But company denies service problems after account switch

AIG is to transfer its group travel assistance account from FirstAssist to International SOS by the end of March.

The 100,000 client account was switched to International SOS after what was described as a "selection process" rather than a formal tender.

According to sources, International SOS is considered in the market to be a more expensive provider.

FirstAssist said of the account switch: "The move is no reflection on the quality of service provided by FirstAssist to AIG Europe.

"Indeed, FirstAssist and AIG continue to have a strong working relationship, including the recent appointment of FirstAssist as the travel assistance provider to UNAT, the direct marketing arm of AIG.

The statement continued: "The move from FirstAssist to International SOS is a direct result of an agreement between the AIG Group and International SOS for the worldwide provision of this service."

International SOS's contract for AIG's personal accident business and expatriate travel account will run from 1 April.

International SOS business development manager Mike Ramsay said: "We are delighted to be working more closely with AIG and feel that the global strength and expertise of both Internat-ional SOS and AIG will make for a long lasting relationship."

The loss of the AIG business to FirstAssist should be offset by the recent announcement that the service provider had picked up Barclaycard's Premier Card travel assistance business.