It is in the Senate’s hands to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA, a law that establishes federal reinsurance in case of a terrorist attack, but legislative disputes threaten to prevent action. A coalition of more than 50 insurance and other business lobbying groups is flexing some last-minute muscles get a renewal passed before the Dec. 31 deadline.
The American Insurance Association, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Reinsurance Association of America, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Real Estate Roundtable and many other associations and businesses signed a letter to the U.S. Senate urging immediate approval of S.2244, as passed by the House, without any additional amendments before the Senate adjourns for the Christmas holiday.
“We urge the Senate to pass S.244 with no amendments prior to adjournment so that this critical component of our national security – protection of U.S. economic stability and growth – can continue serving the American people,” the Dec. 14 letter states.
It comes after the House passed a six-year TRIA renewal on Dec. 10, with some tweaks to deductibles and other triggers. The House’s effort follows a more generous bill passed by the Senate six months ago, and now the Senate must approve the House bill to enable a final Congressional TRIA extension before it expires Dec. 31. TRIA has been renewed several times in the wake of its passage after the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks.
Part of the issue stems from the risk that a final TRIA bill could include unrelated amendments that might prevent enough votes for passage of an extension. The letter argues that TRIA renewal is vital to insurers and the economy at large.
“TRIA is a critical public-private partnership that facilitates a private insurance market for terrorism risk insurance,” the letter notes. “The program has enabled economic development and supported job growth by assuring that lenders, borrowers and developers have the protection needed to proceed with existing and new projects. TRIA likewise ensures economic resiliency in the event of a terror attack on our nation, while simultaneously protecting taxpayers via a mandatory recoupment mechanism.
As of Dec. 15, the Senate was expected to debate and vote on nominations later that night and on Dec. 16. Timing for a TRIA vote remained under negotiation, an insurance trade group spokesperson told Carrier Management via email.