For one thing, the insurance behemoth the Federal Reserve just acquired for $85 billion is profitable, explains the New York Times. AIG, which started out insuring assets in Asia, is wildly diversified and sprawling globally. Businesses range from retirement plans in the US to life insurance in the Philippines to private banking in Zurich. Half of AIG's 116,000 employees are in Asia.
Some 50% of AIG's $110 billion in revenue last year came from its general insurance business, which the Times says has held up well. An aircraft leasing arm has been lucrative. AIG also operates groups that manage mutual funds, provide brokerage services, and invest in major development projects in Asia. Its potentially catastrophic losses primarily came from a London-based financial products group deep into the mortgage securities mess.