The tragic loss of life in London has put new energy into the battle to extend and expand the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, according to a representative for the Group Life Coalition.[@@]
“Senators are aware of the issue,” says Ed Harper, a senior vice president in the Washington office of Assurant Inc. “The volume is up.”
Harper, whose company is a major player in the group life market, is head both of the Group Life Coalition, Washington, and the group life task force at the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington.
The federal terrorism reinsurance program created by TRIA does not protect group life insurers, and the reinsurance program is set to expire Dec. 31. The U.S. Treasury Department recently issued a report on TRIA that suggested the federal government should transfer more responsibility for terrorism reinsurance to the private sector, or shut down the federal program altogether.
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a TRIA renewal hearing Wednesday, and the Senate Financial Services Committee will hold a TRIA renewal hearing Thursday.
Harper would not comment on the fact that group life was mentioned only briefly in the Treasury report or on the insurance industry’s disappointment that Treasury was so cool about the idea of extending the program.
But, as a result of the London attacks, members of Congress “are paying more attention,” Harper says. “The issue has moved from the academic to the emotional.”
Philmore Anderson, a lobbyist with D.C. Navigators, Washington, is expressing similar views. “I think it is human nature that as the event fades, interest declines,” Anderson says. “But, clearly, the urgency is back.”