I received a statement from AIG yesterday via e-mail in which they wanted to "share facts with me and in turn my readers as to AIG's strong commitment to Asia - and to all of their insurance policy holders globally".
In the spirit of why I created the blog, to write about interesting and innovative things that individuals and companies are doing in Japan-US business these days, I think AIG's efforts to make sure the public is kept abreast of what is happening and offering reassurance is a good thing.
It was not until I read this statement that I realized, companies can also be innovative in the handling of issues and problems as well.
I once attended a presentation by a VP of AIG in NY. He spoke about the building of AIG's successful business in Japan and I admired greatly their willingness to go out on a limb and try something that had not been done before in Japan.
I am sure that AIG will manage this crisis very well indeed if they employ a similar willingness to utilize the 'new method' of proactively trying to inform and reassure their customers in the Japan-US business community.
For those of us who have lived in Japan, we have often seen Japanese company executives offer tearful apologies when caught in any wrongdoing. I often felt that those tears were false and offered up to avoid taking any real responsibility. It would have been far more honorable and responsible for them to apologize and own up to what they did and how they were going to at least attempt to address and fix the problem.
As I wrote in More Money posting earlier this week, business is a cycle and as such, we have been here before. Companies, both large and small, have good times and bad times. For AIG, this is a bad time, a really bad time. Because it is a large company with a big footprint, their bad time affects many of us as well. But at least (and you might disagree), they are trying to own up to this crisis and be as direct as possible with the public.
'AIG is Direct' could be their new slogan.