I've lost count. How many times have we bailed out this so-called insurance company?
American Insurance Group, the insurance giant that is 80-percent owned by the US government, is in discussions with the government to secure additional funds so it can keep operating after next Monday, when it will report the largest loss in U.S. corporate history, CNBC has learned.
Sources close to the company said the loss will be near $60 billion due to writedowns on a variety of assets including commercial real estate.
That massive loss is likely to spur downgrades in its insurance and credit ratings that will force AIG to raise collateral that it doesn't have.
In addition, if AIG's book value falls below a certain level, as it seems certain to do, it will trigger default in certain of its debt instruments, say people familiar with the situation.
All of this adds up to a huge headache for the Federal Reserve and Treasury, which have already provided over $150 billion of assistance to AIG.
Talks between the government and AIG are focussed on how the company can swap some of the debt held by the government for equity in AIG. The problem is that the government's ownership stake cannot exceed its current 79.9 percent, leaving officials to try and find a creative way to transfer value to the US in exchange for AIG reducing its debt so that it can then borrow more from the government to meet its collateral calls.
There is a time when you need to cut your losses. We are least $100 Billion past that point.