Mad Money

Amid blustery dispute, AIG insanely cheap, says Cramer

AIG's Benmosche: Insurance is not a commodity

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Of all the insurance companies that Jim Cramer follows, he said AIG has got to be the cheapest.

"The stock is still selling for less than 75% of its book value; that's insanely cheap for a financial," he explained.

Cramer's comments came amid a conversation with AIG CEO Bob Benmosche, in which the "Mad Money" host touched on several current issues including the recent lawsuit AIG filed against a financial watchdog in New York.

"Effectively, AIG is suing the commissioner who is trying to regulate foreign insurance," Cramer explained.

According to published reports, "The dispute involves whether AIG unlawfully sold insurance in the state to multinational companies without proper licensing through two insurers that in 2010 it sold to MetLife."

In a statement AIG said, "Although AIG does not believe that the conduct in question violated the law…. The Department of Financial Services' recent conclusion that there was a violation compels us to file this complaint seeking a declaration that the Department's position is unconstitutional."

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Benmosche didn't comment specifically on the lawsuit during his CNBC interview, but he did say, "We're a regulated business. And regulators want to make sure we deliver on our promise."

Turning attention to the stock and whether shares could rally, Cramer said, "You may need to take your time… but I think AIG has more room to run."

Cramer largely believes that the economy is on the brink of a substantial rebound and if that's the case, AIG should benefit enormously, in part due to the accompanying higher interest rates.

"You see, the real profit driver for insurance companies is not the premiums you pay, but rather how insurance companies invest that money. When rates go higher higher, then AIG can get a much better return when it invests premiums in longer-term bonds," he said.

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"Bernstein Research just came out with a very smart note today saying they believe that AIG's valuation can ultimately double over time," Cramer added.

Specifically, analyst Josh Stirling upgraded the stock to outperform and suggested that the stock may have a 50% upside in a "risk on" market.

"The thesis here is that AIG is still a high quality global franchise, and they believe the earnings, which by the way were terrific the last time the company reported back in February, will keep recovering very nicely," Cramer said.

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