Rokstone launches new terrorism facility in the US

TRIPRA untested and "entirely unfit for purpose" says portfolio manager

Rokstone launches new terrorism facility in the US

Insurance News

By Mitchell Scrimgeour-Brown

Rokstone, a London-based international speciality (re)insurance MGA that is part of the Aventum Group, has announced the launch of a new terrorism facility for the US market, with A-rated capacity, as it continues to grow its geographic presence and diversify its speciality product range.

“Terrorism now takes many different forms,” said Becky Steel (pictured), portfolio manager, political violence and terrorism, at Rokstone. “Terrorists have adapted to the changing environment brought about by global events, and as insurers we must respond.”   

The product was launched as a new breed alternative to TRIPRA, the US federal program set up following the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center to respond to terrorism events. TRIPRA cover essentially acts as a type of reinsurance for commercial property and casualty insurance policies to provide shared public and private compensation for certain insured losses resulting from a certified act of terrorism.   

It has its limitations, though, and a number of insurers provide alternative standalone terrorism cover. This new policy from Rokstone meets all of TRIPRA’s limitations head on, reflecting the emerging and current terrorist threats with additional emphasis on crisis management, victim support and rehabilitation not available anywhere else in the market, according to Steel. 

“TRIPRA is untested and in most cases would be entirely unfit for purpose in my view,” Steel said.

“For the cover to respond an act of terrorism must be certified by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, under the definition of terrorism. This has never been tested and no claims have ever been paid under TRIPRA. The event must also trigger a US$200 million claim threshold and it has a total cap on annual losses of US$100 billion. Most businesses are unlikely to reach the required threshold.”

Supported by one of the market’s first online quote and buy platforms for terrorism cover, brokers in the US will now be able to tap into a simple, niche and volume opportunity. The cover is highly relevant to today’s political and terrorism risks, and policies can quickly and easily be added to other core commercial covers, with quotes available in under a minute.

Steel joined Rokstone in February to lead its international political and terrorism division with more than 30 years of experience specialising in underwriting political violence and terrorism risks, based both in the UK and in the US. She spent 16 years at AXA RE, followed by eight years with Aon Benfield in the US. She was later vice president at Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford in New York City before becoming head of property and terrorism for Omnyy (part of the US broker Lockton) and lead underwriter for terrorism at Ensurance UK.

“Political violence and terrorism is an ongoing daily threat and brokers have a responsibility to make their clients aware of the risks and the protection available,” she said. “At Rokstone, we’ve created tiered products that cater for the most relevant risks, unusually rated on the terrorism exposure rather than the property risk.”   

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