Tuesday, September 23, 2008

AIG Off The Rails

This hasn't been the best couple of weeks for AIG. Today, in Maxwell v. AIG Domestic Claims, Inc., No. 07-P-1858, the Appeals Court lays into the crippled insurance giant. And it seems that this laying-into is entirely justified. AIG denied workers' comp benefits to the plaintiff because he was doing volunteer work as part of a community service program -- a program in which he had to participate to keep his spot at a YMCA homeless shelter. And then it got the Suffolk County District Attorney to institute charges against him for insurance fraud.* Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff tried to kill himself. The Commonwealth pursued the charges for a time and then dropped them when it became clear that AIG's fraud contentions were not based on, well, actual facts.

Maybe AIG thought it had a blank check to browbeat homeless people since it put cute kids in its advertisements. Who knows? But if you can't believe an insurance company's advertising campaign, you just have to wonder what you can believe.

*Charges to which he initially pled guilty and then withdrew the plea given his precarious mental state.

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