AIG merges benefits divisions

Call it the billion-dollar startup.

In a BenefitsPro exclusive, AIG announced the merger of two of the carrier giant’s benefits divisions into a single new business unit, AIG Benefit Solutions.

The move consolidates the group benefits operations of Chartis U.S. Accident and Health and American General Life Cos.

The newly minted AIG Benefit Solutions will include Chartis Corporate Benefits, a division containing Corporate Medical Excess and @Work; and American General Benefit Solutions, a unit with Employee Benefit Solutions and Affinity Benefit Solutions.

Right out of the gate, the new company boasts a huge portfolio of nearly two dozen insurance products and programs, many available on both employer-funded and voluntary, employee-paid platforms, as well as unique resources for underwriting, enrollment and plan administration.

AIG President and CEO Robert Benmosche tapped Curtis Olson to run AIG Benefit Solutions out of New Jersey. He’s been running American General Benefit Solutions since June.

“Through this joint venture, we will not only create a new and stronger benefits division, we are positioned to become a major player in the benefits market,” Olson said in a press release. “Our vision is to create an organization that is built for the group benefits marketplace of today and the future, with an emphasis on innovation, efficiency and a customer-centric focus.”

And in an interview with BenefitsPro, Olson explained that clarity and simplification were driving forces behind the move.

“We found that there was a lot of confusion in the marketplace,” he said. “And this allows us to hit the market running while still bringing these businesses together.”

Actually, full integration of the units into one organization will take place over the course of three phases through the year.

“I think the market is ready for some new players and I think it’s been under a lot of stress from the economy in general and from the weight of [PPACA],” Olson said.

Benefit Solutions’ portfolio includes plans and programs for life (term and universal), AD&D, accident, hospital indemnity, dental, vision, limited healthcare, group and personal disability (including FMLA administration), critical illness and cancer insurance, as well as an employee assistance program. Chartis Corporate Benefits’ portfolio includes AD&D, business travel accident, critical illness, accident, limited healthcare, expatriate medical, stop loss, organ transplant, vision and travel insurance. Many of the products are available on both employer-funded and employee-paid platforms, giving brokers and employers the flexibility to select plans that best suit their needs.

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