WTC Developer in Search of $7.2 Billion from Insurer

October 15, 2001

The developer who had control of the World Trade Center at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks is seeking $7.2 billion from his insurers, double his $3.6 billion in coverage.

World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein is asking Congress to protect him from potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits from victims according to reports in Reuters and the Daily News.

Silverstein commented that the two planes – an American and a United flight from Boston to Los Angeles that hit the towers – were each representative of a separate attack which would entitle him to a pair of payments.

Silverstein and his partners completed a 99-year lease on the buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in a $3.2 billion deal. Silverstein, who built 7 World Trade Center, has vowed to put up four towers, ranging in size from 50 to 60 stories each. Under the agreement of the lease, the group must pay more than $100 million each year in rent despite the fact the buildings have been destroyed.

It was also reported that liability claims could jump to nearly $15 billion. Silverstein has business-interruption insurance, above and beyond his property-damage coverage, to cover his rent payments as well as the debt service he owes, according to the report. He was said to have about $1 billion in insurance to pay lawsuits but is asking that the federal government protect him from paying out more than that. The Port Authority, which is also a potential target of lawsuits.

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