BIG “I” PRAISES INTRODUCTION OF TRIA RENEWAL BILL
Association is leading the push for renewal of terrorism insurance
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (The Big “I”) today praised four members of Congress for their plans to introduce a bill extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Richard Baker (R-La.), Oversight and Investigations Committee Chair Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) and Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) today are expected to announce their legislation, if it becomes law, would extend TRIA for two years. The Big “I” has been among the industry leaders in calling for renewal of the act, which provides a federal backstop to insurer losses in the event of terrorist attacks. TRIA has been in place for nearly two years, and it is set to expire Dec. 31, 2005.
“At this point in time, catastrophic losses related to terrorist attacks remain uninsurable,” says Charles E. Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of federal government affairs. “Extending the federal backstop is a necessity in order to preserve confidence in the marketplace, which is crucial if we are to preserve and build upon our national economy’s hard-earned gains.”
Symington says if TRIA is allowed to lapse, it could be difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to obtain insurance against losses related to terrorist acts. This could have serious economic consequences in the event that another terrorist attack takes place on American soil.
It is also important for Congress to act quickly. Annual policy renewals with effective dates of January 2, 2005, or later will have to contemplate no federal backstop for any losses in 2006.
“Since most policies are written for a year at a time, insurers are not going to risk exposure they do not have the resources to cover,” Symington says. “If we are going to ensure continuity of terrorism-risk coverage, it is vital to extend this act before the end of 2004.”
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—employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.