ACE’s Greenberg Says TRIA Inaction ‘Shameful’; Defends Ebola Underwriting

By | October 22, 2014

The failure of Congress to renew federal terrorism reinsurance legislation is “shameful” because both political parties know it needs to be done and their differences are minor, an insurance executive said today.

Evan Greenberg
Evan Greenberg

Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of ACE Limited, during a conference call with analysts, also addressed what he said were “sensationalized” reports of his company excluding Ebola risk coverage from some commercial liability policies.

Greenberg criticized members of Congress for finding time to campaign but not to address renewal of the insurance backstop known as the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). He said both parties know what needs to be done and they are not far apart on the issue. “The only thing they can take time for is campaigning,” he said. “It is shameful to me.”

He said failure to renew TRIA would be “bad” for the country, the economy and business.

“I consider it irresponsible of Congress to keep a question mark around the certainty of a backstop,” he said.

TRIA is scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Congress is scheduled to resume after the Nov. 4 election.

The insurance executive called press reports of his company excluding coverage for Ebola-related risk from policies an “attempt to sensationalize” what is “normal, common sense” underwriting and business practice. He denied exclusions or restrictions are being applied widely.

Regarding an exclusion for Ebola risk, he said Ace is “using it selectively, not indiscriminately or unilaterally” to address the risk.

He said ACE underwriters “start with the facts” about customers including their types of activities, locations, travel, the safety protocols in place and others factors, and review them on a “case-by-case” basis. He said insurers have many tools to manage risk, with pricing, coverage limits and exclusions being among them.

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