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ST. PAUL, MN-The St. Paul Cos. says it will not invoke the “war exclusion” clause of its property insurance policies as part of its revelations about the extent of losses it would suffer from the attack. “Our task now, as a part of the insurance industry, is to help our clients recover from this horrific event,” says chairman Douglas W. Leatherdale.

“The St. Paul stands ready — as we have for nearly 150 years,” Leatherdale says. “We are not going to hide behind the war exclusion for these acts of terrorism.”

The major commercial property-casualty insurer based in St. Paul also says the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 would likely result in estimated net pretax losses of about $700 million to the company from its US primary insurance, reinsurance and Lloyd’s ofLondon operations. The company’s estimate is based on a total insured loss of between $30 billion and $35 billion for the industry. However, insurance officials say, it will take more time before the total industry loss is clear.

The St. Paul’s net loss comprises all losses from all lines of insurance, and takes into account the company’s various reinsurance arrangements, its catastrophe reinsurance program, the corporate reinsurance program and a provision for potentially unrecoverable reinsurance.

Leatherdale called his firm’s balance sheet “one of the strongest in the industry,” and says it has “sufficient liquidity to meet our obligations.”

The St. Paul has a catastrophe claim team in New York City working with policyholders. Two mobile claim offices will be in place in Manhattan as soon as civil authorities permit them to assist in claims handling.

“We are already paying claims,” Leatherdale says.

The St. Paul, which provides commercial property-liability insurance and non-life reinsurance worldwide, reported 2000 revenue from continuing operations of $8 billion, total assets of $35.5 billion, and is ranked No. 222 on the Fortune 500 list.

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