Backlash: Outrage Forces AIG To Cancel Second Pricey Hotel Party

AIG has decided to cancel a second pricey hotel party for their brokers after receiving another loan from the Federal Reserve for $37.8 billion dollars. AIG defended throwing a $400,000 week long bash for its top independent insurance agents and some AIG employees immediately after the bailout — claiming that these events were “standard industry practice” and that they must continue. They announced that they would go ahead with another event at the Half Moon Bay Ritz-Carlton in northern California. 50 AIG employees were expected to attend.

At least one member of Congress was pleased at the news:

“I am somewhat relieved to hear that AIG has canceled their Ritz-Carlton conference, which was nothing less than a slap in the face of the American people,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). “I cannot fathom how in the same day—the very same day—that AIG asked the government for another $37.8 billion loan, the company would even consider moving forward with plans to host another large conference at another luxury resort.”

AIG’s spokesperson said that the company will have to pay some cancellation fees, but admitted that the era of fancy conferences and $23,000 spa bills seemed to be over.

“We’ll certainly lose some money in cancellation fees, but it’s just beyond the point of trying to conduct these meetings given the uncertainty that’s taking place,” said Ashooh.

Outrage Leads AIG To Cancel Second Luxury Retreat [ABCNews](Thanks, WiglyWorm!)

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  1. savvy999 says:

    How come Congress didn’t write into the loan, something like a 30% pay cut across the board for all AIG execs, VP-level and above? Discuss…

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @savvy999: You don’t bite the hand that feeds you…or should I say the hand that pays big into your campaigns and gets you elected.

      • blackmage439 says:

        @dragonfire81: Bingo. The “OMG! AMERICA IS TURNING SOCIALIST! BOOO UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!!!” crowd screams and rants about the government interfering in the market all the time. They never once stop to consider how Big Business has already infected the government with their sleazy, kick-backing claws.

    • garbagehead says:

      @savvy999: because the corporate executives officially own America.
      ——–>

      <—–this video on youtube explains some of the “sweeteners” in the bill

  2. IR1 says:

    Good this crap was making me sick.

  3. How noble of them. *Rolls Eyes*

  4. richcreamerybutter says:

    This is great news! To tell you the truth, I would not have been upset if they had kept one night of reservations and donated them to a charity (Make a Wish?) to treat someone who would otherwise never have had the chance to enjoy such a luxury. Regardless, I’m really pleased they proceeded this way, even if it was due to public outrage.

  5. Gopher bond says:

    I’ve got some “standard industry practices” I’d like to show them. My Uncle Carmine used to tell stories about them.

  6. spinfire says:

    According to the invoice found by The Smoking Gun, $402,701.04 of the earlier AIG party cost was a deposit, paid for before the bailout. And chances are the vast majority was paid for before this division was even aware of AIG’s financial troubles, since the financial troubles came from a 377 person office in London (AIG has about 160,000 employees total).

    While the move was in poor taste, and spurs on a sort of blood lust among many, I would hope Consumerist readers would recognize it would be far stupider to throw away a $400,000 deposit.

    As for the more recent news, if it was planned and paid for after AIG’s financial troubles were clear, then yes, it was inappropriate.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @spinfire: I disagree, the $400K is a sunk cost. It’s gone, period. There is no such thing as throwing a depost away. Proceeding with the “party” incurs more direct costs while cancelling does not.

      • spinfire says:

        @testsicles: As I see it, the other 99.675% of the company is now subsidizing the failed decisions of the tiny Financial Products division, and for the remaining cost of $40k they can keep their promises to their employees about a bonus program (it was a retreat for sales people who had beat targets). Those same employees are the ones who are making money in all this, and subsidizing the Financial Products division just like the taxpayers are. If they leave, or stop selling effectively, the company will certainly fail and take the government’s investment with it – not to mention lost tax revenue and the overall cost to the economy with 116,000 (I said 160k before, 116k is the correct number but I cannot edit my comment…) jobs lost.

        • Gopher bond says:

          @spinfire: I agree with your assesment but maybe after receiving several billion dollars, it might be a good idea to shelve the bonuses for a few months. It doesn’t matter which section was more profitable, the bailout saved the entire company. People are without jobs and everyone working for AIG had their job saved by the Government. Regardless of good business decisions, I can see how that might make a few waves. If the bailout is going to go to bonuses and perks, than I’m sure people would have much preferred the bailout never to happen. And I agree, go after that CEO asshole.

