While stock insurance companies were on the verge of a huge coup at press time as they awaited word on whether the Senate would accept legislation reworking certain tax breaks for business (see above), the industry still has many other items on its wish list on which Congress has not taken action.
That list will now include extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act legislation, as passed by the House Financial Services Committee Sept. 29. The legislation adds group life insurance to the categories provided a federal backstop in case of a major terrorist attack. At press time, it seemed unlikely Congress would act on the legislation before it adjourned. It is also unclear whether it would be taken up in a lame-duck session scheduled for mid-November.
Additionally, the bill as passed by the panel contains holes. The life insurance industry wants a separate pool for group life coverage but was unable to get that in the bill reported out by the committee. Efforts will be made by the industry to change that on the floor of Congress during the lame-duck session, but such an effort is seen as unlikely to pass. The bill, in general, faces problems because Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, wants to deal with it next year, after the Treasury Department finishes a study on the viability of the current legislation.