The World Trade Center leaseholder suffered a second major defeat in as many weeks in his bid to enlarge his $3.5 billion insurance payout when a jury ruled Monday that the largest insurer was bound by a form defining the terrorism attack as one event.
Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder, has tried to double his payout by insisting that insurance companies were bound by policy terms that made it possible that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks could be considered two events for insurance purposes.
Such a finding would make it possible for Silverstein to receive $7 billion in insurance proceeds, enough to ensure he had clout to call the shots in the reconstruction of the trade center complex.
The same jury that last week ruled that the majority of the insurance companies in question were responsible for only one payout finished its verdict Monday, saying Swiss Re International Business Insurance Co. Limited owed $877 million, a single payout.
Combined with last week’s ruling, the jury found that more than $1.87 billion of the $3.5 billion insurance policy could not be doubled.
In a second trial, a new jury will determine whether the trade center attack can be considered two events for insurance purposes for companies holding more than $1 billion in coverage.
Silverstein said he was disappointed in Monday’s ruling.
“But let me be clear. A defeat in the courtroom is not a defeat for rebuilding,” he said.
The plan to rebuild the area, announced late last year, includes a twisting 1,776-foot glass tower topped topped by energy-generating windmills and a spire meant to evoke images of the Statue of Liberty.
Jacques Dubois, president of Swiss Re’s U.S. component, said he was pleased with the jury’s finding.
“This is very important for the insurance industry,” he said. “You cannot change the insurance contract after the loss.”