        • mk says:

          @spinfire: right, so by that logic, if we’re to continue to reward those who were doing right and not screwing up, why are ALL Americans saddled with this bail out? I didn’t screw up, I didn’t sign a mortgage I can’t afford, I didn’t make millions on the backs of those bundled mortgage. I did what you’re supposed to do and lived within my means and paid back the money I borrowed. If we all have to make sacrifices, than these over-paid executives can sacrifice their retreat.

          • EricLecarde says:

            @melking: Although, I initially see Spinfire’s view, I too feel the same way. I sorta feel that all these bailouts should have been put to a general election with the pro’s and con’s placed on every television station from NBC to HBO. Of course though, this is why those men in power who made these decisions are in power to begin with. Our elected officials are supposed to stand for us when we cannot. They’re supposed to be our voice when our voices cannot be heard.

            Maybe there was more we could do, but chose not to. Whatever the reason is, hopefully the right decision was made and in the end we’ll be wiser for it.

            Naive? Maybe. I’m pretty sure of it. But I haven’t given up that the right decision was made.

            • MrEvil says:

              @EricLecarde: Hell, when the American people tried to make their voices heard our elected officials ignored us by shutting down the phones and e-mail servers.

              Government by the people indeed.

          • redkamel says:

            @melking: let me guess, they exceeded their target sales goal…of bum loans?

    • zentex says:

      @spinfire: reporting that the $400,000 was paid upfront BEFORE the bailout doesn’t make for good reporting. FUD & Fearmongering DO.

      /sarcasm

  7. bigdave914 says:

    How do you expect AIG to pay us (the tax payer) back if they can not continue to do business, yes their “business” practices got us into this, I know. They do things like to to sometimes reward people who are continuing to sell their product which is what needs to get done. You also have to remember that other people benefit from this as well, employees at these places need companies to fill their halls or they’ll get laid off too. We need to look at the bigger picture.

    • bigdave914 says:

      @bigdave914: I wish we could edit comments =) I ment to say “they do things like this to sometimes reward….

    • Orv says:

      @bigdave914: None of my employers ever sent me to a $400,000 seaside party, yet somehow they continued to do business. You can’t spin this as somehow essential to AIG’s business model. They’re acting like Internet companies did in the late 1990s — they’re used to living high on the hog and they haven’t caught on yet that the party’s over.

    • Vhalkyrie says:

      @bigdave914: Oh geez…not the trickle down defenders.

      They’re broke. They were saved from failure – bankrutcy. It is NOT business as usual.

      Let’s look at it this way. I screw up and run up my credit card to $15,000. I realize, crap, I can’t pay this back. I call my parents and beg for a bailout. They cut me a check for $10,000. I spend $3000 of that on a weekend in Cancun. I was planning on going anyway.

      I can’t imagine that AIG doesn’t have a conference or auditorium in one of their own headquarters. Microsoft does. I’m sure they can borrow an auditorium from a local university for this type of business conference. Guess what? They need to cut back on their extravagant expenses. No one is saying they can’t conduct business, but Ritz Carlton is inappropriate when you were just saved from bankruptcy, plus asked for another loan because $85 billion wasn’t enough.

      If an average American just declared bankruptcy, then bought a $3000 designer handbag because that was the ‘lifestyle they were accustomed to’, you’d call this person the biggest, clueless deadbeat.

      • MercuryPDX says:

        @Vhalkyrie: Adding to that… I’m sure there are many hard working people out there who would gladly step in to take the place of a “top performer” who requires THAT level of retention perks to stay.

        “Bill is annoyed that his $50,000 European vacation perk has been cut.”

        “Tell Bill he’s being replaced with Mike, who will gladly take $5000 and an extra week of vacation time. We just saved $45k.”

  8. Gopher bond says:

    Hey, when you were a private company, you were free to do what you want. Now that you’ve go 350 million owners, you might get a little bloback.

  9. GMFish says:

    but it’s just beyond the point of trying to conduct these meetings given the uncertainty that’s taking place

    God, what a way to spin it. Complete zero-sum argument. “If we can’t have our meeting in an extravagant setting, then we won’t have our meeting. Na na nana na!”

