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For most of us, the collapse of the World Trade Center towers exists at the outermost edge of human comprehension. Even after one visits Ground Zero, the events of 9/11 retain a surreal quality, invoking feelings beyond words as one tries to contemplate losses immeasurable with numbers. Indeed, the insurance losses are insignificant when compared to the human tragedies caused by the terrorist attacks -- and in insurance terms, we witnessed the most costly, complex events to transpire in a single day in the history of the planet. Many years will pass before all the insurance ramifications of 9/11 are sorted out. This article examines three questions that illuminate at least a portion of 9/11’s meaning for the business of insurance in America and around the globe: (1) Is the post-9/11 world different from the pre-9/11 world? (2) Is the post 9/11 "insurance world" different from the pre-9/11 "insurance world?" (3) If government is to have a role in facilitating terrorism coverage, what should it be? The discussion begins by looking at two opposing, yet simultaneously correct, answers to the first question.

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