By St. Louis Business Journal

A federal judge in St. Louis has thrown out Ameren Missouriâ¿¿s suit against one of its insurers, Energy Insurance Mutual Ltd., after the utility sought more than $30 million in reimbursement for the Taum Sauk reservoir breach.

U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson granted the Tampa, Fla.-based insurerâ¿¿s motion to dismiss the case because its contract with Ameren required that the two companies attempt to settle any disputes through arbitration before any lawsuits are filed. Download Jacksonâ¿¿s Jan. 10 ruling here.

Ameren Missouri had sought reimbursement under a $100 million excess liability insurance policy with Energy Insurance Mutual to resolve claims and litigation resulting from the disaster, including a $177 million settlement with the state of Missouri for property damage to Johnsonâ¿¿s Shut-Ins State Park, according to a suit filed in June in federal court in St. Louis.

By 2007, with mounting claims from the state and private lawsuits, Ameren Missouri exhausted a $35 million primary liability insurance policy it bought from Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Ltd., prompting the utility to turn to Energy Insurance Mutual for reimbursement, according to the suit.

As of this past summer, Energy Insurance had reimbursed AmerenUE for $68.7 million of the $100 million limit of the policy, calling the damages owed to the state ⿿excessive and inflated,⿝ according to the suit.

Last year, Ameren reopened its rebuilt reservoir in Reynolds County after the companyâ¿¿s hydroelectric plant breached in December 2005, creating the stateâ¿¿s worst man-made disaster. Roughly 1.3 billion gallons of water spilled through the area, injuring the park superintendent and his family, destroying the park and damaging the East Fork of the Black River and the lower Taum Sauk Reservoir.

St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. (NYSE: AEE), led by Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Voss, serves 2.4 million electric customers and 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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