Despite Challenges, Industry 'Stepped Up to the Plate' After Boston Bombings: Commissioner

BOSTON—Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy said the insurance industry, as it has repeatedly, responded well to the terrorist bombings during the Boston Marathon earlier this year. 

As it did in reaction to tornadoes in 2011 that affected the central and western part of the state and caused $200 million in losses, or Superstorm Sandy, or major snow last February, the industry “stepped up to the plate and made clients whole,” Murphy said here at the PCI Annual Meeting. 

According to the most recent data calls insured losses to the P&C industry were about $2.5 million. Health insurance claims total about $23 million. 

Murphy expressed support for the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. He said the National Association of Insurance Commissioners adopted a resolution in August to voice support and submitted comments to a President Obama working group on the matter. 

According to Murphy, the fact many businesses did not have terrorism coverage in place would have led to them being adversely affected by the bombings on April 15. But businesses and public figures took the “unusual” position that no terrorist act took place in order to “preclude carriers from triggering exclusions contained in most business insurance policies.” Officials had no experience and the closure of the sites for more than a week after the bombings made it “difficult to determine exposure or file claims.” 

Murphy said the lack of clarity on whether the event would be officially declared a terrorist attack under TRIA caused some confusion in the media and among government officials. Murphy said his office submitted data from insurers to the Federal Insurance Office, but the bombings did not reach thresholds for damages under the act.  

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