NU Online News Service, Nov. 26, 11:37 a.m. — Washington

President Bush today signed a terrorism insurance bill which he said will help get the nation’s economy back on its feet should terrorists strike again.

In a signing ceremony at the White House this morning, the President said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks caused insurance companies to diminish coverage and raise premiums.

“More than $15 billion in real estate transactions have been canceled or put on hold because owners and investors could not obtain the insurance protection they need,” Bush said.

“By helping to ensure that terrorism insurance is affordable and available, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act will permit many construction projects to move forward and to help this economy grow,” he said.

He added that the new law will discourage abusive lawsuits because civil cases will be combined in a single federal court.

“Lawyers will be prevented from shopping for courts with a reputation for outrageous awards,” Bush said.

The next major step for the terrorism insurance program will be a formal rulemaking process by the Treasury Department. The department will likely address several issues relating to the legislation, including the recoupment procedure, the disclosure requirements and the application of state insurance laws to the federal program.