The House overwhelmingly passed legislation on Dec. 7 extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act that is a mixed bag for the life insurance industry.
The 371-49 vote on S. 467 sets up a conference, probably next week, between the House and Senate to reconcile vastly different bills. Congress wants to adjourn for the year by Dec. 17.
The House legislation is a mixed bag because it includes coverage of group life insurance, a four-year goal of the life insurance industry. But, at the same time, it includes a provision which prohibits discrimination in life insurance policies based on a person’s plans for foreign travel.
The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says it would have difficulty supporting the bill with the travel insurance amendment, but a representative of the Group Life Coalition, Washington, says the group would support the bill.
The administration, however, says it didn’t like adding group life to the program because it wasn’t necessary.
Phil Anderson, executive director of the Group Life Coalition, said after the vote that, “The overwhelming, bipartisan inclusion of group life in the House version of this critical legislation will hopefully serve as reminder and wake-up call that the House of Representatives will not prioritize the financial security of buildings over people.
“Chairmen [Mike] Oxley, R-Ohio, and Richard Baker, R-La., and ranking members Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., and nearly the entire House should be congratulated for getting this right; it’s about the people inside the buildings. We look forward to working with the House, Senate and White House to include group life in the final TRIA bill presented to the president,” Anderson said.
Rep. Frank, ranking minority member of the House Financial Services Committee, called the travel insurance provision “an important consumer protection provision.”
The Senate bill contains neither provision.