Insurers Agree to Pay Billions at Ground Zero

Insurers Agree to Pay Billions at Ground Zero -

Published: May 24, 2007

The Spitzer administration announced the settlement of all insurance claims at ground zero yesterday, ensuring that $4.55 billion will be available for rebuilding the World Trade Center site.

The agreement, which the insurers described as the largest single insurance settlement ever undertaken by the industry, ended a protracted legal battle with insurers over payouts related to the terrorist attack.

New York State and Port Authority officials said yesterday that the deal removed any uncertainty over how much money would be available for rebuilding and would enable them to obtain private financing for the $9 billion project.

Officials had worried that the insurance dispute might drag on for years, eating up millions of dollars in lawyers’ fees and potentially delaying reconstruction. The settlement is the culmination of a two-month campaign by the state insurance superintendent, Eric R. Dinallo, and involved meetings in Geneva, Paris and Delaware.

The agreement was reached with seven of the two dozen insurers for the trade center who had not already settled — Allianz Global Risks, Travelers Companies, Zurich American, Swiss Re, Employers Insurance, Industrial Risk Insurers and Royal Indemnity. They agreed to pay a total of $2 billion. The other insurers had already made good on their claims and paid about $2.55 billion.

In recent weeks, Gov. Eliot Spitzer joined the negotiations with the seven companies, which lasted until the early morning yesterday.

“The unsettled insurance claims were the last major barrier to rebuilding and have been bitterly and intensely contested for almost six years,” Governor Spitzer said in an interview. “This means we can now fund construction, access the financial markets and move on to what should be our primary focus: rebuilding.”

Business leaders downtown, who have been frustrated by the legal and political wrangling and years of delays, were elated by the news.

“The downtown business community is pleased with the efforts of the governor and the insurance superintendent in removing the remaining uncertainty over the financing of the World Trade Center site,” said Eric J. Deutsch, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “In conjunction with a strong office market, the settlement will ensure success.”

All the parties to yesterday’s settlement signed confidentiality agreements barring them from saying how much each insurance company would pay.

The insurance money is critical to the rebuilding effort, but it can cover only about half of the $9 billion cost of building five towers, retail space and possibly a hotel.

“The train is now moving down the tracks,” said Larry A. Silverstein, the 76-year-old developer who had leased the World Trade Center complex six weeks before the Sept. 11 attack.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land at ground zero and built the trade center, will get about $870 million from yesterday’s settlement, which is to go toward the cost of erecting the $3 billion Freedom Tower, the tallest and most symbolic skyscraper planned for ground zero, as well as the retail space at the complex.

Mr. Silverstein will get the remaining $1.13 billion for three large office towers to be built along Church Street, between Vesey and Liberty Streets.

As part of the deal, the Port Authority and Mr. Silverstein had to relinquish their claim that the companies owed more than $500 million in interest resulting from delays in making the payments. The insurers, in turn, abandoned their claim that they did not owe the money until the project was completed, in 2012.

Despite the insurance dispute, there has been some activity at the 16-acre trade center site. Hundreds of construction workers are laboring on the Port Authority’s $2 billion PATH train station and the foundation of the Freedom Tower. The authority expects to turn over the eastern portion of the site to Mr. Silverstein at the end of this year so that he can begin building. He completed a nearby tower, 7 World Trade Center, last year.

“Look how far we’ve come in the last year,” Mr. Silverstein said yesterday. “A year ago today, we opened 7 World Trade Center, a huge success and a validation of downtown as a world-class business district. We’ve started construction on the Freedom Tower. We reached an agreement on who would build what and when. And now we have the resources to rebuild as quickly and spectacularly as possible.”

Mr. Spitzer said the agreement, which ends all the litigation, was a collaborative effort on the part of many officials who had lost “patience with the ongoing fighting that didn’t serve the public interest or the effort to rebuild.”

Officials and real estate executives involved in the negotiations said they had asked the administration of Governor Spitzer’s predecessor, George E. Pataki, to have the state’s insurance superintendent become involved in the settlement effort, but that it never happened. That changed in late March when Mr. Spitzer’s superintendent, Mr. Dinallo, convened a meeting of the insurers, the Port Authority and the developer to prod them into a settlement.

Mr. Dinallo was working in tandem with Albert M. Rosenblatt, a retired judge who was overseeing an arbitration proceeding in the case.

Andreas Shell, claims crisis coordinator for Allianz, said at a news conference that it was the largest insurance settlement in industry history and that his company was “extremely happy with the result.”

The insurance battle has been complicated from the start by the circumstances of Mr. Silverstein’s lease of the trade center and the destruction of the complex by terrorists six weeks later. At that time, two dozen insurers had signed binders pledging to provide $3.5 billion in insurance coverage, but had not finished the documents.

An ugly dispute developed over which insurance policy was in effect at the time of the attack. Mr. Silverstein argued that since two jetliners had slammed into the two towers, he was entitled to a double payment on the $3.5 billion policy. But many of the insurers countered that they had agreed to a different policy that did not permit double claims.

