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NEW YORK CITY-Late yesterday, a jury determined that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center constituted two occurrences for insurance purposes. This decision paves the way for the site’s master leaseholder Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties, to potentially collect billions more in insurance payouts.

“I am thrilled with today’s victory,” Silverstein says in a statement. “But this is a win for all New Yorkers. Today’s decision means an additional billion dollars of insurance proceeds will be available, which, together with Liberty Bonds, will ensure a timely and complete rebuild of the World Trade Center.”

However, there is a possibility that the verdict will be appealed. At least one of the insurers involved in this second trial on the issue is contemplating such an action. Industrial Risk Insurers, a unit of GE Insurance Solutions, was one of nine insurers involved in this second phase. According to a statement, the firm “is convinced that the attack on the World Trade Center was one occurrence. The jury disagreed with our view, and we believe the evidence was to the contrary. We will examine our options.”

This second trial regarding the World Trade Center insurance payout began in early October. In the first trial, which ended in early May, a jury determined that the destruction of the twin towers was one occurrence, not two as Silverstein had maintained. The core issue was whether the attacks on the World Trade Center constitutes one or two occurrences for purposes of the $3.5-billion per occurrence policy covering the twin towers, buildings 4 and 5 and the retail mall.

In the first phase, jurors found that an insurance form called a Wilprop bound the insurers to a one-occurrence scenario. That ruling awarded Silverstein $3.5 billion. He had hoped to double that with a ruling that recognized the attacks as two separate events. The maximum potential recovery on a two-occurrence decision in this second trial is approximately $5.5 billion.

“I strongly felt, and the jury agreed, that the destruction of the twin towers by two separate airplanes at two separate times was two separate occurrences and that these insurers have an obligation to pay their fair share to help make Lower Manhattan whole again,” Silverstein concludes.

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