    No one, absolutely no one is even suggesting that meetings should not take place. We just don’t think they should be held in places costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    However, it’s quite clear that AIG’s spokesperson’s admission that the meeting will not go forward indicates that it was not necessary in the first place.

    • lightaugust says:

      @GMFish: That part doesn’t even compare to him pointing out that they’ll lose the cancellation fees. Almost as if he’s hoping we’ll change our minds when we know that there’s money already spent on it.

      See, if we bail them out, they don’t have to get it.

      • TPS Reporter says:

        Your right that it’s not the meetings themselves, it’s spending this kind of way after you borrowed cash from taxpayers. It’s like the brother-in-law who borrows $1k to pay rent and then next week goes and buys a plasma TV.

    • juri squared says:

      @GMFish: That’s what I was thinking. Why can’t they go book a Holiday Inn?

  10. ohenry says:

    Wow, so, I definitely hadn’t heard that they needed another loan. That kinda makes the post I made in the original thread about the upcoming resort stay a bit irrelevant. I’m with Mr. Cummings on this one, if they need another loan that badly just to continue, these probably aren’t a real good idea.

    One loan is one thing. There were plenty of things that needed fixing, which I felt at the time didn’t include things like this. But if you’re still asking for more money after a loan of that magnitude, then cuts need to be made.

  11. Dillenger69 says:

    They had damn well better not be doing any more of this or they might end up being victims of a good old fashioned lynching.

  12. Colage says:

    Ignorant masses: 1
    Reason: 0

  13. Mfalconieri says:

    Assholes…

  14. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    Anyone else agree that any other company who has received a significant amount of bailout money or loans from the government should have their entire executive staff sent to Guantamano Bay should they try and pull this crap again?

    It’s not that hard to call them domestic terrorists at this point, right?

  15. BrianDaBrain says:

    About damn time!!

  16. Tank says:

    Well, standard industry practice got them into their big fuckin mess to begin with, so maybe rethinking and canceling the trip is a good idea.

    time to revamp standard industry practice too, huh?

  17. bizzz says:

    AIG execs could have headed all of this negative press off at the pass.

    Execs: “in light of certain circumstances regarding our balance sheet, and on the other hand our desire to reward our top talent, we’ve decided to pay for this week long jaunt out of our own personal expenses. We will use no tax payer money for these reward programs until we have fully paid back any loans from the american tax payer”.

    Of course that would set a dangerous precedent of an executive that actually has a personal stake in the success of a company……so never mind.

  18. NoThru22 says:

    So the first one is still on, right?

  19. papahoth says:

    Still does not compare to paying the fired CEO, sorry forced out CEO, $1 million a month for “consulting fees.”

    • spinfire says:

      @papahoth: And he was actually associated with the failed AIG Financial Products division, which is what brought the company down, not the insurance business units targeted here. In other words, while people work their panties in a knot about this, they’re ignoring the fact that AIG is paying out $1M a *month* directly to the one person who is arguably more to blame than anyone else.

  20. JustinAche says:

    To side with the devil on this matter, I used to sell insurance. These comp plans were what we looked forward to. Trips to Chicago, cruises, a week’s paid vacation at a spa. We worked 90+ hour weeks to bust our asses to hit our numbers, and were aptly rewarded. Not going to say going on this trip is the smartest thing AIG could have planned, but as far as the rank and file are concerned, I’d throw a shitfit if a trip I had banked on and earned was pulled out from under me. Especially since they usually didn’t give a cash bonus because of the trip, if the cancelled the trip, they still wouldn’t give a cash bonus. Then I’d leave, and a good insurance salesperson is not exactly an easy position to fill. Then they’d need more money to cover the income they don’t have from me, a never ending cycle. Cancel a few of these trips, and you’d lose probably more than half your staff to competitors.

    Thank god I’m not in the insurance industry anymore, but you do have to realize there are 2 sides to every story.

    • Vhalkyrie says:

      @DemolitionMan: How would you have felt if AIG just went bankrupt and you’d be out of a job anyway? These guys should have felt lucky to be employed, not entitled. If you were pissed and quit, what company would you be sending your resume to? This isn’t an employee’s market at the moment because there isn’t exactly free flowing cash to hire. Especially these days with the Feds looming over balance sheets.

