New York, New York - American Home Assurance, the company that issued a general liability policy to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1966 at the start of the construction of the Twin Towers, has filed a claim in New York County Court saying they have no obligation to defend or indemnify any further asbestos claims from the site, due to the fact that the policy issued has a limit of $10 million per occurrence, a number that has already been reached.
In the early stages of construction of the towers, asbestos-containing insulation was applied to the exterior columns and beams of the first 39 floors of what is known as Tower Number One or the North Tower, according to American Home Assurance. The material may have also been used elsewhere in the first tower, but due to a growing controversy about the toxicity of the material and an impending halt on its use, construction companies involved in the project eventually found safer materials to use and, hence, there was no asbestos in the South Tower.
The claim by American Home states that, “In general, subject to all its terms, conditions and exclusions, the policy includes a $10 million per occurrence limit for WTC asbestos claims. To date, American Home has paid in excess of $10 million to indemnify insureds in response to World Trade Center asbestos claims. Its obligations, if any, are exhausted and no coverage is available under the policy for pending WTC asbestos claims.”
A representative for the insurance company notes that since the attacks, they have been subject to thousands of personal-injury claims arising from asbestos exposure. Also named as defendants in many of the claims were Alcoa Company, DiBono Plastering Company, the Port Authority, and Tishman Realty and Construction Company. The latter was the construction manager for the project.