s32--south-pole-rescue-getty.jpg

Darkness, frigid temperatures and a life-saving mission flying across Antarctica do not often come up in conversations about insurance, but AIG has a tradition of thinking outside the box and providing services that other insurers would consider unusual.

In 2001, an attending physician at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with the U.S. National Science Foundation became ill—but it was April, and from April through October, travel in and out of the South Pole is nearly impossible. Temperatures drop to minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit and it is dark nearly 24 hours a day.

AIG came to the rescue to move the doctor. Due to the complexities of the mission, AIG ordered a backup plane and crew to fly with the primary rescuers to Chile. There, the group waited out multiple days of poor weather before flying to the Rothera Research Station on Antarctica. Three days later, one plane made the 12-hour trip to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, landing on a runway carved out of ice. It was the first-ever emergency medical evacuation in the South Pole during polar winter.

After resting for the night, the crew took the doctor back to Rothera and then on to Chile, where he would travel to Denver for further medical attention. He made a full recovery and returned to the South Pole.

Not every rescue mission is as dramatic as this one. But the rescue illustrates the level of commitment—and creativity—that guides AIG every day