The WTC Captive Insurance Co. announced settlements Thursday in more than 10,000 plaintiffs who claimed sickness or injuries after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The settlements could total up to $657 million.
WTC Captive was created with a $1 billion FEMA grant and provides insurance coverage to the City of New York and its debris-removal contractors. In the aftermath of attacks of September 11, 2001, New York was unable to get adequate amounts of liability insurance for the rescue, recovery and debris-removal work done at the World Trade Center site.
The settlement would provide a system to pay for the compensation of the injury claims made by people working on the rescue and debris removal for the city and its contractors. This would include construction workers, firefighters, police officers and other workers and volunteers. The settlement would also fund a special insurance policy, which provides additional compensation to any plaintiff contracting certain types of cancer in the future.
Christine LaSala, president of WTC Captive, said in a statement: "We have reached a settlement that is fair under difficult and complicated circumstances. This agreement enables workers and volunteers claiming injury from the WTC site operations to obtain compensation commensurate with the nature of their injuries and the strength of their claims, while offering added protection against possible future illness."
In order to make a claim, plaintiffs will have to submit proof they were present and participated in the post-9/11 efforts. They will also have to present specific medical documentation, including a diagnosis confirming their illness or injury.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the resolution, "This settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution to a complex set of circumstances. Since September 11th, the city has moved aggressively to provide medical treatment to those who were present at Ground Zero, and we will continue our commitment to treatment and monitoring." A spokesman for the mayor declined further comment.
After the 9/11 attacks, individuals who worked or volunteered in the rescue, recovery and debris-removal project were entitled to and have received free medical care, which has been funded by the City of New York and the federal government. Participating in the settlement would not deter access to that care.
Former New York firefighter Kenny Specht told CNN's Campbell Brown, "You really can't put a price on your health, so I hope that this settlement was done the right way and I hope that it was done with people's health and safety and future in mind." Specht, 37, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008.