      • spinfire says:

        @Vhalkyrie: Given that these people are part of a profitable division that is subsidizing the failed parts of AIG, and they had no part in its collapse, I’d say they deserve sympathy.

        Lets go after the CEO who PRESIDED OVER THE FAILED DIVISION and is STILL BEING PAID $1 Million per MONTH, and make sure that these sales people continue selling because otherwise all 116,000 AIG employees are going to be looking for jobs.

        • Vhalkyrie says:

          @spinfire: You’ll get no sympathy from me here. I used to work for Worldcom. My division had nothing to do with the failures either, and we barely got a living severance.

          • papahoth says:

            @Vhalkyrie: Yea, but the failure of Worldcom was Bernie Ebbers was an idiot that only knew how to buy companies. You were doomed from go.

            • Vhalkyrie says:

              @papahoth: The failure of Worldcom was idiots trying to cook the books and get rich quick. Not much different conceptually than what’s happening today. Except the fall of Worldcom was only a temporary fallout in a localized sector. This is a global problem, across all sectors, that will be felt for decades. If *I* was doomed, *we* are all doomed from what’s happening now.

              Bernie went to jail, as he deserved. Who is going to jail for this?

      • ohenry says:

        @Vhalkyrie: To kind of go along with what spifire said, the guys taking this vacation wouldn’t necessarily have lost their job if AIG had gone under. They may have been docked some pay and benefits, but not necessarily their jobs.

        I used work for an AIG subsidiary, too (who I’ll leave anonymous), but for most intents and purposes we were a separate company. If they had gone under, we wouldn’t get the financial backing from them so we may have had to cut down on some things, but we had a completely separate underwriting company, so our ability to do business and pay claims would not have been affected. Thus, they have every right to feel “entitled” as you put, to have a job, not just “lucky”.

        Also keep in mind that I was just a peon in the company, not a big wig who even got these sorts of things.

        • Vhalkyrie says:

          @ohenry: They may have been docked some pay and benefits, but not necessarily their jobs.

          Sorry, when I said ‘entitled’, I meant entitled to benefits. This vacation was a benefit, and if AIG had not been bailed out, then this probably would have been canceled (and if not, the outrage would have been louder). Even though they were saved from that humiliating defeat, I don’t think it was reasonable to proceed as though they weren’t a broke ass company.

      • JustinAche says:

        @Vhalkyrie: That was the thing, this division was PROFITABLE…and most likely under a different management (a competent one), so don’t look at the company as a whole. And, if you’ve never been in high pressure sales, believe me, there is a culture of entitlement, well deserved too. Especially in insurance sales, 1-2 great salespeople at a branch keeps a bunch of people employed, underwriters, assistants, ect. If the company is making money because of your work, you DESERVE to get paid well and rewarded. Any company would be glad to take a good salesperson anyway, they are traded like Yugio.

        [www.businesssheet.com]

        As noted, this was for top salespeople, not executives

        @richcreamerybutter: I don’t understand what you mean by municipal and educational employees “playing by these rules”? I didn’t once compare a sales job to a firefighter job. So I don’t know where you got that. But the attitude is earned in respect to sales, a good salesperson can make or break a company, small or large. It’s income. You take care of them, or someone else will get them. But essentially, It boils down to sales and agreements for the sales people. If they sell X, they get a bonus of Y…if I didn’t get Y, but I did X, I would be rightfully pissed off. This was a profitable division and as such, needed to reward the people who kept it profitable. And cancer researchers most likely work for universities and big pharama, no reason to have an attitude there.

        • JustinAche says:

          @DemolitionMan: Oh, one more thing I reread the articles (Cosumerist, ect.), this was for top sales people and independent agents…independent meaning they are commissioned, 1099′ed only. So this was payment for work received by a vendor. You don’t pay your vendors what is earned, you get sued, you lose more.

          • Vhalkyrie says:

            @DemolitionMan: Well, they got the all expense paid spa vacation, didn’t they? At the cost of the already damaged AIG reputation. They can laugh all the way to the bank, and pat themselves on the back.

