AIG has paid roughly $23M in oil spill claims

NEW YORK — Taxpayers took another hit, this one indirect, from the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion through insurance claims related to the disaster.

AIG, the insurance giant that is 80 percent owned by the government, said it paid approximately $23 million in claims following the spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the second quarter, and expects to pay more.

American International Group Inc. said it continues to monitor the situation, and believes its loss reserves will cover any additional claims. But it’s not sure exactly what the eventual total may be.

“AIG’s claims estimates may change over time, as the forensic investigation is incomplete, the cleanup is incomplete, and the litigation has only just begun,” the company said in a regulatory filing detailing its second-quarter results.

In addition to claims already filed, more policyholders may step forward. The company said it could see claims related to cleanup costs; property damage; environmental damage, including to the fisheries impacted by the spill; business interruption; bodily injury and wrongful death claims of the workers on the rig; claims for the destruction of the rig itself, and various class actions brought by Gulf Coast residents.

AIG said it’s uncertain how the $20-billion cleanup fund established by BP PLC may affect claims under policies written by its Chartis insurance unit.

“Injured parties may seek compensation from the fund rather than through their own or others’ insurance policies,” the company noted.

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