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A federal jury made the rout of Larry Silverstein almost complete Monday when it ruled for the largest insurer in the dispute over insurance payments for the World Trade Center. Foiling Silverstein’s bid to collect double the $877.5 million in insurance admittedly owed by Swiss Re International Business Insurance Co., the jury found that Swiss Re was bound by language in a temporary policy, issued before Sept. 11, 2001, that limited the terror attacks on the twin towers to one occurrence. The verdict came five days after Silverstein lost on the same question to several other insurance companies. As with Swiss Re, the same jury found last week that those insurers were bound to the language of a temporary policy known as the WilProp — the policy language used by Silverstein’s insurance brokers during negotiations on coverage during the summer of 2001. Silverstein has been fighting since September 2001 to win rulings that the attacks were two separate occurrences and that the $3.5 billion admittedly owed by the insurers should be doubled to $7 billion. But last week’s verdict assured that $1.06 billion of the $3.5 billion would not be doubled and Monday’s decision took that amount to almost $1.9 billion. The maximum amount that Silverstein could now recover, and he would have to defeat several insurance companies at a second trial to do it, is less than $5 billion. Silverstein and lead attorney Herbert Wachtell of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz have argued that compensation for two occurrences is critical to the rebuilding at ground zero. Monday, Wachtell proposed an August date for the second trial, where a jury will be asked to decide the meaning of the undefined, or ill-defined, word “occurrence” for several other insurance policies that were being negotiated when the towers were leveled. Last week, Silverstein prevailed as to only three insurance companies who were found not bound by the WilProp form. Those three companies, who admittedly owe $176 million, will be joined in the second trial by seven other companies who had already been determined were not bound by WilProp. Monday’s win did not come easy for Swiss Re attorneys Barry Ostrager and Mary Kay Vyskocil of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, who learned last week that the jury had spent almost five full days debating the issue only as to Swiss Re. Both attorneys credited the case put on by Wachtell, who they called a “formidable” adversary. Jacques DuBois, President of Swiss re American Holding Co., said his company had “held firm” in its belief that Silverstein had underinsured the property. “Silverstein insured the World Trade Center as if it were a single house,” and knew “full well that the most he could recover” was $3.5 billion, said DuBois.

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