Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I had better learn about American International Assurance

Continuing my practice of writing about things that I know nothing about, my Saturday morning post mentioned an incident in Singapore that involved a (now-former) agent of American International Assurance. It was sourced from this Andrew Tan post, by the way. Tan obviously knows about AIA, but all that I knew about AIA was that it was a Singapore-based insurance firm.

My knowledge was somewhat lacking, since AIA is actually an Asia-wide insurance firm, based in Hong Kong, and is a subsidiary of a firm that is well-known in the United States (and in Manchester, England), AIG (American International Group).

But it turns out that the AIA subsidiary is very important to me as an American taxpayer, according to Bloomberg:

American International Group Inc. raised a record HK$138.3 billion ($17.8 billion) from the Hong Kong initial public offering of its main Asian unit, putting what was once the world’s largest insurer on course to repay its 2008 bailout.

AIG sold 7.03 billion shares, or a 58 percent stake, at HK$19.68 each, the top end of a marketing range, Hong Kong-based AIA said an e-mailed statement. It used an option to expand the sale offered from 5.86 billion, or a 49 percent stake.

Bloomberg links to a prospectus that indicates that AIG may make even more money as it sheds itself of its Asian unit.

I wonder if this will get any play in the United States as the November election approaches. The bailouts of AIG, General Motors, and others are a hot topic for some candidates, but if the end result is a net positive for the United States government, then perhaps these bailouts may become more attractive in the future.
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