New WTC Dispute between Zurich and Silverstein

January 17, 2003

A new battle has erupted over WTC claims between Larry Silverstein, head of Silverstein Properties, the master leaseholder, and Zurich American Insurance Co. (ZAI), a subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services.

The dispute, while related to the events of Sept. 11 and the destruction of the WTC, does not involve property claims. Silverstein Properties has been named, along with the airlines and various security services, as a defendant in numerous lawsuits brought by relatives and victims of the attacks that destroyed the twin towers. It has formally requested its liability carriers to defend the actions brought against the company as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the owners of the WTC.

Silverstein’s insurers have not denied that coverage may exist for the defense of the actions under the company’s $1 billion liability policy, but have insisted that the priority of coverage indicates that the Port Authority’s $650 million liability policy should assume primary coverage. Silverstein filed a lawsuit on Wednesday asking that the court find that his policy covers both entities.

ZAI filed a countersuit asking for a determination that it was not responsible for paying the legal defense costs and asking that the matter go to arbitration.

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