            • Vhalkyrie says:

              BTW, I know about the vicious and competitive nature of sales. There’s always someone behind you waiting for a top dog to slip up and so they can take their place. If I was one of those retreat guys, I’d be polishing my resume right now. Each of those guys are telling each other they are being unfairly scapegoated, and they are probably right. However, it’s exceedingly egotistical to think they are not expendable if the cost is too high.

              As I said, there’s another guy lower on the totem pole waiting for his shot. There is a PR person wondering who would be good to fire as a way to damage control the situation and show they are serious. No matter how AIG comes out of this, people will always associate the name AIG with this spa vacation and the bankruptcy. Just like Worldcom and Enron will always be associated with the tech bust. It become iconic. You can’t undo that, and that’s why AIG canceled the second meeting. This is NOT what they need to restore confidence.

              • ohenry says:

                @Vhalkyrie: Not necessarily true. That’s not how I’ll remember it. I’ll just remember it as the time that Congress and the media misrepresented the facts, and told people that AIG Executives were using money for a spa retreat, when in fact it was top sellers for insurance through American General that were going on a long-planned incentive meeting/vacation.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @DemolitionMan: How would you feel if the police, firefighters’ and teachers’ unions decided they too would play by these rules? Would you be ecstatic about suddenly paying 10 times the municipal taxes to fund this new standard? If the answer is “no,” are you implying their work is less important than selling insurance?

      Then I’d leave, and a good insurance salesperson is not exactly an easy position to fill.

      Again, I mean no offense, but please read what you’ve just written. Even cancer researchers don’t have this kind of attitude.

    • Luckie says:

      @DemolitionMan: WAIT, how many employees went to this last trip, or were slated to go to the now-cancelled trip…? It really didn’t seem as though these trips were for the rank and file masses, they were for high level executives. It doesn’t seem as though you have to go through that much expense to be rewarded for a job well done, anyway.

      Even so, yeah, if the gov’t hadn’t bailed them out, they’d be out of jobs, so isn’t keeping your job a reward enough?

      But yeah, you could go ahead with your shitfit over not having a fancy trip, while other families whose companies didn’t get bailed out are in the welfare line. Yeah, have fun with that.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      @DemolitionMan:

      “Selling the american people insurance plans which you try as hard as possible not to pay out on” doesn’t really equate to “a good job.”

      Seems to me that screwing people over shouldn’t involve a “bonus.”

      Even moreso, the US taxpayer has given AIG billions of dollars – and I’m not talking about the bailout here, I’m talking tax incentives. Perhaps instead of spending $400,000 on a luxury retreat for sales executives, they could have spent that $400k paying out on improperly denied claims or paying us back some of the money they owe.

      I don’t care what “division” the problems occurred in, the financial crisis involves more than a handful of people making a small mistake. When one branch of the company suffers, the entire company suffers. Ignoring the problem simply because “someone else did it” is a large part of why we’re hurting.

  21. chrisexv6 says:

    My heart goes out to the thieving bastages.

    Yeah right.

  22. Shadowman615 says:

    SO I guess the real loser out of this deal is the Ritz-Carlton.

  23. axiomatic says:

    Maybe its time to revise those Standard Operating Procedures there AIG?

    By the way AIG, you owe me money.

  24. cf27 says:

    It’s ironic that a bunch of politicians who, collectively, have managed to rack up a $10T national debt are all in arms over how AIG’s profitable insurance unit rewards its salespeople.

  25. mike047 says:

    1. These trips were, to the best of my knowledge, conducted by a profitable arm of AIG.
    2. These trips were conducted as a reward for brokers for writing AIG policies.
    3. If anyone here has ever been in business, you know it actually IS fairly standard practice to wine and dine clients and people who bring you the most business. It makes them happy. They then continue paying and/or bringing new business.
    4. Profits = ability to make good on debts and keep people working.

    I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice: The only thing worse than a company run by a big corporation is a company run by the federal government. God help us.

  26. 3drage says:

    Someone needs to put fire ants on these executive’s nether regions.

  27. Jabberkaty says:

    I want a stamp with “Canceled due to Outrage.” I would stamp it on all sorts of things – Christmas cards, credit card bills, hell – all my bills.

  28. dynamix10 says:

    Dont be fooled – Matrix Direct is the same as AIG!!!

  29. dynamix10 says:

    Would anyone even buy thier insurance after this ???

