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Doria-Gill Bill Urges Insurers To Settle World Trade Center Claims

TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senators Joseph V. Doria and Nia H. Gill which would urge the insurance industry to quickly and fairly settle any outstanding insurance claims stemming from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 was approved today by the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 4-0.

“While I understand that the September 11 terrorist attacks were a traumatic, unforeseen, world-changing event, Americans are trying to pick up the pieces and adapt to our new world,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “In Bayonne, where I serve as Mayor, we never could have imagined a New York skyline without the Twin Towers. More than five years later, the tragedy isn’t lessened one bit, but the people of the region are resilient, and we need to return to whatever sense of normalcy can be achieved.”

“The insurance industry was impacted by the events of September 11, but so was the rest of the nation,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic, the Chair of the Commerce Committee. “My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones in the horrific terrorist attacks, and it is totally unacceptable to subject the families to an extended delay in uncertainty of whether their insurance providers will settle claims. We can never bring closure, but we can ensure that insurance companies live up to their commitments.”

The resolution, SCR-126, strongly urges the insurers of the World Trade Center to fairly and expeditiously settle all remaining insurance claims from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The resolution refers to the fact that on October 18, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a District Court decision on the responsibilities of insurers covering the building, in regards to factual questions that remained outstanding. The resolution also urges the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance to investigate the lawfulness of the conduct of certain insurers of the World Trade Center, and to take all actions within the Department’s power to penalize any unlawful conduct.

“The courts have recognized that there were some factual assertions which impeded the swift settlement of insurance claims,” said Senator Gill. “Any confusion as to the facts of that day, with respect to the insurers’ responsibility, have been resolved by the court.”

“Ground Zero has been barren since the September 11 attacks, largely because there are still outstanding insurance claims which need to be settled,” said Senator Doria. “When the World Trade Center was standing, it was a hub of economic activity, and centralized so much of the world’s commercial operations. We cannot even build an appropriate monument to our collective loss until the insurers and the property owner come to an agreement.

“If the World Trade Center is to be given any chance of rising up from the ashes of September 11, the insurance industry has to resolve any outstanding claims,” added Senator Doria.

The resolution now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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