Allianz: Deutsche Claim Lacks Adequate Proof

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By Michael Ha

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NU Online News Service, Aug. 14, 9:00 a.m.EDT?Deutsche Bank filed a lawsuit this week to try toforce two insurers to pay for the demolition of its damaged officetower near the World Trade Center site.

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In its court filing, Deutsche Bank called its 29-year-oldbuilding at 130 Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan a "stark reminderof the death and destruction which took place on 9/11."

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The issue in this case, Deutsche Bank also noted in its courtpapers, is "how long New Yorkers will have to suffer with thisunfortunate remnant of a national tragedy."

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In explaining damages to the building, Deutsche Bank noted thatin addition to a 15-story gash in its facade when the WTC towerscollapsed, tornado-force winds from the falling towers sentasbestos and other hazardous contaminants throughout the building,making it impossible to safely repair.

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And more dust entered the building, Deutsche Bank alleged,during the WTC-site cleanup effort, which distributed moreasbestos, lead, mercury, PCBs and other contaminants.

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Deutsche Bank is asking the New York State Supreme Court inManhattan to declare that the building cannot be repaired and orderAllianz and AXA to cover their part of the costs related to thebuilding's replacement. Deutsche Bank also noted that two otherinsurers, Zurich and Chubb, have already settled and agreed thatthe building should be torn down.

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But Sabia Schwarzer, a spokeswoman for Allianz, toldNational Underwriter that there is no adequate proof ofloss to show that the building is contaminated beyond repair.

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"Allianz has been maintaining that all other surroundingbuildings that were contaminated from the same source?the dust fromthe World Trade Center coming down?have been cleaned up and are nowup and running and are populated," said Ms. Schwarzer.

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"The Environmental Protection Agency has also done someindependent studies of lower Manhattan--although not specificallyof the Deutsche Bank building--that the dust isn't a health hazardand can be cleaned up," she added.

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The main difference in position, Ms. Schwarzer noted, is thatDeutsche Bank is saying the building is a total loss, while Allianzthinks the building can be cleaned up and repaired.

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