Insurers Win $9.4B Judgment Against Hezbollah

NU Online News Service, March 28, 2:57 p.m. EST

A U.S. district-court judge has awarded a group of insurers $9.35 billion after entering a final judgment against Hezbollah in a lawsuit over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels in the Southern District of New York assessed the damages.

The group of insurers, which includes subsidiaries of Chubb Corp., AXA Group, OneBeacon, and Munich Reinsurance Co., won a default judgment against Hezbollah and al-Qaida in 2006 when the two never contested the suit, filed in September 2003.

Chubb’s Federal Insurance Co. is to receive a large share of the overall award—about $4.54 billion, according to court documents. When the suit was filed, Federal had made payments to insureds of more than $929 million.

Another subsidiary of Chubb, Great Northern Insurance Co., is to receive nearly $1.79 billion, according to court documents.

Chubb could not immediately be reached for comment.

The original suit sought tens of billions in damages for hundreds of wrongful death and injury claims as well as $3.5 billion in property damage loss that was paid or reserved for, and $500 million in workers’ compensation benefits paid as a result of the attacks.

In a Bloomberg News story, a lawyer for Chubb noted that it’s unlikely that insurers will ever collect the full amount of the judgment, but he did say U.S. law permits parties to execute judgments against terrorist assets frozen by the government.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. government blocked various assets in this country held by sponsors of terrorism.

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