NU Online News Service, Oct. 3, 11:54 a.m. – Leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, Nashville, Tenn., and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Washington, are asking Congress to add a provision protecting group life insurance benefits for emergency workers to H.R. 3210, the bill that would create the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.”

Members of Congress have been focusing mainly on reviving the private market for property-casualty insurance that protects purchasers against the risk of terrorist attacks.

Many insurers and reinsurers have retreated from the market since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

But Steve Young, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, write in their letters to Congress that many communities are also having a tough time protecting emergency workers against the risk of deaths resulting from nuclear attacks, biological attacks, chemical attacks or conventional terrorism.

“Many of our nation’s law enforcement officers, the first responders to any emergency situation, are discovering that…group life coverage will soon be unavailable, dramatically more expensive or written so as to pay out only a fraction of the policy value,” Young complains in the Fraternal Order of Police letter.

Schaitberger, the head of the firefighters association, says some group life policies issued in Utah will pay only 10% of the face value if covered firefighters die in terrorist attacks.

“More than a year has passed since 343 brave fire fighters gave their lives at Ground Zero,” Schaitberger writes. “Congress must enact legislation to protect the protectors, who place their lives in jeopardy each and every day.”