NEW YORK: Swiss Re, the insurer that this month won a huge legal victory against World Trade Center (WTC) leaseholder Larry Silverstein, used Edelman to help create a public face for a company largely unknown to the general population.
Silverstein, represented by Rubenstein Associates, sought $7.1 billion from a group of insurers by claiming that the 9/11 attack on the WTC constituted two separate attacks and entitled him to double payments. A federal jury disagreed, entering a verdict that was another blow to the developer and could lead him to settle. If he wins all his remaining trials, he could recoup at most $4.5 billion.
The trial was marked by a pitched PR battle that eventually led the judge to impose a gag order. One insider said the order had a severe effect on Silverstein's communications effort.
"Rubenstein's campaign was shut down by the lawyers, who felt that the judge's gag order must be followed to the letter and that there was no practical need to explain Silverstein's position," the insider said.
Swiss Re and Edelman pushed a central message that "you can't change the terms of a policy after a loss. That's just wrong," said Steve Dishart, director of corporate communications for Swiss Re.
"You could take the silent approach and stick with that, but we knew early on that the other side was working very hard to put its messages in the media," Dishart said. "The choice with that regard was to make sure we could preserve our reputation."