Bush Officials Seek Evidence of Insurance Turmoil

January 9, 2002

In a move to put together solid evidence of turmoil in the insurance and financial service markets, senior Bush administration officials privately called on business groups, stating it will be hard to win congressional support for terrorism-insurance legislation without specific examples highlighting market problems.

According to the Washington Post, in a conference call with dozens of representatives from the insurance, real estate and banking industries, Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political adviser, claimed the White House needs the examples to back its prediction that economic upheaval would take place without a federal backup for paying future terrorism insurance claims.

Administration officials had been asking for a federal backup to be worked out by the end of the year, when about 70 percent of commercial reinsurance contracts expired. Congress, however, recessed in December without enacting the legislation.

The conference call pointed out the troubles backers of the legislation still face in presenting case studies even following the passage of the Dec. 31 deadline.

Deborah Sherno, spokeswoman for the Alliance of American Insurers, commented after the call that it might take time for problems to become apparent.

Preparing for an upcoming House Financial Services Committee hearing, the General Accounting Office is also trying to compile evidence of problems in the insurance market.

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