The Senate Banking Committee may hold a hearing March 3 on whether the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act should be extended.[@@]
A spokesman for the committee would neither confirm nor deny the date, but insurance industry lobbyists say TRIA will be the first insurance issue that the committee will take up. The lobbyists expect one of the witnesses to be a life industry representative who will talk about expanding TRIA to include group life insurance.
In the mean time, whatever happens to the scheduling or witness list for the TRIA hearing, the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, will be talking to the committee about the importance of including group life, according to ACLI spokesman Jack Dolan.
“People, not just bricks and mortar, deserve coverage,” Dolan says.
The timing of the hearing is a surprise, because a Treasury report on the utility of the program is not due until June.
The current TRIA program does not protect group life insurers, but a TRIA bill passed overwhelmingly by the House Financial Services panel in September 2004 would have added group life insurance to the program. Inclusion of group life insurance also has strong support in the Senate.
Joel Wood, chief federal lobbyist for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington, says the insurance industry believes the House Financial Services Committee “will be there to act” when called upon. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see [Rep. Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, chairman of the committee,] hold off on committee action in order to gauge whether action on this bill is achievable in the Senate.