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Jury finds Sept. 11 attacks are separate acts

2 insurance claims could total $4.6b

NEW YORK -- A jury's finding yesterday that the Sept. 11 attack by two hijacked planes on the World Trade Center was two occurrences for insurance purposes provides an extra $1.1 billion, ensuring "a timely and complete rebuild" of the destroyed complex, its leaseholder says.

The conclusion in US District Court in Manhattan left Larry Silverstein "thrilled with today's victory" as he works to recreate lower Manhattan with construction including the world's tallest building at 1,776 feet.

The trial boosted Silverstein's potential payout to $4.6 billion, well above the $3.5 billion for which he had actually insured the trade center. It fell short of the $7 billion he had once hoped to collect.

Silverstein might have qualified for more but he lost a bid earlier this year to convince another jury that some of the 24 insurance companies holding the bulk of the coverage were not bound by an insurance document defining the attack as one event.

To collect the extra money and boost the total payout to $4.6 billion, Silverstein still must go to a three-person appraisal panel, and the nine insurers are also expected to appeal the decision.

Regardless of the insurance payout, Silverstein and redevelopment officials have promised to rebuild the trade center complex in the next decade, including 10 million square feet of office space, a memorial, and cultural buildings.

The insurance companies involved in the case were: Travelers Indemnity Co., Industrial Risk Insurers, Royal Indemnity Co., Allianz Insurance Co., Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Twin City Fire Insurance Co., Tig Insurance Co., Westfield WTC LLC, and Zurich American Insurance Co.

Their lawyers declined to comment yesterday after the verdict.

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