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Lawmakers Negotiate TRIA Deal

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Senate Banking Committee leaders have agreed on the provisions of a bare-bones bill that would extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for 7 years without adding protection for group life insurers.

The committee leaders plan to vote on the 3-page bill Wednesday.

The current bill sunsets Dec. 31.

In addition to shutting out group life insurers, the bill includes no provisions dealing with nuclear, biological, chemical or radiation events and no provisions that would provide extra help for cities such as New York that already have suffered from terrorist attacks.

The bill would keep the current $100 million program trigger.

Insurance groups have been trying to add extra protection for group life insurers and for insurers facing NBCR events, and they have been trying to reduce the size of the event needed to trigger program payouts.

The House passed a bill, H.R. 2761, in September that would have included group life and NBCR attacks, and reduced the trigger amount.

President Bush says he would veto H.R. 2761 if it crossed his desk.

The staffs of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the most senior Republican on the committee, completed work on the TRIA extension bill Friday.

Shelby has been an outspoken opponent of terrorism risk insurance legislation, and insurers are pleased with his support for a relatively long extension.

An industry lobbyist who requested anonymity says he expects the committee to approve the bill Wednesday without acrimony.

“Certainly, there will continue to be spirited debates – over group life, NBCR, deductibles and pay-go provisions,” the lobbyist says. “But the most important thing is that the program is extended for a predictable amount of time.”