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N.Y. mayor calls for WTC Captive liquidation

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NEW YORK—WTC Captive Insurance Co. would be shuttered and its $1 billion in funding for potential claims moved to a victims compensation fund, under a proposal made Tuesday by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The New York-domiciled captive insurer—which has been a source of controversy over its handling of Ground Zero workers' health claims—was created in December 2004 to provide liability coverage to New York City and World Trade Center contractors for claims arising from clean-up efforts at the Trade Center site following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Mr. Bloomberg, as part of a comprehensive proposal to expand the public health response for individuals suffering from health problems related to the clean-up of the Trade Center site, on Tuesday called on Congress to liquidate WTC Captive, and transfer its $1 billion in federal funding to a previously created victims compensation fund. That fund, which closed in June 2004, acted as a litigation alternative for victims of the attacks by providing compensation through a no-fault claims process.

The mayor said that Congress should eliminate the liability of the city and its contractors stemming from claims over the clean-up of the World Trade Center site.

Mr. Bloomberg's proposal was prompted by a report released by a group of city officials and health experts he appointed in September 2006 to address the adequacy of state and federal resources to address the ongoing health needs and to ensure maximum coordination between city agencies.

"The WTC Captive Insurance Co. fully shares Mayor Bloomberg's view that there is a better way to resolve the claims of those involved in the post-9/11 rescue, recovery and debris removal process than the tort system and the current costly and time-consuming litigation," WTC Captive said in a statement.

"If such legislation is enacted and provides an alternative to litigation, the WTC Captive Insurance Co. would be pleased to see the $1 billion FEMA grant with which it was funded more than two years ago reallocated to the reinstituted Post 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund."