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WTC insurer says it has exceeded limit on asbestos claims

The insurance company that covered the initial construction of the World Trade Center has filed a claim in New York County Court, stating that it has already exceeded the policy's limit of $10 million for asbestos claims and asking the court to relieve it of any future liability on such claims. The company has also asked the court to recoup previously made asbestos claim payments that exceeded that limit.

In 1966, according to court documents, American Home Assurance issued an insurance policy to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the construction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Since the towers fell on September 11, 2001, American Home says that it has been "subject to thousands of asbestos-related personal injury claims allegedly arising from exposure to asbestos at the WTC site."

American Home claims that its original general liability policy for the construction of the WTC towers includes a "$10 million per occurrence limit for WTC asbestos claims." Because the company has already paid out more than $10 million to asbestos victims, it claims, it should not be held liable for future payments, and should also be recouped any amounts it has paid over that $10 million limit.

In its filing, American Home states that between September 1969 and April 1970, a plastering company applied insulation that contained asbestos to the exterior columns and beams of the lower 39 floors of Tower One, and possibly elsewhere in the building. That company has also been named in many asbestos lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who were exposed to asbestos following the towers' collapse.

Source: Courthouse News, "WTC Insurer Says Asbestos Money's Gone," Dan McCue, April 9, 2012

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