Canadian Underwriter

WTC leaseholder close to settlement with two insurers, while clean-up lawsuit looms

February 8, 2002   by Canadian Underwriter

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Larry Silverstein, leaseholder for the World Trade Center is reportedly close to reaching a settlement with two of the complex’s 22 insurers. XL Capital and Ace are the only insurers not named in Silverstein’s lawsuit in which he seeks to collect twice the amount of his insurance policy, claiming the September 11 terrorist attacks that toppled Towers I and II of the structure were two separate events.
Should the deals with XL and Ace be concluded, the two would pay out US$365 million in losses.
Silverstein made headlines following the attacks when he claimed that because the towers were struck by two planes, he was entitled to double his coverage, or more than US$7 billion. Insurers, including Swiss Re, are fighting the claim and have said that they will pay US$3.5 billion. At issue is the definition of an “occurrence” in his policy and the fact that prior to the attacks Silverstein’s policies had not yet been finalized.
Silverstein has also filed with the courts to have Swiss Re post a US$700 million bond to cover the claims. Swiss Re has already begun paying Silverstein advances on the claim to cover costs.
In an unrelated case, 1,300 people have given notice that they may take part in a lawsuit against the city of New York for negligence during the recovery and clean-up following the September 11 attacks. Among these are firefighters who claim they were not given adequate respiratory protection equipment and have resulting lung problems, as well as business owners with damaged property resulting from the clean-up efforts. The total amount of the lawsuit could reach more than US$7 billion.

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