Lloyd’s chairman shares his thoughts on AIG’s former boss and the impact of dismantling the group

AIG would never have got into the kind of trouble that it did had Hank Greenberg continued to head the business, Lloyd’s chairman Lord Levene told Fox Business.

In an interview with a Fox news anchor Levene shared insights on the effect that dismantling AIG has had on the wider insurance market and his personal thoughts about its former boss.

Hank Greenberg built AIG into a hugely successful business and the largest insurer in the world, explained Levene. Greenberg also set up the financial products division, which “got out of control”, according to Levene.

“If he’d staid would it have grown to anything like the kind of danger that it did, it would not have,” added Levene.

He continued: “Somebody who built the largest insurer in the world, and is a very shrewd man would have seen very quickly that it was getting into trouble and would have dealt with it or closed it down or whatever.”

He went on to explain that the dismantling of AIG had not had “earth shattering” consequences for the insurance market.

“I hope people have learnt from that that you don’t act first and think afterwards,” commented the chairman of Lloyd’s.

Asked by Fox whether or not he thought investors’ risk appetite was appropriate, he replied: “Today people are very weary about risk on both sides. The borrowers are very careful before they take it on and I think the lenders are equally if not more careful before they’ll accept it.”

“It probably isn’t the right balance, but in today’s atmosphere it would be unrealistic to expect people to think any other way,” said Levene.

Finally, when pushed on whether he would accept the job as head of AIG if asked by the US government, Levene parried: “I don’t think they're likely to do that.”