AIG, Marketing isn’t Going to Save You

Ah yeah, AIG again, this company can supply me with more material for articles than China’s food safety problem!  The basics of the current issues are, a group of reinsurance companies (of which AIG is one) agreed to fund a workers comp fund and each year, companies would put in their fair share of the total.  But AIG has been cheating the fund and the other companies have had to pick up the slack, which cuts into their profits and ability to give fair rates.  This seems like one more thing in a long and growing list of problems with AIG.  The more I dig into this company the more I really have to question if this is a company to do business with.


AIG used to use the tag line “we know money.”  No longer, haven’t seen that in a few years after the accounting scandal that brought Hank their former CEO down.  Since then, AIG has been marketing more and more, I have seen their print and television ads quite a lot.  It first started with the auto insurance and now to other units of the company.  The overall theme seems to be that AIG can save you money and be there for you.  Sounds like a good idea.  I do agree that it was a smart idea to drop the old tag line, with all those accounting problems; it would have just been a great line for cracking jokes about the company.  But this is one time where marketing is really not the answer to helping the company’s image.


A simple newsfeed search will show that AIG has a lot of legal problems, there must be at least half a dozen states suing them or threatening to sue them for something.  There are also, many message boards and blogs from people claiming to be customers, really ripping into the company at a level that is rare. 


I’ve seen a spike in AIG ads and I believe this is an attempt to try and stave off the fact that they just are not really customer friendly.  They operate on the profit center model, which kind of sums it up, profits, that’s what matters.  Customers make profits, that’s what matters to me.  Good service and good client relationships is what drives the profits.  I’d call them customer centers if I were in charge and then go out of my way to prove it. 


Don’t get me wrong, I think AIG will continue to grow, there are plenty of people who want an insurance company to sue anyone who tries to make a claim.  But I think as consumer tastes change, we are seeing the last of the giants of this kind.  The AIG model is just not going to stand up to consumers who demand better service and treatment.  At least I sure hope so, if we all end up working in such models as AIG’s, that’s going to be one scary world.  And I love the world of business but there are just some models that just should be relegated to the history books. 


I think if a real insurance company came along that focused more on customers than on profits, they would put these big players out of business in two decades.  Sounds like a long time but not when you are talking hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.  For the AIG’s of the world, clean up your act, or the new consumer tastes will clean it for you.


Filed under Branding, Business, Customer Satisfaction, Marketing

2 responses to “AIG, Marketing isn’t Going to Save You

  1. This posting was brought to my attention by a Google Alert on “Real Insurance”. The posting struck a cord, because the company I work for came about after market research saying that consumers are confused by insurance, and that all insurance companies are the same. Consumers do not have any idea really what they are covered for and frankly insurance companies don’t make it very easy for consumers to find out (ever tried to read your 80 page policy wording?).

    At our company we said to ourselves that this is actually our responsibility: Make sure we provide the right level of cover for what consumers are willing to pay. Make sure we provide the social function that insurance needs to perform: Assume the risks that an individual cannot or should not assume. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    We call that Real Insurance.

    So I quite liked your quote: “I think if a real insurance company came along that focused more on customers …”.

    Anyway, our customers like what we are doing!

  2. I saw this really great post today….

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