NEW YORK — American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) today announced an initial $4 million investment with Clemson University to develop a risk engineering and analytics center and to establish the Robert Benmosche Endowed Professorship in Risk Engineering and Systems Analytics, in honor of the company’s former president and chief executive officer.

An AIG engineer learns how to test a fire hydrant this week at Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Research Center.

An AIG engineer learns how to test a fire hydrant this week at Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Research Center.
Image Credit: Craig Mahaffey / Clemson University

The center, which will be based on Clemson’s South Carolina campus, will expand AIG’s engineering capabilities, complementing the company’s three-year investment in hiring 500 risk engineers and building an engineering and analytics center of excellence in Bangalore, India. AIG and Clemson will continue to explore ways to expand their partnership and collaboration.

The endowed professorship will develop curriculum and educational programs in the field of risk engineering and analytics, cultivate scientific investigation and research, recruit world-class faculty, and create marketable technologies that advance the field.

The partnership will draw on Clemson’s vast engineering and research capabilities as well as AIG’s data and risk expertise, developed over its more than 95 years as a global insurer. The center will enhance the understanding of risk and ways to mitigate it. Its mission will be to create a next-generation workforce skilled in risk engineering and systems analytics, develop innovative technology-based tools to mitigate risk exposure, and facilitate the use of big data to make critical decisions.

“Our relationship with Clemson furthers the substantial investments AIG is making in technology, data insights and engineering to partner with our clients in new ways. It’s a critical part of AIG’s strategy to serve as a valued advisor to clients who are managing increasingly complex risks,” said John Doyle, Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Insurance, AIG. “The endowed professorship honors Bob Benmosche, who recognized early the tremendous value AIG can offer clients through engineering and analytics.”

Key areas of research for the risk engineering and analytics center will include:

  • Improving cybersecurity to make systems less vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters
  • Catastrophe modeling
  • Supply chain and logistics risk
  • Loss modeling and tool development
  • Dynamic pricing models for emerging countries
  • Predictive risk modeling
  • A coastal resilience initiative focused on risks from hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters
  • Enhanced capacity to analyze unstructured data to benchmark frequent loss events and causes

Clemson will provide loss-prevention training with real-world and virtual reality-based exercises. The center will train analysts to join members of AIG’s loss-prevention team, with a special emphasis on understanding risks and how to best prevent and mitigate them.

In addition, online curricula will be created offering graduate certificates in risk engineering, systems analytics, catastrophe modeling and enterprise risk management.  Courses will include decision-making under uncertainty, performance assessment of deteriorating systems and post-disaster response and recovery.  The certificates can be combined to meet requirements for a master’s degree under development.

“We are pleased to team with AIG,” Clemson President James P. Clements said. “We have the opportunity to play a leadership role in research and education that can save lives and property. This important work will directly benefit multiple stakeholders, including Clemson’s students and faculty and AIG’s clients.”

James Martin

James Martin

James Martin, the center’s director and chair of Clemson’s Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, said that AIG will benefit from the school’s intellectual capital, highly-regarded faculty and top-ranked supercomputing power of its renowned Palmetto Cluster computer.

“In our role as global game-changers, the College of Engineering and Science is on a continuous mission to partner with the world’s top institutions,” Martin added. “That is why we are excited to launch this bold, innovative and dynamic partnership with AIG. We believe it is just the start of an enterprise that will not only provide new opportunities for AIG and Clemson, but will also transform the field of risk engineering and analysis.”

Robert H. Jones, Clemson’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said that the university’s global partnerships provide a competitive advantage for students, faculty members and industry partners.

“Clemson is building bridges all over the world,” Jones said. “We’re setting the stage to have a global impact through our research and by preparing students with the 21st century skill set they will need in the workplace.”

Brett Dalton, vice president for finance and operations at Clemson, said he sees the collaboration as the beginning of a long, fruitful relationship between AIG and Clemson.

“I’m excited to see two leading organizations come together for the greater good,” Dalton said. “Both bring so much to the table. This will be truly transformational.”

Key components of this collaboration include: creating a next-generation workforce that is skilled in risk engineering and systems analytics; developing technology-based tools that help mitigate risks; and pursuing cross disciplinary research in the wise use of big data to make critical decisions.

Bruce Clarke, global engineering training manager for AIG Global Property, wears orange while conducting fire systems training this week at Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Research Center. AIG engineers from South Africa, India, Australia, Brazil, England, Germany and the United States participated in the first class to be held as part of the AIG-Clemson collaboration.

Bruce Clarke, global engineering training manager for AIG Global Property, wears orange while conducting fire systems training this week at Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Research Center. AIG engineers from South Africa, India, Australia, Brazil, England, Germany and the United States participated in the first class to be held as part of the AIG-Clemson collaboration.
Image Credit: Craig Mahaffey / Clemson University

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science, said that global partnerships will be even more critical as the world becomes more interconnected.

“The beauty of this partnership is that it presents tremendous opportunities for AIG, as well as Clemson,” Gramopadhye said. “AIG will be able to use Clemson’s advantages as a global research institution to more strategically serve its clients.

Meanwhile, Clemson will leverage the partnership to cement our leadership role in risk engineering and analytics, while continuing on our path to preeminence.

“AIG’s real-world experience and global footprint, combined with Clemson’s intellectual horsepower and academic entrepreneurship, will create a world-class ‘collision space’ that sparks innovation to address grand societal challenges of our rapidly evolving world.  The idea is to transform and disrupt the way we do business and the way we educate, creating global impact.”

Kapil Chalil Madathil, a Clemson assistant professor who serves as the center’s deputy director, is playing a central role in working out the details of the agreement with AIG.

“A partnership of this sort involving AIG scientists, Clemson faculty members, researchers and students has the potential to create disruptive innovations both in the insurance industry and academia,” he said.

END