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Viacom, Insurance Cos. Settle Over 9/11

Viacom Inc. collected $40 million by settling a dispute with its insurance companies over advertising lost from Sept. 11.

Viacom’s CBS network and some of its TV and radio stations stopped running commercials, going wall-to-wall with news coverage. The company filed what one source said was a $200 million claim to its business-interruption-insurance carriers. The CBS TV unit collected $27 million and Infinity Broadcasting Corp. collected $13 million.

Viacom argued that while there was clearly no government order to remain on the air sans commercials -- which many radio and TV entities did for days following the attacks -- doing so was nonetheless mandated by its public-interest obligation, as well as by the belief that running commercials at that time risked alienating the public.