A representative for the Bush administration declined to give details today about the administration’s views on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.[@@]

The official, Greg Zerzan, an acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department, spoke today at a regulatory reform conference organized by Baker & Daniels-Sagamore, Washington, a government relations firm.

TRIA expires Dec. 31. The current program offers no protection to group life insurers.

Zerzan stuck to a written version of his speech when discussing TRIA. He avoided giving a substantive response when a representative from the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, asked Treasury to “please consider the group life industry” when deciding whether and how to extend TRIA.

Treasury has just sent insurers the last batch of TRIA survey forms and wants to complete a TRIA report, which is due in Congress by June 30, “as soon as possible,” Zerzan said.

A written version of Zerzan’s speech is on the Web at http://www.treasury.gov/press/releases/js2292.htm

Another conference speaker, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., ranking minority member of the House Financial Services Committee, says he is not supporting legislation that would create an optional federal charter program for insurers.

Today, Frank said, Republicans seem to be supporting efforts that erode states’ regulatory power and may weaken efforts to protect consumers.

“You can have uniform national standards but not wipe out the states,” Frank said.

In response to a question about whether state insurance regulators should defer to other states, Frank said he would support reciprocity but only for the life industry.

“Property-casualty regulation must remain local,” Frank said.