Without Federal Help, Terrorism Coverage Could be Months or Years Away

January 22, 2002

According to the Washington Post, insurance executives told state regulators in Washington, D.C., last week that minus federal help, it could be months or years until they can provide terrorism coverage. They added workers’ compensation and group life to a list of insurance lines that policyholders could find difficult or very costly to purchase.

In lobbying for more state-level permission to exclude terrorism coverage from their policies, executives admitted that the exclusions simply move the risk on to their policyholders. Insurers, however, said they have nowhere to turn due to a market for terrorism insurance that has gone dry, especially for owners of high-profile buildings or businesses with a large concentration of workers in one locale.

State insurance commissioners met last week to discuss putting regulations on reinsurers, which unlike primary insurers are presently not regulated. The meeting did permit the regulators a platform to listen to insurance executives, brokers and analysts about the impending crisis for large commercial policyholders.

Insurers and regulators expressed disappointment last week that Congress left for its recess in December minus enacting legislation to form a mechanism for the federal government to help pay possible terrorism claims in the future. They also indicated they were less than hopeful that Congress would reconsider the legislation as it returned to work this week.

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