IIABA Commends House Approval of Terrorism Insurance Legislation

November 15, 2002

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) commends House leaders for working cooperatively to pass terrorism insurance legislation yesterday, and urges the Senate to immediately follow suit and pass a bill that will restore thousands of jobs and provide a significant boost to the economy by creating a federal backstop for future terrorism insurance claims.

“Hospitals, office buildings, malls, stadiums, museums, churches and numerous other facilities where large groups of people gather are now one step closer to having the long-awaited and sorely needed access to terrorism coverage,” says IIABA CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “Now the Senate must swiftly pass this bipartisan compromise to enhance our economic vitality and overcome a significant barrier to job creation. In the end, the winners will be thousands of American workers who will return to jobs delayed or cancelled by the terrorism insurance crisis.”

The White House and House-Senate conference committee members reached an agreement in principle Oct. 17, however, the situation surrounding the legislation remained fluid until a conference report was approved by House and Senate conferees when they returned earlier this week for a lame-duck session.

Rusbuldt and senior vice president of Federal Government Affairs Maria L. Berthoud credit the “incredible leadership and resilience” of President George W. Bush for keeping the legislation alive when its prospects appeared dim, as well as the hard work of Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio).

Rusbuldt, Berthoud and IIABA members joined the President and various business leaders at an Oct. 3 White House event calling for passage of a terrorism insurance bill by Congress. The Big “I” repeatedly worked with the Administration, Sen. Dodd, Chairman Oxley and many others by stressing that the lack of affordable terrorism insurance has been plaguing the economy as a whole.

“Members of both parties should be proud of a new terrorism insurance backstop that will serve people rather than politics,” says Berthoud. “The President has been emphasizing that 300,000 jobs are at stake and more than $15 billion worth of real estate projects have been stalled or canceled due to the unavailability of terrorism insurance. The business clients of independent agents and brokers feel an anxious need for this legislation. Jobs for dedicated American workers will be preserved and restored once this bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law.”

Rusbuldt adds, “This has been a challenging process that has required everyone to reinvigorate their efforts to end an unnecessary hindrance to our economy. Objections to some components of the bill were overcome, and the end result will be a federal backstop that will enable many public-access facilities to attain the terrorism coverage they had great difficulty finding during the past year.”

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