Wintrob says SunAmerica and VALIC products will be back on distributors' shelves

In letter to employees, Wintrob says Benmosche will push distribution partners to sell company's products again

Aug 20, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

By Darla Mercado

Having taken over as chief executive of American International Group Inc.'s Domestic Life and Retirement Services, Jay S. Wintrob has assured employees in a letter that SunAmerica and VALIC products will be back on distributors' shelves.

“Bob [Benmosche] will help us convince our distribution partners who have suspended/de-emphasized sales of our products due to AIG issues to get us ‘back on the shelf,'” Mr. Wintrob wrote in a letter today to employees at the Los Angeles unit.

Mr. Wintrob, who now heads up the conglomerate of New York-based AIG's U.S. life insurance and retirement services businesses, greeted workers with the missive on his first day in the new post, giving the employees an idea of what is to come under the guidance of Robert Benmosche, AIG's new chief executive.

Previously, Mr. Wintrob was president and chief executive of AIG Retirement Services Inc. in Los Angeles.

The move comes after Mr. Benmosche revealed earlier this week that AIG will retain its broker-dealer network -- which was previously for sale. That unit is part of the AIG's retirement services business overseen by Mr. Wintrob.

Last week, Mr. Benmosche met with workers at Domestic Life and Retirement Services and offered words of encouragement on the potential behind the businesses, reminding them that they “are the ones who know what is best” for the businesses and appreciating the employees' “loyalty and perseverance in coming to work every day,” according to Mr. Wintrob's letter.

But Mr. Benmosche also has plans to rekindle relationships with banks and broker-dealers to get them selling annuities and life insurance again.

A number of distributors and advisers shied away from annuities offered by The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co. in Houston and Los Angeles-based AIG SunAmerica Life Assurance Co.'s products in the aftermath of AIG's crisis last fall.

“Getting reinstated with our key distributors is key to our growth, and Bob has already set up calls with the CEOs and senior officers with some of our key bank and broker-dealer distributors on our behalf,” Mr. Wintrob wrote in his letter.

Mr. Benmosche had also made it clear that he doesn't plan to sell, spin off or make an initial public offering of Domestic Life and Retirement Services anytime in the near future, Mr. Wintrob wrote.

“Instead, he wants to support us in growing our business,” Mr. Wintrob wrote.

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