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.