US insurer set to be first in Iraq as it gives UK brokers proposal for covering reconstruction clients

AIG is targeting UK brokers with a 'Solutions for Iraq' proposal aimed at driving up its post-war reconstruction cover in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

The strategy is part of AIG chairman Hank Greenberg's stated aim of being the first insurer to set up in the war-torn country.

In a speech to investors, Greenberg announced AIG had applied for a licence to write insurance from Iraq, saying: "This is an opportunity to open up a new market. We will be there before anyone else."

The 'Solutions for Iraq'document gives details of AIG's capability in supplying insurance to companies operating in Iraq.

The capability includes: general and third party liability; construction risk and energy; personal accident and travel; kidnap and ransom; environmental; marine; political risk and surety.

The document states: "AIG member companies have the capacity, expertise and experience to handle the insurance needs of contractors and companies doing business in Iraq."

AIG is thought to be one of the only insurers worldwide offering cover to companies operating in Iraq. Its personal accident cover includes full protection for war, terrorism and NCB (nuclear, chemical and biological) risks.

The insurer's drive into Iraq comes as AIG Global announced its 2003 results with a record net income of $9.27bn. The figure is 68% up on last year's result of $5.52bn.

Greenberg said: "Growth in continental Europe and the UK [in general insurance] was very strong, in large part because many local insurers have been beset by capital adequacy problems and could not meet client needs."

The insurer has also established a strong foothold in China by entering into an agreement with the People's Insurance Company of China (PICC), the country's largest non-life insurer. Under the agreement, reached in October, AIG companies will market accident and life products through PICC's 4,300 branches.