Scott Rhodes, American International Group, Inc. (AIG) President for the Los Angeles Region was a guest speaker at the Jim Gutmann Speaker Series—sponsored by the Center for Insurance Studies—held on April 11th. Mr. Rhodes’ presentation, “How to Develop Resilient Leadership: Bring on Tomorrow,” discussed the financial crisis of 2008 and the impact it had on AIG. During the 2008 financial crisis, AIG went through many obstacles and was threatened in many ways to collapse. In order to guarantee AIG could continue to meet its financial commitments and avoid additional stress on the troubled global financial markets, the U.S. Government intervened to help AIG. By the end of 2008, the maximum support authorized by the U.S. Government to AIG reached $182.3 billion.
AIG faced leadership challenges during the crisis where they questioned how to increase the employees’ morale and educate their customers through various means of communications. “When you’re going through a crisis, you have two choices: run and find another job, or stay and learn ten times more,” Mr. Rhodes advised the audience. He explained that the latter option will be more effective since it will help the employees learn and grow from the experience. One method that AIG utilizes to solve problems is looking back on the company’s history and trying to find a similar experience.
According to Mr. Rhodes, this colossal insurance industry’s outlook appears to be positive. Since many employees will be retiring in 2013, replacement jobs are opening. AIG offers a wide range of internships to participants in various departments, such as: actuarial, claims, finance, investments, human resources, legal and compliance, operations and systems/ information technology, risk management, science, and underwriting.