Insurance companies claim that $997 million has been paid out in the NFL concussion settlement

The concussion settlement already has been far more expensive than the NFL had hoped it would be.

After agreeing to remove a $765 million cap on the fund devoted to former players with certain qualifying conditions, the league has paid out nearly $1 billion in claims.

An article from Daniel Kaplan of mentions that the insurance companies sued by the league have contended in court filings that the number has reached $997 million.

The item from Kaplan focuses on a new defense by the insurance companies, which have denied to pay benefits to the league. The insurance companies contend that, because the teams have been paying the amounts, the NFL itself — which brought the lawsuit — has incurred no actual damage.

It seems like a cutesy argument, the kind of shit that routinely gets thrown against the wall by any company that is looking for any reason at all to not pay that it possible owes. The NFL is the teams and the teams are the NFL; it should be good enough that the NFL sued. And if it’s an issue, the NFL should be allowed to make the technical amendments to the case.

Eventually (we hope), the 10-year-old fight will get to the real question. Did the NFL know about the dangers of head injuries and conceal them? The insurance companies argue that, if the league knew, there’s no coverage.

Regardless of how that question is resolved, the process (barring a settlement) will shed light on an issue that the league managed to sweep under the rug by settling with former players. What did the NFL know, and when did it know it, about the dangers of repeated blows to the brain?