Baruch College CAPS Instructor Wins Best Business Case Study Award 2020 Based on 9/11-Related Experience
April 9, 2021
Attorney William Fawcett, an instructor in Baruch College’s Division of Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS) who served as the lead for insurance claims arising from the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, is part of a team that won the “Best Business Case Study Award 2020” at the North America Business Awards hosted by New World Report.
Fawcett, who teaches International Business Law along with Entrepreneurship and Business Planning, collaborated with two professors from the International School of Management in Paris to establish the case study, “Rebuilding Ground Zero: Global Negotiation.”
“It was a very pleasant surprise to win this award, especially given that this was my first published case study,” said Fawcett, who is completing his doctoral dissertation and serves as CEO of Haverford Limited, a global reinsurance company based in Bermuda. “I knew we had built a very adaptable case study that students enjoyed but I also knew there would be a lot of competition.”
Case Study: Real-World Learning for Baruch Students
The award-winning case study provides a rare insider’s look at how various stakeholders from around the world approached negotiations for 9/11-related insurance claims and sought to reach an outcome to settle disputes. The study sheds light on the backgrounds, thoughts, and motivations of the major players, all against the backdrop of what was the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack in the U.S. and the greatest death toll of emergency and rescue personnel in a single event in American history.
According to Fawcett, his students frequently request “real world” cases and more interactive lessons. When teaching the case study, CAPS students take on the roles of the main protagonists in the claims, such as real estate developer Larry Silverstein who won the bid to lease the World Trade Center two months before the attack, Swiss Re, one of the world’s leading providers in the insurance industry, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that oversaw construction of the project in the late 1960s and lost both employees and police officers on 9/11. Students also learn about the negotiating styles of the parties from around the globe.
Last year, after completing the case study, Silverstein Properties arranged a private tour of the World Trade Center complex for Baruch students, followed by a wide-ranging discussion with Larry Silverstein.
“While everyone knows about the attack, not many people know the behind-the-scenes story of how the claims were settled and Ground Zero was rebuilt,” said Fawcett, who has worked in the insurance and reinsurance sector for more than 30 years. “For example, the insurance policy (contract) had not been issued at the time the twin towers were destroyed, creating numerous complicated issues. The real settlement has been called the most complex in recent history, so there are a lot of ways students can reach other solutions.”
Fawcett adds the case study’s underlying lessons are timeless and transferrable to a myriad of other instructional needs.
“When we were drafting this case study, we considered how it could be used to teach not only law, but negotiation skills, risk management, strategic decision making, insurance, international negotiations and crisis management, as well as other subjects,” Fawcett explained. “Rather than rely on dry and theory-driven slide decks, the case study format allows instructors to adapt/create similar case studies to compel their students to apply theory to actual practice in their field.”
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