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Elections Dim Prospects for Long-term TRIA Renewal

Prospects for quick passage of a long-term renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act have dimmed as a result of the November elections...
November 20, 2014

Prospects for quick passage of a long-term renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) have dimmed as a result of the November elections. Instead, Congress is now talking about a temporary reauthorization.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to renew TRIA for seven years by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 93-4. On the House side, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) prefers his own TRIA bill that renews the program for five years, would raise the trigger level for federal participation from the current $100 million to $500 million over five years, and puts TRIA on a path to be phased out. While it passed out of the Financial Services Committee in a partisan vote, Rep. Hensarling could not get enough support for his bill to pass in the full House.

After the elections, there had been support for considering the Senate-passed bill in the lame-duck session, even among Republicans. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), a former insurance agent, started circulating a sign-on letter directed to Speaker John Boehner, calling on the GOP leadership to reject any short-term extension of TRIA and to instead move on a bill similar to the Senate's version.

Then last week, the House GOP leadership closed ranks behind Rep. Hensarling. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) joined Speaker Boehner in supporting a short-term extension of TRIA, a move that insurance and other groups oppose.

What It Means to Agents: PIA is continuing to advocate for as straightforward and long-term a reauthorization of TRIA as possible. While the underlying philosophy of the House bill seems to be that TRIA should be phased out, we believe that there is an ongoing need for a terrorism insurance backstop.

The TRIA Saga – article by Ted Besesparis (National Underwriter November 2014)

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