Tuesday, September 11

Tuesday, September 11
2pm London time: The first reports filter through that a light aircraft has plunged into the north tower of the World Trade Centre in New York. The plane is later confirmed as an American Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked from Boston.

3pm Monte Carlo time: Executives of the world's largest brokers insurers and reinsurers learn of the tragic events in New York and realise many of their colleagues and friends may be at risk, as many insurance companies have offices in the two towers and surrounding district.

Parties are cancelled, as executives gather round TVs to find out more information. Phone lines to New York are jammed. It is difficult to get news of colleagues and friends.

2.03 pm: A second Boeing 767 hits the south tower of the World Trade Centre. This time it is a United Airlines plane, also hijacked from Boston's Logan Airport.

2.48 pm: An American Airlines Boeing 757 hijacked from Washington's Dulles Airport crashes into the Pentagon.

3.30 pm: United Airlines flight 93, a Boeing 757 from Newark, New Jersey is hijacked and then crashes in Western Pennsylvania.

It emerges that the following insurance industry companies have offices in the twin towers:

  • AIG Aviation Brokerage Insurance
  • Allstate Insurance
  • AON
  • Fireman's Fund Insurance
  • Frenkel & Co Insurance
  • Guy Carpenter Insurance
  • Kemper Insurance
  • LG Insurance
  • Marsh & McLennan
  • Marsh USA Insurance
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance
  • Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) had employees in the office

    AON, Marsh and Guy Carpenter had over 3,000 staff between them in the offices

    Insurers' and reinsurers' share prices start falling. At one stage, Swiss Re was down 18.3% on Monday's close, Munich Re was down 17.5%, Zurich down 11% and R&SA down 17%. Amlin postpones its results.

    Wednesday, September 12
    After the shocking news on Tuesday, the US financial district in New York is virtually deserted. Share prices remain static, then start to rise again. After the worst trading day for companies such as CGNU, Axa, R&SA and Alexander Forbes, the market begins to assess the real damage and which companies will be affected.

    Analysts say the world economy is teetering on the edge of collapse. One says “we are bordering on the worst recession in living memory”. R&SA is touted as one insurer with massive exposure to the devastation. Swiss Re and Munich Re reassure the markets that they can withstand the predicted avalanche of claims.

    All transatlantic flights are cancelled and the issue of liability becomes a heated debate. Chief economist of the Insurance Information Institute (III), Robert Hartwig, says the airlines and US airports will shoulder equal portion of the liability from the New York city attacks. “We have an issue where there will be culpability on both sides,” he says.

    Reports break that Argenbright, the security firm for Newark and Washington's Dulles Airports, was fined $1.5m last year for allowing untrained employees to operate checkpoints at an international airport.

    FAA agents discovered the violations on June 25, 2000, during an assessment of Argenbright's passenger pre-screening and checked baggage security. The company falsified training records and background checks, resulting in untrained staff, some with criminal records, being allowed to operate checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport.

    Thursday, September 13
    St Paul says all its 450 staff that work in the Lower Manhattan District have all been accounted for and are safe.

    Aviation security and risk management experts warn that identity cards could be introduced in the UK to combat hijackings.

    The US National Association of Insurance Commissioners says US insurers have the capacity to cope with the cost of the losses. It says the US industry has a capacity of $850bn (£579bn) with assets over $3tn (£2.04tn).

    Director of CBC UK, Brian Bendle, says one of the biggest impacts will be keyman insurance. He says senior executives in the twin towers on seven-figure salaries would have eight-figure pensions and these would be insured.

    Chief executive of broker Alexander Forbes, John Percy-Davis, says Lloyd's will pick up lots of claims because it has aviation, employers' liability, property and public liability risks.

    Munich Re says the World Trade Centre disaster will cost it £625m and Swiss Re says it will lose £500m because of the tragedy. ACE says it will lose £270m and Allianz says it will face a bill of £450m.

    Friday, September 14
    The week ends with loss adjusters surveying the area. Crawford & Co claims the US terrorist attacks will be the most expensive insured man-made disaster ever. McLarens Toplis North America and Cunningham Lindsey on standby.

    Risk Waters says 137 delegates from its risk manager seminar held on Tuesday on the 106th floor of the WTC's North Tower are still missing.

    As of Friday, Marsh say 400 staff are still unaccounted for.

    It is understood that both the WTC's towers were insured.

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