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AIG rescued again

The global insurance giant AIG has agreed to a break-up plan in return for a further $30 billion lifeline from the US government.

The deal will see the US government take a 70-75% stake in Alico, AIG’s global life insurance arm, and its Asian operation American International Assurance. AIG will survive as a holding company but its main role will be selling off assets to repay three bailouts from the US Treasury. The US government has had to step in three times to prop up the insurer with a $150 billion rescue package. AIG keeps losing money and is unable to sell some of its biggest assets.

Problems at AIG did not come from its traditional insurance operations, but instead from its financial services units, and primarily its business insuring mortgage-backed securities and other risky debt against default.

AIG's traditional insurance subsidiaries are widely viewed as safe. If AIG needed to file for bankruptcy protection, AIG's insurance subsidiaries are separately capitalized and would probably continue to operate.

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