In the wake of the federal government’s $85 billion seizure of insurance giant American International Group, or AIG, Wood & Bender, a Ventura-based firm that specializes in helping companies wrench claims from their insurers, has gone on tour to explain what it all means and how companies can boost their chances of getting insurers to pay up.
The firm has already hit Ventura, Santa Barbara and Woodland Hills and plans to visit Ontario and Irvine on Oct. 14 and 15. The prime question is whether AIG and other firms will keep paying claims to the companies they insure.
The short answer: Yes, probably so, but it’s going to be harder than ever to extract money for routine losses. The good part comes in that AIG isn’t directly in the insurance business. It’s a parent.
“When the parent company takes a hit on something like credit default swaps, that doesn’t necessarily impact the balance sheets of its insurance subsidiaries,” said David Wood, a partner in the firm. “In fact, [AIG’s] insurance subsidiaries look pretty good. But what really worries me about the subsidiaries is that they are really susceptible to the parent company’s whims.”