BIG "I" CALLS FOR TIMELY CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON TERRORISM INSURANCE
Joins Several Industry Groups in Letters to Oxley, Shelby
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 9 - The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) today joined five other insurance associations to call for timely congressional action to renew the federal government’s terrorism reinsurance program.
In letters to House Financial Services Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the industry groups urged for extension of the current Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) or passage of a modified program.
TRIA is set to expire December 31, 2005. IIABA is part of an industry-wide consensus that Congress must act before that deadline in order to provide policyholders and insurers the certainty and security they need as they contemplate long-reaching business transactions. IIABA and the other associations have the support of state insurance regulators, who also are urging Congress to take action.
Since its inception, TRIA has made terrorism insurance available to all types of businesses, including those in areas considered at high risk for terrorist attacks. The program, however, does not extend to personal insurance coverages like auto and homeowners insurance.
“TRIA has been an excellent public-private partnership, and it has provided the security our free-market system requires to flourish,” says Charles Symington Jr., IIABA senior vice president of federal government affairs. “We must be certain that this program, or a similar program, is in place in order to safeguard businesses and consumers against terrorism losses. Without a federal backstop, we risk losing our nation’s hard-earned, recent economic gains.”
While TRIA was designed to be a three-year program, the fact is that America remains under constant and imminent threat from terrorism, and as such, terrorism-related catastrophes remain uninsurable risks because of the uncertainty of the risk and the inability of underwriters to model terrorism-caused losses. The insurance industry does not possess the financial wherewithal to insure against such attacks without federal support.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.