AIG – a Starr in the crown

AIG began life as the humble brainchild of Cornelius Vander Starr who in 1919 formed a simple two clerk insurance agency in Shanghai, China. He named his company the American Asiatic Underwriters.

Though the years the corporate name would evolve and eventually become American International Group or AIG. Starr’s company, from its inception, was unique because it was founded in China by a young (27 year old) American. The underwriters of the day were European with British firms as the dominate player.

When other American-owned companies began establishing a presence in China, Starr saw an opportunity in the propensity of companies to “follow the flag” of their native country in their selection of insurance.

Starr’s strengths were his boldness and keen insight into the changing social dynamics that would lead to less risky insurance products. For example, Continue reading “AIG – a Starr in the crown”