Bloody Monday

Amidst another day of layoff announcements  (almost 72,000 announced today, Bloody Monday)– Home Depot, Nextel/Sprint,  Caterpillar (!),Deere, ING,  just to name a few, I received a letter that caught my attention. 

A few months before the bottom fell out of the economic world, AIG Direct had acquired 21st Century Insurance.  Since I’m a 21st Century client, I received the re-branding e-mails, snail mail notices and picked up the commercials.  I started paying my premiums to AIG.  The world fell apart and I actually wondered what was going to happen to 21st Century under the AIG name.  Existing clients might keep their policies with AIG, but how many new clients would sign on to the AIG name after the big blowout bailout?

Well…today I got a letter from 21st Century Insurance…to let me know that 21st Century is “proud to reclaim that great name as [they] strive to make [their] company even more in tune with the way Californians live today, in the 21st centry.”  There was nothing in the letter itself that made any reference to the AIG name, except for the fine print, telling me that 21st was a dba of AIG Marketing.  On the outside of the envelope was the only clue:  “Attention California Drivers: aigdirect.com is once again 21st Century Insurance.  See inside for details.”

The letter is from Anthony J. DeSantis, the President and CEO of 21st Century Insurance and Financial Services…so I figured if he took the time to write to me so politely and discreetly, I should call.

I called the toll free number and spoke with Harry (Tony wasn’t immediately available), a very nice customer service representative, just to find out what the real change was.  Harry informed me that, true to the written word, it is just a name change.  The website www.aigdirect.com also discreetly redirects you to www.21st.com with this message:

We’ve changed our name, and kept all our great benefits, including the convenience of managing your auto policy online. In a moment, we’ll take you to our 21st.com website where you’ll find the coverage and service that’s just right for you.

I guess AIG feels it will do better by staying branded to 21st Century rather than AIG at this time.  I mean, how many people looking for new insurance will put their confidence in the name AIG?  Wonder how many people are about to get laid off at 21st Century? Maybe we’ll find out by next Monday.

4 thoughts on “Bloody Monday

  1. “AIG, which has owned a stake in 21st Century since 1994, acquired in September 2007 the remaining 39 percent of shares for $813 million.” It’s an old story!

    1. AIG owning 21st Century is an old story and the rebranding exercise to rename 21st Century was enormous. The very recent name change (as of the letter informing me as a consumer of the change this week) BACK to 21st Century is the new story and that is being done specifically because AIG is having trouble getting new clients to sign up. 21st Century has a more positive name recognition and trust factor. No one wants to give their money and trust to the AIG name right now.

  2. Very interesting. In all honesty, it will probably work very well. AIG is nicely hidden under the fold on the “About Us” page of 21st.com – sneaky.

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