Terrorism insurance program is likely to die: Senate

A combination of Senate opposition may mean the critical terrorism risk insurance program will sunset on Dec. 31.

Terrorism insurance program is likely to die: Senate

Insurance News


Bipartisan opposition in the Senate may be enough to kill a potential renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, several reports indicate.

The renewal bill, which passed the House this week, contains a highly unpopular rider related to the Dodd-Frank Act, which have been decried by both Senate Democrats and the White House. Now, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has announced his opposition on different grounds.

Coburn vowed yesterday to prevent his colleagues from bringing TRIA renewal up for a vote, citing both a lack of concern over the program and a strong objection to the creation of NARAB, a national licensing program for insurance agents and brokers. Coburn wants an opt-out clause included in NARAB provisions, allowing states to choose not to participate in the national program.

That would defeat the purpose of the national licensing board, industry proponents say.

“There may not be any TRIA until January, the next Congress. I’m okay with that,” Coburn said. “Quite frankly, I don’t care whether TRIA happens or not. Because I believe that markets will fill in that void.”

According to a National Journal report, Coburn’s objection alone could be enough to kill TRIA. As long as he objects, the long list of procedural requirements left before Congress in the remaining days of the year could be enough to keep the Senate from ever addressing the issue.

“I have leverage now. If they want to pass it, put the opt-out in and let’s go to town,” Coburn said.

The opposition arose this week after talks between Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the two chamber leaders on the subject, fell apart over the weekend. The House pulled TRIA out of the must-pass spending bill, where it was originally expected to pass, and added on some controversial addendums relating to Dodd-Franks.

Without the bill, insurance industry leaders expect stalled construction projects, high retail prices and unaffordable workers’ compensation rates in at-risk cities. It has also been suggested major events like the Super Bowl will have to be cancelled.

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