During some of the bleakest moments in history, AIG has stepped up and demonstrated its dedication to the communities it serves. Its actions after 9/11 are one such case.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, confusion and fear—as well as immediate U.S. government action—brought the global airline industry to a near standstill. For safety reasons, the entire U.S. airline industry was grounded until September 13. Insurers stopped providing airlines with enough war and terrorism insurance to satisfy creditors, which threatened to ground planes worldwide and jeopardize the industry as a whole.
Ten days after the attack, though, Congress passed a $15 billion aviation bailout program, partly to bolster airline insurance for 180 days in the case of another hijacking. Coinciding with this move, AIG took the lead in creating a private market to protect the aviation industry. AIG worked with 15 co-insurers from across the globe to increase the coverage available for each aircraft, allowing airlines to secure their planes.
Meanwhile, AIG itself also needed to heal. Two AIG employees perished in the attack upon the World Trade Center, and a number of other employees also lost loved ones. Businesses that were AIG clients and partners were destroyed. AIG’s internal hotline, the InfoExchange, received more than 8,500 calls in the weeks that followed as employees inquired about colleagues and offered to help.
Meanwhile, New York’s Financial District—home to AIG’s headquarters—was closed, forcing executives to quickly find an alternate home base. AIG rearranged its offices in midtown Manhattan to support executives, who worked out of the building until the headquarters reopened on September 18. AIG also took out full-page newspaper ads to inform people affected by the tragedy that AIG remained open and could process claims.
Still, many within AIG wanted to do more. Six days after the tragedy, AIG announced it would launch the AIG Disaster Relief Fund, which provided donations to support victims and their families. The fund—which continues to grow today through donations from employees and the company—has served as a valuable resource for helping people in need after catastrophes. It contributed $3 million to support Hurricane Katrina victims and raised a similar sum to help Japan recover from the 2011 tsunami.
In ways large and small, AIG’s actions after September 11 reinforced its commitment to its people and communities—providing hope and reassurance in times when it is most needed.