American International Group’s (AIG) major
Asian life insurance unit American International Assurance Company
(AIA) is being lined up for an initial public offering (IPO) on an
Asian stock exchange, a development aimed at accelerating its
assumption of an independent identity.

“At this stage, we believe that a public
listing for AIA would be in the best interests of all stakeholders,
including US taxpayers, policyholders, employees and distribution
partners,” said AIG’s outgoing chairman and CEO Edward Liddy.

The decision by AIG follows its announcement
in March that it was to hive off AIA and American Life Insurance
Company (ALICO) into special purpose vehicles (SPV) in exchange for
preferred and common interests in the SPVs. ALICO has life
insurance business units in 20 European countries, nine Middle
Eastern countries and five Asian countries – including Japan and

The announcement of AIA’s IPO represents “a
clear and formal road map for our independence,” commented AIA’s
president and CEO Mark Wilson. “We now have clarity on AIA’s
structure and future.”

Wilson continued: “AIA is a leading company in
Asia with more than 20 million customers, 250,000 agents, assets of
more than $60 billion and a broad network of distribution partners,
as well as a deep heritage and strong brand presence in Asia. Our
ability to weather the economic turbulence demonstrates the
strength of our operations, confidence of our customers, and
support of our distribution partners.”

AIA, which has had a presence in Asia for some
90 years, has subsidiaries, branch offices and affiliates in 13
Asian countries and jurisdictions including Australia, Brunei,
China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand,
Singapore, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

AIG also intends to incorporate ALICO Taiwan
and its wholly-owned subsidiary Philam Group of Companies, the
largest life and general insurer in the Philippines, into AIA.

Moves towards AIA’s listing are already
underway with AIG having initiated the process of selecting global
coordinators and book runners for the IPO. This process will be
managed by The Blackstone Group, AIG’s financial advisor for its
restructuring programme.