On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 26, the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015” during the first days of the 114th Congress by a 416-5 bipartisan vote.
If signed into law, this legislation will extend for six years the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) program, which expired Dec. 31, 2014—leaving much of the commercial property & casualty market at severe financial risk from a terrorist attack.
The bill includes the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB II) legislation that would establish a permanent NARAB to streamline agent licensing to benefit small businesses and many insurance consumers.
P&C industry organizations and associations were quick to applaud the House’s actions, and urged the Senate to act.
“This bipartisan action today by the House is vitally important to instill confidence in markets that this new Congress will quickly act to reauthorize the TRIA program that has protected the U.S. economy since its inception in 2002,” Big “I” president & CEO Bob Rusbuldt said in a statement. “This bill is imperative for stability in the insurance, real estate and lending markets, as well as providing needed agent and broker licensing reform on a voluntary basis.
“We ask that the Senate pass this crucial legislation as quickly as possible so it can be sent to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law,” Rusbuldt added.
In addition to reauthorizing the TRIA program for six years, the bill would also raise the trigger amount needed in total losses before the TRIA program kicks in from the current $100 million to $200 million, over five years, beginning in calendar year 2016, the Big “I” noted. Also over five years, starting Jan. 1, 2016, the mandatory recoupment would also go from $27.5 billion to $37.5 billion, increasing by $2 billion each year.
For all events, the bill would raise the private industry recoupment total from the current 133% of covered losses to 140% of covered losses.
The Big “I” also expressed its approval that the House TRIA bill once again includes the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers legislation (NARAB II). “Now it is imperative that the Senate act, and act quickly,” says says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs.
“We applaud the House for its quick action to reauthorize TRIA and restore the federal program’s certainty for carriers, brokers and insureds," said Brady Kelley, NAPSLO's executive director. "We are also pleased the legislation will enact NARAB, which is critical to the much-needed reform and streamlining of the agent and broker licensing process for those producing business in multiple states – a process that today is very onerous and inefficient state-by-state. We encourage the Senate to act just as swiftly to send this critical legislation to the White House.”
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) commended the House’s passage of a long-term TRIA extension. “This legislation provides the certainty that America’s businesses and insurance consumers need,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “We urge the Senate to pass this bill without delay.”
“The House is off to a good start,” added PIA National Director of Federal Affairs Jon Gentile. “The Senate should quickly follow suit.”
Ken A. Crerar, president/CEO of The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB), said, “We are extremely grateful to House leadership, Chairman Hensarling, Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Chairman Neugebauer and Rep. Waters, for seeing this through. We continue to urge their counterparts in the Senate to act quickly to pass this critical legislation. Allowing TRIA to expire was a dangerous gamble that puts current terrorism policies in peril and poses significant risk to economic growth and American jobs.”
“Only a long-term reauthorization of TRIA will restore market certainty and protect our economy against major acts of terrorism,” said Leigh Ann Pusey, president and CEO of the American Insurance Association (AIA). “We urge the Senate to quickly pass the bill in order to restore market certainty and protect our economy against terrorism.”
Dave Matcham, chief executive of the International Underwriting Association (IUA), noted that a renewal of TRIA "will provide the insurance industry with the economic security it needs to continue supporting the wider economy across a range of business classes.”
Charles M. Chamness, president and CEO of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), said, “This legislation strikes the right balance between protecting the taxpayers and keeping the TRIA program within reach of those companies that operate on a regional or single-state basis. A more drastic increase to the threshold for federal intervention may have kept many of those companies from providing terrorism coverage, leaving fewer options and increased rates for consumers.”
Members of the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism are “pleased Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McCarthy and Chairman Hensarling have made TRIA reauthorization a top priority for the new Congress and commend the members of the House for quickly approving this important legislation,” said CIAT spokesman Marty DePoy. “It’s now time for the Senate to follow the House’s lead and immediately renew this program that’s proven so critical to U.S. economic and national security.”
Showing a united front, industry groups formed a coalition and submitted a letter to the Senate Wednesday afternoon, urging them to pass H.R. 26. The coalition stressed that the Act "is vital to the millions of businesses, job creators and workers across the country reliant on TRIA to secure terrorism insurance and protect our economic growth."
Below, the letter's text:
American businesses strongly support H.R. 26 - the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.
Reauthorization Act of 2015. Today, the House passed H.R. 26 by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 416 to 5. This bill is the same as the TRIA legislation that passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 417-7 on December 10, 2014. Our coalition represents a diverse and broad majority of business stakeholders. We urge you to expeditiously PASS this bill.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act is vital to the millions of businesses, job creators, and workers across the country reliant on TRIA to secure terrorism insurance and protect our economic growth. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress created TRIA to address a void in the marketplace, foster economic stability, and provide certainty to for-profit and non-profit entities across the country. For the past dozen years, the United States has relied on TRIA as a fiscally responsible terrorism risk management plan to protect taxpayers and our national security and stability.
It is critical that Congress act immediately to keep our terrorism insurance protection program in place. We urge your support of this important bill.
American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA)
American Bankers Association (ABA)
American Gaming Association (AGA)
American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)
American Insurance Association (AIA)
American Land Title Association (ALTA)
American Society of Workers Compensation Professionals (AmCOMP)
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
California Insurance Wholesalers Association (CIWA)
Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT)
Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB)
CRE Finance Council (CREFC)
Financial Services Roundtable (FSR)
Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big “I”)
Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)
National Apartment Association (NAA)
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC)
National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT)
National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI)
Reinsurance Association of America (RAA)
Texas Surplus Lines Association (TSLA)
The Real Estate Roundtable (The Roundtable)
The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce