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Oxley Draft: Don't Invoke On Acts-Of-War Exclusion

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NU Online News Service, Sept. 17, 8:40 a.m. — Washington

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, is working on a letter to insurers that will deal with use of “acts of war” exclusions in connection with claims related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. passenger jets, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

Rep. Oxley said in a draft obtained by National Underwriter that, while he believes it is unlikely that insurance companies will try to exercise the exclusion, any attempt to do so would be completely unacceptable.

“Any attempts to evade coverage obligations by either primary insurers or reinsurers based on such legal sophistry would not only be unsupportable and unpatriotic, but would tear apart the faith of the American people in the insurance industry, which as been one of the foundations of our economy,” Rep. Oxley said in the draft.

“I believe Congressional response would be swift, and the firms denying coverage would be held accountable for the continued suffering of the effected victims,” he added.

Rep. Oxley added in the draftthat he and the committee’s staff have talked to several domestic insurance companies, all of which have promised not to deny coverage on this basis.

However, he said, caution dictates that Congress and the NAIC seek immediate confirmation from all involved insurance companies, both domestic and foreign, and primary and reinsurance, that they will honor their commitments.

But Oxley noted that he may change some of the wording in the final language of the draft.