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DC metro authority settles with Aon over 2009 crash

The authority that runs the Washington DC metro has reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Aon over a 2009 metro crash that killed nine people.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) sued the broker at the end of 2009 claiming compensation damages of more than $9mn for counts that included negligence, breach of contract and constructive fraud.

In a 21 October filing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge James Boasberg dismissed the case "with prejudice" and ordered both parties to bear their own costs of suit and attorney's fees.

Thompson Coburn and DLA Piper acted as counsel for the plaintiff and defendants respectively.

The incident occurred when one train, operated by a computerised system, collided into another. The crash killed nine people and seriously injured a number of others, resulting in a spate of litigation. The National Transportation Safety Board estimated damage to the train equipment of $12mn.

Aon placed annual excess liability cover for WMATA incepting on 1 July 2008. The cover gave WMATA a $95mn aggregate limit over a $5mn retention. It was structured in three layers. The first was $5mn in excess of $5mn, the second was $15mn in excess of $10mn and the third was $75mn in excess of $20mn.

XL Insurance was one of the participants on the property insurance programme on behalf of WMATA, with other participants on the slip understood to include American International Group and Berkshire Hathaway.

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