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9/11 Injuries

WTC Captive Insurance: Still Funded, Lacking Direction

July 3, 2014 | Michael Barasch

A non-profit agency intended to provide for those injured on September 11 remains funded — with an uncertain future.

Originally created by Congress, the WTC Captive Insurance Co., endeavors to protect New York City from lawsuits and provide compensation for those injured on September 11 or its aftermath.

According to a New York Post article, the WTC Captive Insurance Co., has settled more than 12,000 lawsuits and few cases remain pending. However, one claim that remains pending may be a harbinger of those to come.

After the September 2001 attacks, New York man Fernando Venegas participated in clean-up work at Deutsche Bank and other offices. Mr. Venegas now suffers mesothelioma, a rapidly spreading cancer generally caused by exposure to asbestos.

WTC Captive Insurance Co. holds funds for those who develop conditions that have long latency, like mesothelioma. It is likely Mr. Venegas is one of the first of the next wave of claimants to the agency. Of an original $1 billion bequest, approximately $325 million remains.

In the meantime, administration of the agency may spend-down its funds before the job is done. According to the Post, expenses claimed by the non-profit include:

  • Approximately $5 million is spent on executive salaries, consultants and operating expenses each year. The president and CEO, Christine LaSala, earns an annual salary of approximately $234,000.
  • In 2012, defense attorneys were paid over $30 million.

Congress directed the agency to remain active until 2029, but the company may wind down sooner than intended. In 2013, then-Mayor Bloomberg entered into talks with Warren Buffet to convert its remaining funds into a commercial-insurance policy.

While Mayor De Blasio contemplates the proposal of his predecessor, time passes, the funding of the WTC Captive Insurance Co. shrinks and quietly developing cancers loom on the horizon.

If you have questions about a compensation claim following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, speak with an experienced injury attorney in New York City from Barasch & McGarry.

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