In the weeks following one of America’s gravest tragedies, New York’s leaders and developers were determined to rebuild on the site where the Twin Towers stood prior to September 11. And in this effort to heal, AIG served as the primary insurer, protecting the construction, the workers and the buildings that would rise from the ashes.
It took nearly a year after 9/11 to clean up the debris. Then, plans were pitched for the redevelopment. Construction finally began in 2006, and that’s when the Port Authority of New York, developer Larry Silverstein and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation turned to AIG for coverage of the site. AIG became the lead underwriter, providing protection for the workers, the property and the environment surrounding the construction.
This wasn’t typical coverage, due to the scope of the project, the amount of attention the rebuilding efforts received, and the number of tourists watching every step. That’s why AIG placed Mike Castelli onsite, along with three consultants, to help manage the process and minimize missteps. “Anytime something happened at that site, the press showed up,” Castelli said. “AIG made a conscious effort to put full-time people [there].”
Part of Castelli’s role was to make sure all the workers at the site were working on the right project. Since multiple organizations had roles in the rebuild, Castelli had to ensure, for example, that a contractor hired by the Port Authority worked only on the portion of a task assigned to the Port Authority. “We had to make sure that everybody was doing things according to whatever was put in the contract,” Castelli said.
In one of the more unusual events to take place during the rebuilding effort, the crew discovered an 18th-century ship buried in the ground. This caused a delay as archeologists worked to carefully remove the ship, which now sits at Texas A&M University. For AIG, the delay served as an opportunity. The company developed a new form of insurance to cover the costs of interrupting a construction project when crews discover something of archeological importance.
Ten years after the attacks, the 9/11 Memorial opened. Then, in 2014, a 1,776-foot-tall skyscraper that became known as Freedom Tower was unveiled, a symbol of America’s resilience in the face of tragedy. Serving as a support beam for it all? AIG.