Court finds World Trade Centre lead insurer not bound by WilProp form

Swiss Re, the lead insurer for the World Trade Centre, was bound by a slip that defined the September 11 attacks as a single event, a jury found this week.

The verdict comes after ten weeks of evidence and deliberation in the WTC insurance trial and limits Swiss Re's exposure to $877m.

Following the ruling, WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein will be able to
collect a maximum of $4.68bn towards rebuilding the complex, instead of the $7bn he was seeking from a two event ruling.

Last week the jury delivered a partial verdict concerning the other insurers involved in the trial.

It found that AIG, Chubb, Employers Insurance of Wausau and a group of Lloyd's Syndicates were all bound by the WilProp form.

But three insurers involved in the trial, Zurich, Twin City Fire Insurance and Royal Speciality, a subsidiary of Royal & SunAlliance, were not bound by the WilProp form, found the jury.

Seven more companies will now join the three insurers in the second stage of the legal dispute surrounding the insurance arrangements for the complex.

A new trial will determine which, if any, form the insurers were bound by, and whether these forms defined the attacks as one event or two.

Silverstein said he was disappointed by the verdict but that he was prepared to move on to the second stage of the process.

"We feel the evidence is strongly in our favour and look forward to our next day in court," he said.

Swiss Re chairman and chief executive Jacques Dubois said the company was delighted with the verdict. "It shows they cannot change the insurance contract after the loss," he said.