House Compromises on Terror Insurance Bill But Fate Still Uncertain

December 13, 2007

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed another bill extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, a bill that accepts most of the provisions of the Senate’s measure.

However, the House also added several provisions which may not please either the Senate or the White House.

The legislation H.R. 4299, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, incorporates the entirety of the Senate bill with no changes, including extending TRIA for only seven years instead of 15 as the House originally sought.

In addition to the seven year extension, the Senate provisions accepted by the House would clarify the $100 billion cap and accelerate the timing of mandatory recoupment (recovering amounts paid by Treasury up to $27.5 billion). It also would require government studies of insurance for nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological terrorist events and the availability and affordability of terrorism insurance in specific markets.

However,the latest House bill adds a reset mechanism for significant terrorist attacks (over $1 billion), adds group life insurance to TRIA’s covered lines and lowers the trigger from $100 million to $50 million.

The program’s fate is now in the hands of the Senate, which has refused to budge from its original bill.

Despite the compromises agreed to by the House, its final House bill could still face a veto by President Bush. The White House said it would go along with the Senate bill but has insisted that there be no expansion of the program and that any extension require an increase in private insurance.

The House and Senate are under pressure to pass an extension because the current federal terrorism insurance program expires Dec. 31.

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