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Swiss Re starts payments to WTC group

Swiss Re begins to pay after WTC attack Keystone

Swiss Re has started paying out claims for the destruction of the World Trade Center, despite a legal wrangle with the building's leaseholders.

The world’s second largest re-insurer said it handed over its $14.3 million share (SFr23.3 million) of an initial $75 million payment to investors behind Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties Inc.

That company is the operator of the World Trade Center properties and leaseholder of the complex, which was destroyed in the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The move comes barely two weeks after Swiss Re filed a suit in a New York federal court seeking to limit the amount Silverstein’s group can claim on its insurance policy.

Silverstein wants to claim twice on his company’s $3.5 billion insurance policy, for a total payout of $7 billion, on the grounds that the destruction of the two towers constitutes two separate events.

Swiss Re has asked the court to rule the attack was one event, limiting its payout. Silverstein has not yet filed papers with the court detailing its response.

Swiss Re handed over the money on Monday to an account set up by General Motors Acceptance Corp (GMAC), the finance arm of General Motors Inc, which this summer lent about $760 million to Silverstein’s group to lease the World Trade Center.

The insurance money covers payments due to GMAC and other investors from Silverstein’s group, which would have levied the money in rent from tenants at the complex.

The payment is the first by Swiss Re, which has a 22 per cent share of the policy covering the complex, which means the Swiss firm will have to pay out about $770 million overall, or double that, if the New York court decides the attack comprised two separate events.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR