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What Made AIG Great Before It Collapsed

Wednesday - 3/27/2013, 10:08am  ET

For many, the history of AIG starts in September, 2008, when it collapsed and was bailed out by the U.S. government.

That's unfortunate, because the company has a deep history spanning nearly a century. Long before it was bailed out, and long before it bet heavily on risky mortgage derivatives, it was the one of the most successful and admired insurance companies in the world.

I recently interviewed former AIG chairman and CEO Hank Greenberg, who ran the company for almost 50 years before retiring in 2005. I asked him a simple question: What made AIG great during its heyday? Here's what he had to say (transcript follows):