In the sparring, the insurers attempted to paint Mr. Silverstein as a rapacious developer interested only in profiteering, while he asserted that the companies were being tight-fisted and shirking their moral and legal responsibilities.

At the end of two lengthy trials in 2004, a federal court found that the insurers owed a maximum of $4.6 billion, less than the $7 billion that Mr. Silverstein originally claimed but more than the $3.5 billion limit of the policy. Ever since, state, city and Port Authority officials have called on the insurance companies to make their payments in full.

Mr. Spitzer thanked 14 politicians yesterday for their help, including Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton. In a statement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg commended the governor and Mr. Silverstein for the settlement.

24insure-600.jpg73.81 KB

They did it, I cant believe

They did it, I cant believe it Do you see a connection in that picture.

Larry looks like he's about

Larry looks like he's about to burst out laughing.

The Eleventh Day of Every Month


Physics/Science/Mathematics do not lie, only people do.
9/11 was an INSIDE JOB

My Thoughts Exactly

How about a symbolic 19 gallows set up in the pit at Ground Zero with a couple of guillotines on the side for variety? Afterwards, we have a big old traditional New York block party that lasts a week. When Silverstein and Louis Eisenberg stand above the gallow's trap door, all of New York can chant in unison to the gallows operator -- "PULL IT!"

Interesting fact

"All the parties to yesterday’s settlement signed confidentiality agreements barring them from saying how much each insurance company would pay."

Might this mean some insurance companies who had clearly been balking still refused to pay - perhaps owing to doubts about the exact cause of the destruction - and other companies friendly to the perps somehow found the money to make up for the balance?

Just a thought...

or maybe none of them are paying a dime

and the Fed will simply print up some $$ ?


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


One would hope that Gov.

One would hope that Gov. Spitzer, who earned a reputaion as a NY Attorney General for busting up the Mafia, would devote his crime-fighting skils to at least a preliminary investagation into the biggest insurance scam in WORLD HISTORY (not to mention the deadliest and costliest crime on American soil).

A New Yorker would hope that at a minimum, Elliot has at least asked Lucky Larry what he meant by the term "pull it".

This photograph is perfect example of Evil flourishing when good men do nothing. Of course I knew he was a denier when I voted for him in november, but looking at this picture now makes me feel ashamed for having done that.

"They took it from the top to the bottom, we're gonna take them from the bottom to the top." - Dan Wallace

he busted up the "Sopranos"

And everyone knows that they are the pinnacle of organized crime. Of course I'm being facetious. The point is that Lucky Larry is a mobster, pure and simple, and more rich and powerful than any John Gotti. Spitzer is simply working for a more powerful mafia to put the competition out of business.


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


Spitzer is a total fraud

Spitzer is a total fraud just like Patrick Fizgerald.

"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media." ~ William Colby, Former Director, CIA

Spitzer is a protege of Michael Cherkasky

and if you google Michael Cherkasky (CEO of Kroll, then of Marsh McLennan), you'll be disabused of that hope.

that Picture!

Those greasy ass mother fuckers. Why the fuck do we live in a country where the populace is so scared to look at the facts. Damn it.

Insurers launder money through claims

Could billions more have been laundered through the insurance claim contingency funds that were open for 5.5 years?

The insurers may be crying all the way to the bank!

Holy shit! I've never seen a more despicable group of smirking

shysters in my life! Prosecute them all for insurance fraud!!!

A thousand words...

This picture really is one for the ages. The two chuckleheads extending their hands to his lordship Silverstein, who barely even deigns to look in their direction. His response is not one of shame or remorse but pure, sniggering contempt. Check out the little twerp to his right. Reminds me one of those tiny feeder fish that swim alongside sharks cleaning them of parasites. These guys know they’re untouchable and their relishing every moment of it. That this walking excrement should be extorting billions while first responders can’t even afford basic medical procedures…What can I say? It’s a perfect metaphor for the whole, disgusting affair.

The Eleventh Day of Every Month

they THINK they're untouchable

Might be a good time to say what a good day of truthing I had after work yesterday. A long conversation with an antiwar liberal on the verge of accepting the truth, during which a freshman saw my sign and asked me for a pamphlet, followed by a stint in Harvard Square where dozens of high school students from Montreal had gathered. The deception dollars, building 7 flyers and cards were flying out of my hands into very curious and open minded youth. A great conversation with a local fellow truther about strategy and tactics followed by some chit chat with a group of christians in the square for their weekly public service and singing.

we are hitting our stride and now is when things are going to start getting interesting. think of this picture as their last laugh. the truth is coming for them--it can't be stopped. Believe it. They will go down.


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


Who can read this phrase without doing a double-take?

"the 76-year-old developer who had leased the World Trade Center complex six weeks before the Sept. 11 attack."

At least the Times included that damning qualifier.

Well this is an important

Well this is an important point, we all waited for so long for this to happen. Everything is settled then, perhaps life insurance companies could also have a word to say here.
No medical exam life insurance