What is it with AIG? First it got a whopping $173 billion of American taxpayer money during the Wall Street meltdown last fall. Then it proceeded to spend part of that money on swanky corporate junkets and $35 billion in bonuses for the very executives who had run the company into the ditch.
The public outcry was so great that Congress got into the act and hauled top execs in front of an investigative committee. Eventually, the boys gave back their bonuses and we thought AIG had learned its lesson.
Well, here we go again, folks. If you had a look at today's New York Times, you saw that AIG made the front page of the Business Section and it wasn't a good thing. Seems that AIG insured the US Airways jet that bellyflopped in the Hudson River on January 15th and they are not going to pay up.
Evidently airllne insurance doesn't work like homeowners or automobile insurance, AIG is only required to pay if the crash resulted from the airline's negligence. Since it was a flock of geese and not pilot error that caused the plane to go down, AIG is playing hardball and refusing to honor survivors' claims. To its credit, US Airways has already handed out a $5,000 check to each passenger, though it had no legal obligation to do so.
The cruelty and inhumaneness of this kind of corp-think takes my breath away, but I suppose I should not be surprised. Welcome to the wonderful world of American free market capitalism. They must be going nuts over in the corporate relations department of AIG today. I'm hoping that once again Congress will get involved on behalf of all of us American taxpayer shareholders and force AIG to do the right thing.
Sometimes the spirit of the law is more important than the letter, and this is one of those time. Shame on you, AIG. You got it wrong again.
source: New York Times