WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 8, 2015 — In one of the biggest legislative victories for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) in a decade, a bill extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) program and establishing the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB II) has passed both chambers and is expected to be signed into law by the President in the coming days. Today, the Big “I” praised the U.S. Senate for passing H.R. 26, the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015,” in the first days of the 114th Congress following yesterday’s House vote on the same bill.
“The Big ‘I’ is proud that all our hard work on TRIA and NARAB II has come to fruition and will benefit thousands of small businesses and insurance consumers across the country,” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Today’s bipartisan action by the Senate on both TRIA and NARAB II, in one of the first acts of the new Congress, represents a culmination of years of hard work of the Big ‘I’ and our small business members, and I offer our members a sincere and heartfelt congratulations. Long awaited reform on non-resident licensing for agents is finally coming.”
H.R. 26 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.
“The Big ‘I’ is grateful to both the Senate and House leadership for making the reauthorization of TRIA and the passage of NARAB II a top priority in this new Congress,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “We would like to specifically thank Sens. Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in the Senate, and Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and David Scott (D-Georgia) in the House, for their tireless work in getting both TRIA and NARAB across the finish line. The Big ‘I’ congratulates these members of Congress for their accomplishments today. “
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. Once signed into law, it will retroactively restore the federal reinsurance backstop for policyholders and the insurance market in the event of a catastrophic act of terror on American soil.
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 non-resident 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.