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AIG's innovation is driven by focus on client needs

AIG's innovation is driven by focus on client needs

• Commercial liability insurer expertise for large buyers
• Commercial liability insurer overall for large buyers

Focusing on customer needs and solving their problems is key to innovation at American International Group Inc.

The insurer, which rebranded its commercial property/casualty units that had operated under the Chartis name until this month, says no one service sets the company apart from its competitors, according to Russell Johnston, casualty product line executive for U.S. and Canada.

“I think it's the fact that we're flexible and innovative in providing what customers need — whether that's insuring cattle in India or satellites in space,” said Mr. Johnston. “Unlike other markets, we're in a position to respond to virtually anything.” He noted that AIG provides “heavily specialized” insurance for cyber risk, aerospace and environment risks, as well as professional liability and directors and officers liability.

AIG's customer focus helped it win Business Insurance's Buyers Choice Awards in two categories this year: commercial liability insurer expertise for large buyers and commercial liability insurer overall for large buyers .

For AIG, “if you focus on the customer and solving problems, it's through their needs that you find what you need to innovate,” said Mr. Johnston. He said that 10 years ago, no one talked about cyber liability, but now it's a significant product line. “As long as we focus on the customer, that's where the product innovation and services come from,” he said.

AIG delivers its services globally and delivers them at the best point of contact for the customer, he said. “If that's a customer based in Asia but involved with infrastructure in Latin America, we deliver that service in Latin America.”

Global reach is particularly important, said Mr. Johnston.


“As a company, we're seeing that the bulk of our customers are going to grow outside their own domestic borders,” he said. “We need to be able to provide services to them not just in their home country, but in any country in which they operate.”

He said the most important challenge is that in order “to deliver services and expertise the right way, you need to understand the customer.” He said AIG has dedicated resources that focus on specific industries such as construction and real estate.

“If you bring loss control, underwriting and claims expertise, you're in a much better position to understand and solve those challenges for your customers,” said Mr. Johnston.

“From our point of view, I think at the end of the day when the customer has an event, you need to be able to respond with best loss mitigation and claims expertise in a complex environment to deliver the best outcome to that customer,” he said, adding that AIG has invested heavily in having global infrastructure to do that regardless of where the customer operates.

He said in addition, “simply in order to stay relevant with customers, you need to be open and tenacious about innovation, and we believe we do that best.” He said AIG can look at data and work with customers to understand what drives loss costs in different areas, whether it's in workers compensation in the United States or looking at data around natural catastrophes and “bringing that information in a meaningful way to customers to help them improve their own operations.”

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