Howard Mills, acting New York superintendent of Insurance, promised a group of local agents, brokers and insurance company representatives he would stress the need to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act beyond the end of 2005 when he travels to Washington D.C. within the next two weeks.
Mills said he would refute a Congressional Budget Office report that concluded TRIA had artificially restrained the free market and insurance industry and had done “nothing” to mitigate and reduce risks” related to acts of terrorism.
“I just think they (CBO) don’t understand the issue,” Mills said. “You can’t look at this as a New York , Washington issue. There are big cities all over this country that could be terrorist attack targets. Las Vegas . Disney World. All these places regularly pop up on the Internet when terrorist groups look at where they could hit America .”
Mills, who was visiting the DeWitt headquarters of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York , will meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow and testify before the Senate Banking Committee.
On other issues, Mills called the controversy over broker compensation a “complex” issue, but said the insurance department would not rush to introduce reactionary and knee-jerk regulation. An investigation begun in 2004 by the New York Attorney General’s Office involving charges of bid-rigging and other market manipulation resulted in multimillion dollar settlements at two of the world’s largest insurance brokerages. Mills said the insurance department would proceed carefully with a recognition of the differences how “main street” brokers and major brokerages are compensated for their services.
Mills’ appearance at the trade association office was part of his first visit to the Syracuse area since Gov. George Pataki announced his appointment in January to succeed Gregory V. Serio as superintendent. Mills’ appointment is currently pending before the state Senate.
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