An insurance industry group still hopes to work with Congress and the Bush administration on adding protection for group life insurers to the federal terrorism reinsurance program.[@@]

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow last week presented a report on the federal terrorism reinsurance program to Congress with a letter suggesting that the government should make every effort to turn responsibility for the program over to private organizations.

Even if Congress decides to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, the act that created the terrorism reinsurance program, it should try to cut lines of coverage from the program, not add lines of coverage, Snow writes in the letter.

But Phil Anderson, spokesman for The Group Life Coalition, Washington, a body representing the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, as well as the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington, and other actuarial and financial services industry groups, notes in a statement that members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., recently voted unanimously to recommend inclusion of group life protection in any federal TRIA legislation considered this year.

“The NAIC has sent a clear signal to Congress that group life insurance should be a part of any TRIA solution going forward,” Anderson says in The Group Life Coalition statement. “We are pleased that all TRIA legislation introduced in the 109th Congress mandates that group life insurance be included as part of any federal reinsurance program.”

The Treasury Department did acknowledge the need for the federal government to play a role in securing the American economy against a catastrophic terrorist attack, the coalition says.

“Given the fact that terrorism by its nature presents the insurance industry with an uninsurable risk, we look forward to working with the Congress and the administration in creating a solution that protects the American economy and the financial security of working Americans against massive terrorist attacks,” Anderson says. “Group life insurance provides financial security for 160 million Americans. It is critical to include provisions in any new program that leaves this private sector social security safety net in place and functioning after an attack. TRIA was designed to protect the buildings and quite simply, we need to protect the people in the buildings, too.”