American International Group Inc. (AIG) has its roots in the 1919 founding of American Asiatic Underwriters (AAU) by American Cornelius Vander Starr in Shanghai, China. Within ten years, AAU had branches throughout China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
In 1926, the company expanded to the United States under the name American International Underwriters Corporation (AIU). Starr also focused on the Latin American market, opening a branch in Havana, Cuba in the late 1930s.
In 1939, Starr moved his company’s headquarters from Shanghai to New York City.
After WWII, AIU entered Japan and Germany to provide insurance to American military personnel.
In the 1940s and 1950s AIU entered France, Italy, and the U.K.
By the end of the 1950s, AIU was operating in 75 countries by way of an extensive network of offices and agents.
In 1967, American International Group (AIG) was incorporated as an umbrella organization for all of the different insurance businesses.
AIG went public in 1969. Throughout the next decades, the company continued to expand business by offering specialty products in niche markets such as energy, transportation, and shipping products, as well as risk management, pollution liability, and political risk.
AIG suffered huge losses during the financial crisis of 2008 as the company had sold default insurance on billions of dollars of structured debt securities backed by sub-prime loans.
Today AIG is the 62nd-largest public company in the world with customers in more than 130 countries and 63,000 employees globally. AIG had $65.656 billion in revenue in 2012.