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Cornelius Vander Starr also known as Neil Starr or CV Starr (October 15, 1892December 20, 1968) was an American businessman and Office of Strategic Services operative who founded the American International Group (AIG) insurance corporation and a major philanthropic foundation.

Early life

Starr was born in Fort Bragg, Californiamarker with the name Neil Starr, where his Dutch father was a railroad engineer. He began his first business, selling ice cream, at the age of nineteen, and became a student at the University of California, Berkeleymarker. In 1910, he moved to San Franciscomarker, where he sold auto insurance by day while studying for the California bar exam, which he passed in 1913.

He joined the U.S. army in 1918 but was not sent overseas. Instead, he joined the Pacific Mail Steamship Company as a clerk in Yokohama, Japan. Later that year, he travelled to Shanghai where he worked for several insurance businesses.

AIG

In 1919 he founded AIG, then known as "American Asiatic Underwriters".It has been reported that he worked for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II while in China.AIG left China in early 1949, as Mao Zedong led the advance of the Communist People's Liberation Army on Shanghai, and Starr moved the company headquarters to its current home in New York City. AIG was once the world's largest insurance company, and the sixth-largest company in the United States according to the 2007 Forbes Global 2000 list.

Legacy

In 1955 he founded the C. V. Starr Foundation, to which he left his estate on his death in 1968.The C. V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University was named for Starr in recognition of an endowment gift by the Starr Foundation in 1981. The C. V. Starr East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeleymarker was completed and dedicated in October 2007.The C. V. Starr Community Center in Fort Bragg California is named for him.

Starr is the uncle of lawyer and former solicitor general Kenneth Starr, who was the Independent Counsel appointed to investigate the Whitewater controversy.

References

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