For Peter Hancock, his first earnings call as president and CEO of American International Group on Nov. 4 reflected a focus on reassurance, and a steady explanation of the actions taken so far under his fledgling leadership.
Hancock, formerly head of AIG’s property/casualty business, replaced Robert Benmosche as CEO on Sept. 1, taking over for a man credited with helping AIG to recover after the 2008 financial crisis nearly killed the company and led to a massive government bailout of $180 billion (now repaid).
Hancock began the call by essentially introducing himself, and reassuring investors that AIG is strong and proceeding as planned.
“I look forward to leading AIG, and am confident in our team, the strength of our leading balance sheet, and the opportunities for our global businesses,” Hancock said. “AIG is well-positioned to meet the needs of our broader base across the markets we pursue”
He also added he was happy with the company’s Q3 2014 operating results and “continued execution of our capital management objectives.”
Hancock also assured the listening audience of investors and analysts that AIG changes in strategy and objectives won’t be drastic.
“Last quarter, we said we won’t see abrupt changes in our strategies and objectives, and that is still the case,” Hancock said.
Changes, however, have still taken place. In mid-September, for example, AIG announced it had restructured its leadership team to better integrate the company toward “One AIG.”
During AIG’s earnings call, Hancock explained that the move “creates opportunities for collaboration and reinforces [the] One AIG” concept. AIG has 20 different businesses that account for 80 percent of revenue, a reality he said made it critical to take an integrated approach to manage operations.
“A culture of collaboration is necessary to realize the true value AIG has to offer,” Hancock said. “Our customer relationships are important and mutually beneficial. By working across organizations, we tap into opportunities we may have overlooked.”
Hancock has also said he wants to improve AIG’s use of technology to help it better evaluate insurance risks and reduce costs. He reiterated that focus, and goal, during the earnings call. Along those lines, AIG in September hired Philip Fasano in the new job of chief information officer. He most recently held a similar position at Kaiser Permanente, the nonprofit health insurer and hospital operator.
“A culture of technology and value-based metrics will grow at AIG,” he said.
AIG is one of several “too-big-to-fail” financial companies that face added regulatory scrutiny at the federal level and globally. Hancock said AIG is reaching out to regulators in the U.S. with a goal of producing an ideal outcome for all.
“We continue to work closely with [federal regulators] and maintain positive dialogues with a goal of providing insights and information essential to doing good regulations with financial institutions,” he said.
One of the messages AIG is trying to get out is the idea that insurers are different than banks, in ways including having lower leverage and greater liquidity, and should be regulated differently as a result.
AIG also faces the likelihood of more global regulation, and is focused on managing that process, too, Hancock said, with a pledge to continue working with regulators on a global level as well.