  30. dynamix10 says:

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  31. dougp26364 says:

    All insurance companies plan conventions like this for thier top salesman. My mother and father have seen the world with the company my dad worked for up until his death. The last big convention he went on was an all expense paid trip to Greece.

    While the media is making AIG it’s whipping boy and for good reason, these trips were EARNED by the salesmen and are given out as a reward for sales volume. Without them, AIG’s losses would have been worse.

    The problem isn’t the sales staff but the top dogs. These conventions aren’t retreats for the top brass but are rewards for the sales staff or, the average joe that’s done good.

    Basically, you’re not really hurting the top dogs but the employee’s who earned these trips with hard work.

  32. equazcion says:

    Siding with the devil here, as someone else here has already done, but here’s my version:

    For a corporation, it isn’t quite as simple as “if you’re in debt, spend less money”. As a corporation, if you spend less money, you will probably wind up making less money, one way or the other.

    If you take money away from something that your competitor doesn’t, whether it be in the area of salary, benefits, facilities, even extravagances, your clients and employees will start looking to those competitors.

    The people who run these companies really aren’t complete morons or super-villains. They aren’t trying to keep their fancy vacations just for the sake of comfort. Trust me, given the choice, they would rather keep their business afloat — and if they thought cutting out the vacation would help, rather than hurt, they would’ve done it.

    The title of this article is more accurate than its content: “Outrage Forces AIG To Cancel Second Pricey Hotel Party”. You bet your ass it was outrage, pure and simple, in lieu of reasoned decision-making.

    The public, who don’t have all the information and who aren’t aware of the system’s complexities, saw a very simple conundrum: A company in debt spent money on a vacation. They became outraged, and so despite the company’s best judgment, they were forced to be political and make the choice that would improve their public image, rather than what would’ve been best for the company.

    Perhaps this one cancellation may not hurt much; but if the public continues to dictate to them how to run their business, they will get hurt in the end; and so will we.

    • Vhalkyrie says:

      @equazcion: Perhaps this one cancellation may not hurt much; but if the public continues to dictate to them how to run their business, they will get hurt in the end; and so will we.

      How exactly did they get themselves in the position where the public is footing the bill again? I’m sure it’s a very uncomfortable position to be in, and they don’t like the attention it’s getting. These ‘common business practices’ are getting under the microscope, and people are not liking what they are seeing. I find it a very hard to defend position when people are suffering to see a small minority ‘living the good life’. It’s just going to look like the modern equivalent of ‘let them eat cake’.

      You are still thinking under the model of a healthy economy. Our economy is diseased. Employees that aren’t getting their lavish bonuses anymore aren’t going to find a company in a healthy position to snap them up. Every single financial company is in a precarious position, with anything they do under intense scrutiny by a really ticked off populace and feds who are under intense pressure to keep it from exploding. I really don’t think there’s a competitor who wants to trade places with AIG at the moment, nor attract attention that might lead that way.

      • equazcion says:

        @Vhalkyrie:

        “I find it a very hard to defend position when people are suffering to see a small minority ‘living the good life’.”

        That simplified outlook is the problem. The public microscope is the problem.

        “Every single financial company is in a precarious position”

        Well, not quite, at least not in equal proportions. Most of them are probably in a better position than AIG. As someone else commented, “Who would buy insurance from them now?” Indeed, who would. Similarly who would work for them if they had an alternative? Who would take them on as a client or hire them? They’re in a bad place competitively, and it of course gets worse if you further take away their ability to compete.

        “How exactly did they get themselves in the position where the public is footing the bill again?”

        Mostly it was panic. Major financial institutions were no longer able to function because everyone pulled their money out — selling stock and closing accounts. It’s fun and simple to blame CEOs, but really there was a little rattle, everyone lost faith in the system, panicked and ran, just like in the Depression.

        Your line of reasoning might work if we could collectively get all companies in a particular industry to lower their expenditures at the same time, keeping the ratios the same. Like some kind of government decree that all businesses who spend above X dollars a month must cut spending by 25% by a certain date (as someone already stated though, maybe that looks too much like socialism). Maybe the companies could all work together on their own to lower costs collectively (but maybe that would look like price-fixing).

