported later yesterday that it lost US$61.7 billion in the fourth quarter, the biggest quarterly loss in US corporate history.

“AIGGI Taiwan is not for sale because we are part of AIU [American International Underwriters]. And AIU, as far as we know, is not for sale,” the non-life insurer’s chairman Rudi Spaan told a media briefing in Taipei.

AIU manages AIG’s overseas property casualty operations.

“AIU is very committed to the Taiwanese insurance market. It is a market of great importance. There are a lot of great companies here, we have a lot of products that we think these great companies need,” Spaan said.

Despite the parent company’s financial problems, Spaan promised that all AIGGI Taiwan policy holders’ benefits would remain unaffected.

Although there is a financial relationship between AIGGI and AIG, Spaan said the company cannot repatriate assets of local policyholders back to the parent company.

“The regulators in Taiwan and countries worldwide all made it very clear that the money from [local] insurance companies cannot go into AIG unless regulatory approval is given,” Spaan said.

Spaan said that AIGGI Taiwan is separately capitalized and well-regulated locally.

Since last September, Spaan said more than 90 percent of AIGGI Taiwan’s customers have remained loyal and the company’s renewal ratio this year has not been any different to last year.

AIGGI Taiwan has 700,000 individual policyholders and business policyholders of between 26,000 and 27,000. The company’s premiums last year brought in about NT$6.9 billion (US$196 million).

The insurer said its risk-based capital ratio exceeds the statutory requirement of between 200 percent and 300 percent.

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