WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 7, 2015 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 26, the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015” in the first days of the 114th Congress. The legislation would extend for six years the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) program which expired Dec. 31, 2014 leaving much of the commercial property/casualty market and important segments of the U.S. economy at risk to a terrorist attack. This important legislation also includes the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB II) legislation that would establish a permanent NARAB to streamline agent licensing to benefit small businesses and many insurance consumers.
This bill is identical to language passed overwhelmingly by the House in mid-December in the 113th Congress. If signed into law, it would restore marketplace confidence that the federal reinsurance backstop will be there for policyholders and the insurance market in the event of a catastrophic act of terror on American soil.
“While it is regrettable that the Senate last year allowed TRIA to expire, this bi-partisan action today by the House is vitally important to instill confidence in markets that this new Congress will quickly act to reauthorize the TRIA program that has protected the U.S. economy since its inception in 2002,” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “This bill is imperative for stability in the insurance, real estate and lending markets, as well as providing needed agent and broker licensing reform on a voluntary basis. We ask the Senate to pass this crucial legislation as quickly as possible so it can be sent to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.”
In the final days of the 113th Congress, the bill died after the Senate did not bring up the legislation for a vote before the 113th Congress adjourned.
In addition to reauthorizing the TRIA program for six years, the bill would also raise the trigger amount needed in total losses before the TRIA program kicks in from the current $100 million to $200 million, over five years, beginning in calendar year 2016. Also over five years, starting Jan. 1, 2016, the mandatory recoupment would also go from $27.5 billion to $37.5 billion, increasing by $2 billion each year. For all events, the bill would raise the private industry recoupment total from the current 133% of covered losses to 140% of covered losses.
“The Big ‘I’ is also grateful that the House TRIA bill once again includes the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers legislation (NARAB II),” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “We would like to thank Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), the lead House sponsor of this legislation, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) for their leadership in moving it through the House in the very first week of the 114th Congress. Now it is imperative that the Senate act, and act quickly.”
NARAB II would achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among agents and brokers. This legislation would build upon regulatory experience at the state level, promote greater consistency in agent and agency licensing, ease the burden that many agents face in doing business across state lines, and increase consumer choice.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million 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, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.