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PIA Hails Senate Passage of TRIA Renewal

WASHINGTON, November 18, 2005 - The U.S. Senate has cast a key vote in support of Main Street businesses throughout the country with...
November 18, 2005

Agents Make Final Push for Congress to Approve Terrorism Backstop

WASHINGTON, November 18, 2005  - The U.S. Senate has cast a key vote in support of Main Street businesses throughout the country with passage of a bill to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), according to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents.

On Friday November 18, the Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation extending TRIA by two years. The Senate bill is significantly different than a TRIA renewal bill passed two days earlier by the House Financial Services Committee.

"The action by the Senate sends a solid signal to the markets that terrorism insurance will continue to be available for small and medium-size businesses," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Len Brevik. "Our members would like to express their appreciation to the leadership and members of the Senate for their recognition of the importance of extending this key public-private partnership to assure continued availability of terrorism insurance coverage."

"With TRIA set to expire at the end of this year, the insurance marketplace needed a solid sign that Congress would act this year," Brevik said. "The Senate's vote to extend TRIA has given the markets that sign."

Broad differences remain between the TRIA bill passed by the full Senate and one approved two days earlier by the House Financial Services Committee. The Senate bill cuts back on some coverage in response to concerns expressed by the White House, while the House measure would expand coverage to include group life insurance. The full House is expected to take up its version of the bill during the week of December 5. Differences would then be reconciled by a House-Senate conference.

"The differences between the Senate and House bills pale in comparison to the overwhelming need to get the renewal done," said PIA Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski.  "Because of the overwhelming importance of this issue, our industry has come together to bring about the certainty needed so markets can remain stable and carriers can proceed to deal with renewals coming on their books in 2006."

"We have confidence that the remaining details can be worked out when Congress reconvenes after Thanksgiving," Borowski said. "When that happens, it will be a victory for Main Street businesses everywhere -- the sandwich shops, the car dealers, the beauty parlors, the barber shops, the small boutiques and countless other enterprises that turn to their PIA agents for all of their insurance needs, including terrorism coverage."

As Congress prepared to adjourn for the Thanksgiving holiday, PIA initiated two simultaneous nationwide grassroots action campaigns - one urging renewal of TRIA and the other supporting an increase in borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) so it can continue to pay claims filed by flood victims.

The PIA tandem grassroots campaigns were conducted using an advanced digital system that enables agents around the nation to send individual, customized communications to their Members of Congress very rapidly. Based on monitoring of email responses after the first 24 hours, more than 1,500 agent contacts with Congress were made.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association which represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2006.