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Remaining WTC claims settled for $2 billion


NEW YORK--Seven insurers will pay World Trade Center leaseholder Silverstein Properties Inc. $2 billion to settle all outstanding claims for the buildings destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The settlement announced Wednesday ends nearly six years of legal wrangling over claims stemming from the destruction of the Twin Towers.

The insurers that agreed to the global settlement--which ends all outstanding court cases and related proceedings--are: Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Co.; Employers Insurance Co. of Wausau; Industrial Risk Insurers, which is now owned by Swiss Reinsurance Co.; Royal Indemnity Co.; Swiss Re; Travelers Cos. Inc.; and Zurich American Insurance Co.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer called the resolution of the insurance claims "an enormous step forward" towards the rebuilding of the Trade Center site.

Negotiations towards the settlement began on March 22, through a mediation process overseen by retired Judge Albert Rosenblatt, noted New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo.

Under the terms of the agreement all companies involved will keep the individual amounts owed to Silverstein properties confidential.

Leaseholder Larry Silverstein originally sought about $7 billion from its property insurers.

Insurers representing $2.41 billion of the WTC program's $3.55 billion limit were found in a 2004 trial and prior court proceedings to be liable to pay only a single limit for the buildings' loss.

A second federal jury found in 2004 that other insurers representing $1.13 billion of the coverage must treat the terrorist attack as two occurrences and are liable for up to two policy limits. Appeals were pending.

Mr. Silverstein thus stood to collect a maximum of $4.68 billion from insurers, and has now recovered about $4.6 billion total.