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
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."