Thirteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the insurance industry and business they cover are restating their call to Congress to renew a law establishing federal reinsurance coverage to help protect businesses in the wake of future events.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA has been renewed twice before since its initial passage in 2002. It will expire on Dec. 31, 2014 unless Congress passes legislation known as the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act to renew it.
Many view TRIA as having helped stabilize the economy with its initial passage, and the insurance industry and business leaders generally support its renewal. The Insurance Information Institute noted that terrorism risk insurance soon became unavailable or very expensive after 9/11, but TRIA helped counter that, keeping the insurance affordable and the economy, more steady.
Maybe so. But some Republicans and other groups either want TRIA to lapse or be passed with major changes because they view it as hampering a viable private terrorism insurance market. For now, TRIA supporters are continuing their push for continuation of the law.
“Recent and explicit threats to American Interests around the world from new terrorist organizations, including Islamic State (ISIS), demonstrate that the need for the program is greater than at any time in the past several years,” Robert Hartwig, the I.I.I.’s president, said in a statement.
The Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism, representing businesses and other groups in real estate, manufacturing, utility, construction, transportation, entertainment and retail, issued a statement urging the House to pass legislation that would renew TRIA. The U.S. Senate approved its own renewal bill in July by a vote of 93-4, but the House has not been able to schedule a floor vote for its own version.
“With only a handful of legislative days remaining before the November elections, Congress must move quickly to approve legislation that will ensure TRIA remains in place for years to come, CIAT spokesman Martin DePoy said in a statement. “TRIA helps undermine terrorists who seek to weaken or destroy our way of life by ensuring our economy can more easily recover in the event of an attack. The Senate has done its job and passed a bipartisan proposal to extend TRIA; it is now up to the House to do its part and get a final bill to the president before time runs out.”
The American Insurance Association has also long called for TRIA’s renewal, citing its role in protecting the nation’s economy from major disruption. AIA officials have argued that the measure protects taxpayers because any federal money spent on terrorism losses can ultimately be repaid under TRIA’s recoupment mechanism.
Meanwhile, the I.I.I. noted that because the House did not take up its version of a TRIA reauthorization bill before the August recess, “prospects are increasing that the issue of TRIA’s reauthorization will not be resolved until the Lame Duck session after the 2014 election.”