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AIG to add 600 advisers in annuities push

– American International Group plans to add 600 advisers in a push to increase sales of retirement products as some rivals retreat from annuities.

The insurer will increase the number of career agents at its newly named AIG Financial Network to 2,000 by 2019 from about 1,400, John Deremo, chief distribution officer for AIG Financial Distributors, said in an interview. The New York company is rebranding its American General career agent force and adding annuities and other retirement products to the life insurance that the advisers have traditionally sold, according to a statement last week.

“What we’re really doing is moving a bit upscale into a more mass-affluent space, incorporating retirement planning into the protection focus,” Deremo said. “While a lot of companies are pulling back or pulling out of markets, we are expanding.”

CEO Robert Benmosche, 69, is focusing on annuities as more Americans approach retirement and competitors including MetLife Inc. limit sales.

AIG has the capacity to grow because it sold fewer of the products than some rivals in prior years, when guarantees were more generous, Jay Wintrob, CEO of the life and retirement business, said in November.

“Bob Benmosche is quite bullish on our financial services business,” Deremo said. “He believes in this employee-driven affiliated distribution, and we plan to aggressively grow it.”