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Compensation lags for workers injured in Sept. 11 aftermath

The insurance company established by Congress to help New York City and its contractors handle claims arising from cleanup after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is operating as designed, auditors stated in a report released on Tuesday.

The World Trade Center Captive Insurance Co., funded for $1 billion by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2003, has settled just six claims out of nearly 9,400 filed by workers who say they are suffering health problems as a result of their jobs.

That paltry record prompted Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to ask Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner in July 2006 to investigate the insurance company. Nadler's district includes lower Manhattan.

"Certainly, a firefighter, police officer or laborer who removed debris from the [World Trade Center] site, and who now suffers adverse health effects, such as respiratory impairment or cancer, deserves to be compensated for lost wages and other related expenses," Nadler wrote. "It is outrageous that millions of dollars in federal funds are being used to automatically dispute every single claim."