        There’s no easy answer, as you can see. But to get emotional about it and say “they’re living lavishly while we’re all suffering; ergo I’m pissed and they should change”, doesn’t mean you really know what’s going on and can accurately judge the situation. Them giving up their lavishness does not automatically translate into an improvement in your life, though it may make you feel better. Life will seem a little more fair. Temporarily.

        Not that I’m claiming to know everything. But I know enough to know I don’t have the answer, and that I can’t really say who’s right and who’s wrong. People should realize and admit that more often.

        • Vhalkyrie says:

          @equazcion: Go back and read about credit default swaps. That is the reason for this crisis, and why AIG’s competitors are not unscathed. Also why they are collectively screwed. The other reason would be because we are in a global recession, which is not a market that favors employees to make demands and negotiate the most favorable terms. Anyone who has a job right now, regardless of industry, should be acting like a team player to secure their position. Not a brat who wants this, or he’ll do that.

          • equazcion says:

            @Vhalkyrie:

            “Anyone who has a job right now, regardless of industry, should be acting like a team player to secure their position. Not a brat who wants this, or he’ll do that.”

            That’s beautiful, man. People should stop competing and simply join hands.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      @equazcion:

      When they take money from us, we decide what is appropriate spending. If they don’t like it, then they need to return our money.

  33. bobsyouruncle says:

    Oh come on, I’m all for suitable penalties for AIG, including limiting executive compensation, but this is a performance incentive for external sales staff, right?

    It makes sense that no full-time AIG employees can attend, but canceling the trip for these sales guys would be like confiscating their sales commissions.

  34. u1itn0w2day says:

    HELP!

    After some brain and eye strain trying to read AIG’s annual report and some others I think it says they had 6 billion dollars in commissions and expenses for 2007.

    Where exactly in these reports can you find expenses like the cost of agents or franchises/offices.

    And can somebody explain stress analysis-I think it’s somekind of projection.I thought I saw AIG themselves had ‘projected’ that they might have to pay out at least 20 billion dollars in mortgage insurance payouts-BEFORE September.

  35. RedwoodFlyer says:

    I’m divided…now we shortchange all the room service people, waiters, bellhops, airlines, etc..and the last thing we need is less money in circulation – everytime money changes hands, taxes are paid. It’s not like they were shipping the money to China, it was staying stateside…

  36. Wow, some of you comments show an utter lack of regard for the poor employees that were looking forward to this trip. Now they may be lucky to be taken to Dave & Busters. I weep for the unfortunate AIG employees and top insurance agents who will have to stay home. I am this close to committing suicide in some cheap roach motel I am so saddened. Now you people are going to say Dick Fuld does’nt deserve a mult-million dollar bonus. ;)

  37. AlmetaSaffron says:

    Oh Please…AIG is hosting ANOTHER party on Tuesday, October 14th in Atlanta for ALL of their stockbrokers. Some of the brokers will pay their own way but the top producers will be getting another free trip on your dime! And that says nothing about the expenses AIG will rack up at the bar, steakhouses, and Cheetah Club!

    Hey AIG, did you pay for those lapdances in advance too??

  38. synergy says:

    these events were “standard industry practice” and that they must continue.

    wtf, seriously. If what you were doing before ended with you in a hole, MAYBE you should chnage wth you’re doing!

  39. blueballstreet says:

    I don’t even know what to say. I’ve been following the bailout on savvywallet and hearing this news today totally bummed me out. I almost thought American companies would finally start taking some responsibility. Turns out, we trusted the companies too much. If they wanted a retreat, they should have went to Best Western. Shame on them.

  40. Pyrusticia says:

    @GMFish: For what it’s worth, there is a reason these events can’t be held at the local Holiday Inn.

    I used to sell insurance. Not for AIG, but it sounds like they do business in a similar manner. While these conferences are informative, with guest speakers, forums, and the like, their primary purpose is as a reward. Only the top sellers get to go to them, and they’re published well before-hand. Thus, the more luxurious they are, the more effective they will be in encouraging agents to sell as much as possible so that they qualify.

    Anyone who sells enough insurance to go to one of these retreats makes enough that a Holiday Inn would not offer any incentive whatsoever.

    Mind you, I’m not saying that a company makes enough in extra business to justify the contest in the first place…I don’t have the numbers to prove that one way or the other. But that does explain why, when forced to cancel the luxurious location, they cancelled the event entirely instead of simply downgrading.