Ohio KeyCorp Settles Leased Cars Case for $279 Million

Cleveland, Ohio-based KeyCorp Bank will receive $279 million from a Swiss insurance company to settle a six-year-old lawsuit over losses it claimed in its car leasing business.

The settlement, disclosed this week in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, resolved a lawsuit KeyCorp filed in U.S. District Court against New York-based Swiss Reinsurance America Corp., part of Zurich-based Swiss Reinsurance Corp.

Daniel Warren, a lawyer who represented the bank, said KeyCorp was pleased with the outcome. Key spokesman Bill Murschel said he could not say how much was sought initially.

Swiss Reinsurance spokeswoman Alayna Tagariello on Wednesday said the amount is within the insurer’s cash reserve for legal cases.

At issue was whether Swiss Reinsurance was obligated to cover the losses stemming from the lease of about 160,000 cars between 1997 and 2000 by the Cleveland-based banking and financial services company.

When leased cars are returned and the company is unable to sell them for fair-market value, the difference is considered a loss and is insured.