Two Boxes. Sixty Pounds. Tiny Type. What Are We? (The Answer)

I’m going to complete this article the way the first article began, incorporating the full text, and then interact with my friends, the boxes.


Box 1: Uh, pardon for the interruption, but we’re going to blog for David while he works on a research piece for Finacorp.

Box 2: Tireless, isn’t he?

1: I wouldn’t know, and neither would you.  We’ve only been here 14 hours.

2: True.  The UPS guy was a hoot when he brought the boxes: “These are heavy, what are they?”

1: Yes, but David had no idea what was going on either.  The expression on his face was priceless as he said, “Uh, not sure.”  Then he took me inside.

2: And then walked out to get me, and he put me on top of you.  Then he scanned the writing on me, and seemed not to find much… then he roared with laughter.

1: Yeh, I heard him say to his wife, “I NEVER thought they would send it.”

2: His wife gave him the usual polite expression of “That’s nice dear,” as she went back to homeschooling one of the kids.

1: Precious, huh?  22 years of marriage is comfortable like an old shoe.

2: Well, he opened me, and looked at some of the documents inside.  He even commented to one of his kids on the two colors on the documents inside me — blue and yellow.  Perhaps we’re from Sweden, or maybe Ikea.

1: Hmph.  Well, the sender was once worth a lot more than that pipsqueak Ikea, but sadly, is worth a lot less now.

2: Is the sender worth less than ABBA?

1: At this point yes to that as well.

2: Too sad.  Hey, when David opened one of the documents in me, he commented, “Hey, I know that guy.”  Then as he looked further, he commented on some financial data with words I can’t even remember now.  Very obscure.

1: He seems to be able to understand what is in us.

2: Yes, but there is a lot here.  I thought I heard him say, “They could have put this on a DVD, couldn’t they?”

1: I can’t answer that.  I’m related to a bunch of dead trees, and so are you.

2: I resemble that remark.  Wait, resent.  Hey, I am not paper, I am information!

1: You wish.  In all of our bulkiness, finding the important stuff is like finding a needle in a haystack.

2: Maybe David can do it?  He did comment that there was a story here after looking at one document.

1: Maybe.  A company created us, a statute created us, a phone call to investor relations created us.  I have no idea how talented David is, but I am rooting for him.

2: Me too.  Now to all our readers, we have given you enough clues that you might be able to identify the sender, and guess what we are.  What are we? ;)

The Boxes

The Boxes

David: Time for me to take over this discussion.

1: Go ahead.

2: You’re the boss.

D: I’m not the boss. It all started when my boss asked me about some AIG bonds, and I told him that a true analysis would be impossible without looking at the regulatory (statutory) books.  He told me to do my best without it, and give my best estimate, so I did.  But then, on a whim, I decided to call AIG Investor Relations, and ask for the statutory books for every US-domiciled insurance subsidiary of AIG.

1: Bold!

2: Wow!

D: Uh, I’m not sure, but you never get anything unless you try.  I put my odds at lower than 25%.  That said, after two days the AIG IR rep found the right person, who called me back and said that maybe I would get the documents.  I wasn’t holding my breath, though, because I had done the same thing at other insurers on a much smaller scale.  It’s expensive.

2: I knew we were important!

1: How expensive?

D: Well, they sent me around 60 books altogether, and preparation and printing take some doing — the shipping isn’t cheap either.  I estimate it cost $2000 for the whole thing.  I was shocked when I received it.  (For readers, as you look at the picture above, the yellow books on the left are P&C subsidiaries that were too small to deal with.  On top of them are variable account statements for life companies — little solvency risk there, so also ignored.  Hidden behind the blue and green upright books are the blue books for the life subsidiaries.  I have taken data from all of them.  The yellow books immediately next to me were bigger P&C insurers from which I took data.)

1: So, what are you going to do now?

2: Aside from pose with us?

D: I have excerpted data from around 45 subsidiaries, with 20+ pieces of data from each.  My 48-year old eyes felt the strain as I did so.  After I did that, I realized that I left out a two critical variables, and so I am going back to get that data.  After I do that, I will publish a research piece for my employer, and two days later I will post it here.  There are several issues:

  • Continuing profitability
  • The bailout
  • Realized and unrealized capital losses (including the infamous securities lending program)
  • Reinsurance
  • Capital Stacking
  • Dodgy assets
  • Is this strictly an investment problem?
I’m not done with my analysis yet, but there is a good story to tell here.  Were all of the problems with AIG Financial Products, or were they more evenly distributed across the company?  My current guess is the latter, but I am really not sure yet.
Gentleboxes, some praise for the good guesses have received?
2: Second place goes toAnonymous
  1. I know!! It’s David’s HR file from when he worked at AIG. :)
1: First place goes torskbway
  1. Requested Freedom of Information Act documents on AIG, for sure, and perhaps Fannie and Freddie as well.
D: Well done both of you.  You caught the AIG strand in what the boxes were saying.  What firm would I know people in that could deliver a ton of data to me?  AIG.
Boxes?  Any final comments?

1: I am happy for your efforts, but I feel empty.

2: Me too.

D: Well, you are empty now, so there is some reality therapy for you.  As for me, I have more research to do.  I hope to publish my work on Thursday, and publish at my blog late on Saturday.  Until then.

1,2: Bye!!