NU Online News Service, Dec. 14, 4:33 p.m. – New York Insurance Superintendent Gregory Serio says life insurers have already paid at least $700 million in claims related to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Property-casualty insurers have paid or reported $2 billion in business-interruption claims and $10 billion in other claims, Serio reported Thursday, at a hearing of the New York State Assembly Insurance Committee.

Serio questioned whether recent increases in prices for some forms of reinsurance and property-casualty insurance made sense, but he praised insurers for their eagerness to help the victims of the attacks.

In some cases, he said, property-casualty insurers have actually provided more coverage than contracts required, and life and health insurers have also gone out of their way to meet policyholder needs.

“The companies have been sensitive to the emotional frailty of survivors, tempering a willingness to dispatch claim settlements with an acute sense of the impact that a life insurance check might have for one who was holding out hope against hope that a loved one would be found alive,” Serio testified. “Health insurers, too, deciding to pay claims to providers and hospitals without question as to whether the proper payor (that being left to be sorted out later), answered the call to action.”

So far, consumers have filed only 60 complaints with the New York department in connection with all types of World Trade Center claims, Serio said.

A written version of the testimony is available on the Web, at http://www.ins.state.ny.us/speeches.htm