The life insurance industry is fighting a behind-the-scenes battle to keep the House Financial Services Committee from adding an amendment to legislation extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act that would limit its authority to price or not issue life insurance on the basis of a customer’s foreign travel plans.
Action on TRIA extension in any form is not expected until the week of Nov. 14, at the earliest, and life insurance industry lobbyists are taking advantage of that window to argue strongly against the legislation, known as the Wasserman Schultz bill.
The legislation, H.R. 3639, has 45 co-sponsors, strong support from Democrats and, according to several industry and congressional sources, growing support from Republicans on the committee. But it has little support in the Senate, and while the House panel may debate the matter, enactment of legislation dealing with the issue this year is unlikely.
There is also action on this issue at the state level. Earlier this month, California Gov. Schwarzenegger signed legislation prohibiting a life and disability insurer from denying a policy or charging more for coverage unless the risk of exposure has been substantiated.
Other states are considering the issue, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has delegated its Life Insurance and Annuities Task Force to look into the issue.