Insurance Implications of September 11 and Possible Responses

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September 11 was a "defining moment" for this generation. The graphic images of that day will forever remain seared into people's individual and collective consciousness. Americans responded in many ways, both individually and collectively. The government, with nearly unanimous public support, immediately responded by declaring "war" on terrorism and by adopting measures to provide relief for victims of the attack.

September 11 was also a defining moment for the insurance industry. It was "the largest single insured event in history." Insurance companies are expected to pay some $50 billion to victims of the attack -more than eight times what the federal government is expected to pay through the Victims Compensation Program. This amount is also more than three times the total expected cost of the airline bailout, of which the Compensation program is a part. As one industry observer put it, "No matter how much is written about it, it is hard to overstate the significance of Sept[ember] 11 to the Insurance Industry."

This article outlines the insurance industry's response to the September 11 attack and describes its potential effect on cities. It then suggest some possible strategies that cities might use to address the insurance industry's response.

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Urban Lawyer