It's hard to believe it's been 8 years since the terroristattacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. Do you remember what you weredoing when it happened?

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I was driving north on 294 on my way to work at NAII (nowPCI) and listening to erstwhile Chicago radioshock-jock Mancow Muller gibbering about a plane hitting first onetower, then the second. By the time I walked into the office, thenews about the Pentagon attack was being broadcast. My firstthought was that a massive planned air attack was moving west, andthat a downtown Chicago target would be next on the list.

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Of course, there weren't any attacks on Chicago, but that didn'tkeep the events of that day from changing all of our lives, on botha professional and personal level. I recall spending thenext week or so in a state of shock and uncertainty. When wouldanother attack happen? Where was Osama bin Laden? Were there stillpeople buried alive in the WTC rubble? How could insurance craftcoverage and pricing to protect against similar events? And howcould someone write about the impact of such an unprecedented eventwhen history was still happening?

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I wasn't alone. Both businesses and people were afraid totravel, conduct business, make long-term plans. 9/11 may not havelaunched the recession of the early 2000s, but it sure didn'thelp. In the aftermath, a burgeoning global recessionwent viral, following heady years of stock market growth,dot-com mania, and relief that we dodged the 1999 Y2K or Armegeddonbullet.

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Ultimately, of course, insurance took a huge hit -- betweenproperty, business interruption, aviation, workers' comp, life andliability payouts, the cost came to almost $40 billion,according to III. The human cost was much higher. Zurich, Marsh and Aon, all of which had offices in the TwinTowers, had their share of fatalities among the almost 3,000 whodied as a result of the attacks.

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Today, in spite of a couple of wars and the Dept. of HomelandSecurity, we don't seem to be any safer. According to riskmodeling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS), potential insured losses from a terrorist attackrose 8 percent in 2008, based on the growing threat of chemical andbiological attacks. (This doesn't even take into account the threatof cyber-terrorism, which could wreak more havoc on the civilizedworld than a dozen 9/11s).

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We live in a world that has been unalterablychanged because of what happened on 9/11. Today's children,many of whom can never know what things were like before the threatof global terrorism, can never comprehend themore carefree times we were lucky enough to have experienced.It's pretty sad when you have to pity the young.

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