AAI Applauds Tentative Deal on Terrorism Bill

The Alliance of American Insurers has applauded a tentative agreement by the White House and House and Senate leaders in support of a terrorism insurance bill.

“We are anxious to see the final details in writing, but from what we understand, this is truly an unselfish compromise that puts concern for the overall good of our nation, the economy and jobs ahead of political differences,” Rodger Lawson, president of the Alliance, said. “I would call this an historic piece of legislation that shows a clear understanding and appreciation of the realities facing the domestic insurance industry in the post 9/11 era.”

According to the Alliance Senior Vice President for Federal Affairs David Farmer, the President’s personal involvement in the discussions, along with the determined efforts of the House and Senate leadership, and the conference committee members, particularly Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH), Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), and Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D- MD), led to a compromise on several issues that had threatened to stall the bill.

“Everyone agreed that a federal program for terrorism reinsurance was vital, but overcoming philosophical differences on certain provisions of the competing bills was far from easy,” Farmer remarked. “We appreciate the willingness of all those involved to do the right thing. And we think the final bill will be one we can all be proud to support.”

Farmer said indications that the bill will include provisions for covering workers’ compensation claims related to terrorist attacks are an important addition to the compromise.

While details of the final bill are still being finalized, the agreement calls for a program that will provide a federal backstop through 2005. Insurers will cover a certain percentage of losses from any future terrorist attacks, and the federal government will provide additional coverage for large losses.

Action is expected on the bill next week and the House, which has already recessed, will return for a special session next Wednesday to vote on the final bill.