But then there is — as Paul Harvey used to say — the rest of the story. Fast forward 100 years: this weekend, 11 a.m. Aug. 22, 2009 to be exact, the C.V. Starr Community Center was scheduled to open thanks to a $4 million gift from his foundation. The donation paid for nearly one third of the $13 million project. With its aquatic facility, it will be a huge boon to Fort Bragg’s economy at a time when the economy is not doing too well. And here’s the rest of the story: C.V. Starr was the founder of AIG, the insurance giant considered “too big to fail” and given $140 billion in government support. It just came to mind that the very month Starr was graduating from Fort Bragg High, the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse was lit for the very first time…
Some history from the web (http://www.nyjobsource.com/aig.html):
AIG was founded in 1919 in Shanghai by an American entrepreneur, C.V. Starr (Cornelius Vanderstarr, also known as Neil Starr) who founded who opened a small insurance agency called American Asiatic Underwriters (AAU). Initially AAU represented a number of American insurance companies in Shanghai, offering fire and marine coverages. Starr would continue to expand in China and also sold insurance to other Asian countries.
In 1926, Starr first opened an office on American soil, setting up American International Underwriters (AIU) in New York to write insurance on American risks outside the United States, again as general agent for U.S. insurers.
As political unrest spread in China and East Asia, Starr moved his companies’ headquarters to New York in 1939. The company merged with other insurers and was known as American Home in 1952. American International Group Inc. was formed in 1967 to include all of the various domestic companies. The company would continue to expand its presence internationally in both Asia and Europe to become the most powerful insurance company today.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is the world’s leading international insurance and financial services organization, with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG member companies serve commercial, institutional and individual customers through an extensive worldwide network. Japan is AIG’s largest overseas property-casualty market.
In the United States, AIG companies are the largest underwriters of commercial and industrial insurance and AIG American General is a top-ranked life insurer. AIG’s global businesses also include retirement services, financial services and asset management. AIG’s financial services businesses include aircraft leasing, financial products, trading and market making. AIG’s growing global consumer finance business is led in the United States by American General Finance. AIG also has one of the largest U.S. retirement services businesses through AIG SunAmerica and AIG VALIC.
Mr. Starr’s legacy has been far reaching and far-flung, through time and space and history.