People are mad at AIG. This week it became public that despite billions of dollars in bailout money being paid to AIG to keep them alive due to poor decisions, they are paying out millions in bonuses. Personally, I am not buying the indignation fro the Obama Administration. To me it sounds like they have known for a while that this was coming, but did not let it out to the media until after the checks went out. This story is not about that however. This is about how we do not need the government to be able to fix this. This is about not relying on the Government when we can fix this without them, and do a better job at it. Instead of relying on them, there are steps we can take ourselves to correct AIG.
AIG is an insurance company. They sell a variety of insurance and investment services for individuals as well as companies and other groups like pension funds. The President, Congress, Treasury and Federal Reserve are not customers. They are more like sugar daddies at this point. We the people are their customers. Like all customers we have a way to show a company how upset we are, and a way to drive them to change. It is a solution so simple that it can be summed up in one word:
AIG needs customers to stay in business. They can not survive on bail out money alone. If people call to express their indignation and cancel then they will start to REALLY hear us. Plus, if enough people and organizations cancel, they will not be too big to fail anymore will they? Now I know canceling in reality may not be that easy. Some insurance products are paid out for 6 months to a year in advance. Play stupid. Call AIG and ask them when your policy is up. Tell them you need to know because you are so disgusted you want to know how long you have to find an ethical insurance company to replace them. If you have a 401k with them, call to ask for information about canceling and transferring your funds out. Always let them know why. Tell them it is because you are mad, it will get into their files. If your employer uses some of their services call or send a letter asking why they are still with them and if they plan to switch. Get others you work with to do the same. If your benefit manager lets them know they are getting pushback it will have an impact. Just the threat of cancels will have an impact. Heck, even if you know you are tied to something you can not get out of, call and ask what you can do and threaten to cancel anyway. Make sure you have a policy number handy so they know you are a real customer. If on top of that they have real cancellations they will have to rethink their behavior.
We can not keep hoping the government is going to fix things. I am increasingly not even sure how much they want to do in these cases, more or less what they can do. We the people have the power. We the people have the power to change our government. We the people have the power to set straight bad companies. We the people just have to stop looking to others who have agendas of their own, and take action ourselves.