When the international order changes, AIG uses a mix of foresight, tailored services and adaptation to help move history forward. With that recipe, AIG became a trusted partner in Eastern Europe and Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Years before the Berlin Wall was torn down, AIG had taken major strides to develop partnerships within the Eastern Bloc through its Special World Markets Division, which forged a partnership with the state-controlled reinsurance companies in Hungary, Poland and Romania—known internally at AIG as HAM, PAM and RAM. The partnership insured development within the three countries that was funded by loans from other countries. This alliance grew in the late 1970s when AIG persuaded representatives from Romania, Hungary and Poland to visit the United States to discuss adding liability coverage for local manufacturers and medical coverage for citizens traveling abroad.
As the USSR began to show signs of cracking, Hungary in particular opened up to new services. In the early 1980s, Hungary had a large number of tourists and it needed a way to protect its health care system from visitors who needed medical attention. It developed a mandatory visa requirement for all tourists to have a specific type of health coverage designed by AIG before crossing the border, protecting the health system from tourist ailments.
Relationships like these became especially valuable when the Berlin Wall tumbled in 1989, and when the USSR officially dissolved two years later, in 1991. Soon after, AIG became the first foreign insurer in Hungary to gain an insurance license and in 1994, AIG entered into a joint venture with partners in Russia to provide all forms of insurance within the Russian Federation (initially focusing on foreign companies and joint ventures, insurance for imports and exports, and coverage for banks and other Russian businesses).
While the world’s geopolitical structure is never certain, AIG’s foresight consistently enables it to pursue opportunities in regions around the world where others might see only hurdles.