Travelers Unit Awarded $262 Million in Asbestos-Injury Insurance Lawsuit

A Travelers Cos. unit was awarded $262.3 million plus interest against a group of insurance companies including a unit of Munich Re AG, the world’s biggest insurer, in a reinsurance dispute tied to asbestos-injury claims from the 1970s.

Justice Richard Lowe of the New York state Supreme Court awarded the judgment against the insurers in a decision dated Aug. 20.

United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., part of Travelers, sued American Re-Insurance Co., part of Munich Re, and members of an insurance association over reinsurance contracts. Fidelity & Guaranty had reached a settlement in 2002 to pay asbestos- injury claims filed against Western MacArthur Co. and was seeking to recover its losses, according to Lowe’s decision.

The Munich Re unit was ordered to pay the most among the defendants -- $202.5 million plus interest.

“We are currently evaluating the ruling to assess all of the issues, which will form the substance of an appeal,” Terese Rosenthal, a spokeswoman for Munich Re, said yesterday.

Shane Boyd, a spokesman for New York-based Travelers, said the company was “very pleased” with Lowe’s decision.

The case is United Sates Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. American Re-insurance Co., 604517-2002, State Supreme Court of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: David McLaughlin in New York at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net.

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