Senate votes to extend terrorism insurance program

Program would expire in 2021; lawmakers mull hike in insurers' share of losses

From left: Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer
From left: Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer

Eight days after the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act expired, the Senate voted 93-4 to revive it.

The House of Representatives, in a 416-5 vote yesterday, also approved the renewal of the act, which provides a backstop for property insurers in the event of a terrorist attack. The Federal insurance coverage kicks in for losses that exceed $100 million. If signed into law, the program, created in 2002, would be authorized for another six years, with an increase in the share of catastrophic losses that insurers would have to pay. The real estate industry criticized lawmakers’ failure to reach a deal to keep the program in place late last year.

Then-Senator Tom Coburn blocked efforts to renew it. Republicans put the reauthorization of TRIA on a fast-track procedure.

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Lawmakers want to increase the percentage that insurers must pay from 15 to 20 percent. To date, no carrier has required the backstop.

President Obama is next to review the legislation.

“This bill doesn’t just benefit New York,” New York State Senator Charles Schumer said in a statement. “It benefits the skyscraper in Los Angeles, the sports stadium in Nebraska, the shopping center in Tennessee.” — Mark Maurer