AIG traces its roots from a humble, two-room insurance agency in Shanghai, China, to the leading global insurance organization it is today. Time and time again, the deep expertise of AIG’s people has allowed the company to pioneer new markets, products and services to help clients address their most challenging risks.

Looking ahead, the most important part of AIG’s history is yet to be written. We remain committed to the principles that have guided us: excellence at understanding risk, commitment to keeping our promises and dedication to exemplary corporate citizenship.

A History of Innovation

At the heart of AIG’s success has been its vision, ingenuity and willingness to seek out new markets and develop new ways to help our clients manage their risk.


American Asiatic Underwriters opened for business by Cornelius Vander Starr in Shanghai, China — one of the first Western insurers to sell directly to local Chinese clients

CV Starr with Chinese person

National Life and Accident Insurance Company, later to become part of AIG, recognized the marketing potential of radio and in an unorthodox move, launched radio station WSM along with what has become the longest-running radio program in U.S. history, “The Grand Ole Opry”

WSM radio microphone

First U.S. office opened in New York

First AIG NYC office building

Operations established in Havana, Cuba — later to become regional headquarters during World War II

AIG executives near airplane in Havana post WWII

First foreign insurance company to enter Japan after World War II

AIG Japan office building after WWII

American International Reinsurance Company formed in Bermuda, leading to the development of captive insurance for a broader market

AIG Bermuda office building

VALIC, later to join AIG and become AIG Retirement Services, enrolls the first public school district in a 403(b) retirement program — an American first

1960s teacher with students in classroom

American International Group, Inc. incorporated in Delaware

AIG stock certificate

Celebrated 50th anniversary and stock began publicly trading

AIG 1969 Annual Report Cover Design

Listed on the New York Stock Exchange

AIG New York Stock Exchange ticker

First foreign insurer licensed to operate in the People’s Republic of China

AIG China Advertisement

SunAmerica, later to become part of AIG, introduced Polaris® — one of the nation’s first multi-managed variable annuities

Polaris brochure

Acquired SunAmerica, Inc., a leading retirement and financial services company

SunAmerica logo

Provided one of the first cyber security insurance protection programs

Person near computers

Acquired American General Corporation, a leading life insurer

American General logo

Led the insurance effort to protect the aviation industry following the 9/11 terror attacks

Airplanes on tarmac

Acquired Travel Guard®, a provider of travel insurance programs and emergency travel assistance

Travelers waiting in line with suitcases

Participated in the formation of the consortium Blue Marble Microinsurance

Planet Earth

Debuted fixed annuity product with a guaranteed living benefit nationwide, including the first-ever of its kind in the state of New York: the Assured Edge Income Builder®

Retirement adviser with clients

Blackboard Insurance began its technology- and analytics-driven business serving commercial customers in the middle market

Blackboard Insurance logo

Acquired Validus Holdings, Ltd., a leading provider of reinsurance, primary insurance and asset management services

Shipping port

The official Centennial website - - tells more of AIG’s story, celebrating the value we deliver to our clients, to our stakeholders and to the world.