Insurers Urged To Honor WTC Losses
BY STEVE TUCKEY
National Underwriter News
May 19, 2006
Posted June 2, 2006
Developer Larry Silverstein has set a Monday deadline for 16 insurers to say how they will respond to new building arrangements reached last month among private and public players in rebuilding the World Trade Center site.
In a letter to insurers, Mr. Silverstein wrote that "it is imperative that the insurers participating in the net losses insurance coverage affirm their willingness to stand with us as that rebuilding begins."
Last month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to assume responsibility for rebuilding the Freedom Tower and Five World Trade Center, while Mr. Silverstein would oversee the rest of development.
The deal would divide $4.6 billion in insurance proceeds between the Port Authority and the Silverstein company for completion of the total 16-acre project.
Swiss Re American Holdings chief Jacques DuBois pledged in a statement to honor the company's obligations.
Spokesmen for Chubb and American International Group, however, said they have already met their obligations, and that the letter therefore was not relevant to their companies.
Mr. Silverstein told a New York Assembly hearing in Lower Manhattan last week that the Freedom Tower will not be built without insurance proceeds.
He said the rebuilding efforts now would be stymied by litigation delays and he wanted the insurers' assurance that the new arrangements would not result in any complication in obtaining those insurance proceeds not yet paid.
"It is an unfortunate fact that the resolution of the claim for massive losses suffered on 9/11 has entailed extensive and still ongoing litigation," Mr. Silverstein wrote. "Our hope is that this new and discrete issue need not be resolved by the courts."
New York Superintendent of Insurance spokesman Mike Barry said the department was monitoring the situation, but has not yet planned any course of action.
Mr. Silverstein and several of the insurers previously engaged in lengthy litigation as to whether the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks constituted one or two events.
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