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The Sydney Morning Herald

Westfield confident of towers insurance

Author: Carolyn Cummins, Commercial Property Editor
Date: 27/09/2002
Words: 317
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Business
Page: 23
Westfield remains confident it has enough insurance coverage to protect it from the loss of income following the collapse of the World Trade Centre despite a US court ruling that the attack on the twin towers was one event rather than two.

The New York Federal District Court's ruling on Wednesday means payments to World Trade Centre claimants will be lower than first hoped.

Claimants include Westfield America, US developer Larry Silverstein who owned the office towers and others. They claimed that under the insurance policies the attacks were two occurrences the two planes hitting the towers being one event and the towers collapsing another. Under this scenario, more money should be paid out.

The main issue for Westfield America, which owns the lease on the 40,000sqm shopping plaza underneath the towers, is getting plans approved to rebuild the complex. A total of about $US7 billion ($12.85 billion) is said to be available for claimants, although it could take many years before any large cash payments are made.

Westfield took out terrorist insurance when it bought the lease in May 2001 and is expected to receive up to $3 billion from that policy. Already $US150 million in insurance proceeds has been paid, of which Westfield America Trust's share is $US17.3 million.

Wednesday's hearing comprised three claims out of the 22 insurers that Westfield has outstanding claims against.

The retailer has to battle another 17 insurers on issues related to the World Trade Centre attacks. Westfield, which owns the 99-year lease on the towers shopping plaza, said this litigation would take time some to get through.

In a statement on the latest rulings, Westfield said: ``The trust remains confident that the property insurance policies are adequate to protect its investment and to reimburse it for expected business interruption losses due to the terrorist attacks."

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