Greenberg Growing C.V. Starr at Home and Abroad

May 29, 2007

Chairman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg is busy growing his current insurance organization, privately-held C.V. Starr & Co. and all of its units, through acquisitions and investments at home and abroad.

His plans for C.V. Starr sound similar to those he carried out while at the helm for 40 years at American International Group, which he helped grow into the world’s largest insurer and took public.

Greenberg’s discussed his plans for C.V. Starr in a wide-ranging video interview with Insurance Journal’s Andrew Simpson at the recent Target Markets Program Administrators Midyear Meeting in Atlanta.

C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. is a global investment firm that owns about 36 million shares of AIG, representing $2.4 billion in value as of March 31, 2007. The Starr agencies, which currently produce $1.5 billion in gross premiums annually, include C.V. Starr Co., a specialist for public entities and contractors; Starr Marine for ocean marine; Starr Aviation for aviation risks; and Starr Tech for energy and technical industries.

“We have different agencies, which we are expanding globally,” Greenberg explained in the video interview.

“They were not before; they were domestic only. They are now operating in London, Hong Kong and they will be operating in Singapore as well. We will probably have an office on the continent.”

C.V. Starr also now has a syndicate at Lloyds, which Greenberg says “is doing quite well.” It wrote the first reinsurance treaty in China for Lloyd’s of London, which is now admitted in China as a reinsurer.

What’s the growth strategy?

“We started one new agency very recently in the healthcare field and we have added new products into the other agencies. And I’m on the hunt for other agencies,” Greenberg offers.

The new agency focusing on the healthcare segment, Starr Global Accident & Health Insurance Agency, LLC , is headquartered in Greenwich, Conn. Through a network of program managers, it will underwrite employer stop loss insurance on behalf of the Chubb Group. Additional products are in the works.

Adding an insurance company or two is not out of the question either. “We started an insurance company in Bermuda, for life and nonlife, and there will be other companies being formed,” Greenberg said.

International operations ago through SICO, or Starr International. “SICO is investing in Russia. We have just started a very significant commercial real estate business. We will be doing other things in Russia. We are making a lot of investments in China.”

The global industry veteran also has his investment eye elsewhere.

“I will be spending time in the fall in Asia. I’m looking hard at Vietnam, which I think will be like China in 15 years. So it’s an exciting thing,” he told Insurance Journal.

In 1968 when Greenberg was named president of what was to become American International Group (AIG), it was an insurance agency selling other insurers’ policies around the globe. Within years, AIG was no longer selling other companies’ policies but was itself bigger than the biggest of insurance companies in the world.

Twenty-five years ago when Greenberg took AIG public, it had a market value of about $300 million. When he left AIG in 2005, it was about $180 billion.

“A pretty good ride,” is how in the interview Greenberg describes his years building AIG, taking it public and driving its growth. He expanded AIG by buying up agencies and companies and ventured into new products and foreign lands, including China.

In 2005, after New York Attorney General (now Governor) Eliot Spitzer had raised allegations of improprieties in accounting, Greenberg resigned as chairman and CEO of AIG.

Watch Greenberg’s comments on Growing C.V. Starr .

Watch the complete 37-minute video interview with Insurance Journal at the recent Target Markets Meeting in Atlanta.

An edited print version of the interview may also be found in the May 21 issue of Insurance Journal magazine.

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