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Court rules WTC destruction two events

A "Tribute of Light" has so far replaced the WTC's twin towers Keystone

A New York court has ruled that the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was two separate events, contradicting an earlier court ruling.

The judgement applies to Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) and eight other insurers. But Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, has said it will not be affected by this second ruling.

ZFS says it may face up to $45.7 million (SFr51.9 million) in extra damages as a result.

New York developer Larry Silverstein won a victory against his insurers on Monday when a jury in a second court case decided that the hijacked airline attacks of September 11, 2001, were separate incidents.

The ruling effectively doubles the amount of damages Silverstein can collect from insurers.

In April Swiss Re successfully defended its position that the attacks constituted one act.

A spokesman at ZFS said the firm had already paid the bulk of a maximum $45.7 million it could incur under the terms of its insurance policy after the collapse of the twin towers.

He said it was not certain that the company would have to make any additional payment.

“That depends on the appraisal, and it could be anything between zero and $45.7 million,” he said.

Possible payout

An appraisal in the US will now determine the amount of a possible payout by ZFS and other insurers involved.

ZFS said solid reinsurance made it well prepared to pay any extra costs after Monday’s ruling.

It added that it was considering whether to appeal against the court’s decision which resulted from leaseholder Silverstein’s efforts to collect double the insurance money on policies he bought from a syndicate of 23 carriers.

Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, said it was not involved in the second court case and had successfully defended itself in a first phase. It argued that it was therefore not liable to pay out any further claims in a third hearing.

“The third process pertains to all who have lost in the second phase, determining how high the damages should be,” commented a Swiss Re spokesman.

“Given that we won the first phase, neither the second phase nor the third phase of the trial involves us,” he added.

swissinfo with agencies

Following the New York court ruling in May, Swiss Re faced a bill of $877 million.
The World Trade Center was insured for $3.5 billion.
More than 2,700 people were killed when two planes crashed into the twin towers on September 11, 2001.

Monday’s case in New York was the second brought by the leaseholder of the World Trade Center, Larry Silverstein.

Swiss Re successfully defended its position in a first hearing in April and May and was not involved in the second on Monday.

Zurich Financial Services may have to pay out up to $45.7 million (SFr51.9 million) in extra damages.

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