As this issue of AASCIF News was being prepared for delivery to
our print shop, the tragic events taking place in New York, Washington,
D.C. and Pennsylvania began to flash on West Coast television screens.
When the assault on the World Trade Center began, the New York State
Insurance Fund, which is located half a mile from the Center, had
approximately 1300 employees in their Manhattan offices. As this
is being written, all but 29 of those employees have been accounted
for. It is believed that this total is due to outdated information
rather than any injuries.
A number of staff members were temporarily relocated to alternate
sites. Other employees stayed off work in the immediate aftermath
of the tragedy. Grief counselors will be on-site when these employees
return to work.
Ken Ross, the Fund's Executive Director expressed his concern for
"the emotional well-being of the Fund's employees, particularly
those who personally witnessed the traumatic and very tragic events."
Engineers inspected the NYSIF building and found it structurally
sound, according to Ann Formel, Deputy Executive Director of the
Fund. A hotline was set up for employees seeking information and
separate hotlines were established for claimants and policyholders.
Ads were placed in the New York Post and the Daily News announcing
the hotlines and Mr. Ross scheduled appearances on several talk
shows to personally reassure listeners that benefits and policies
would continue uninterrupted.
AASCIF President Ken Bollier stated, "Our support goes out
to the employees of the New York State Insurance Fund and, indeed,
all the people impacted by this horrible act. I have offered Ken
and his staff the full resources of our membership to help in any
way we can. This unspeakable cruelty has hurt us all. Viewing it
from afar is painful. For those who have borne actual witness to
these events, the pain and despair must be harrowing. To these people
we extend our deep-felt sympathy and prayers."