A new bill extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for 10 years has been introduced in the House.
Chief co-sponsors of the new bill are Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. and Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass.
Property owners, led by large real-estate interests, and all three main property and casualty trade associations immediately voiced strong support for the legislation.
“A long-term extension of TRIA, passed swiftly by Congress, is the best possible protection for our economy from terrorism,” says Jimi Grande, senior vice president of federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
“As a part of our national security system, and as a catalyst for continued development, the TRIA program is too important for Congress to wait until the last minute,” Grande adds.
The current program does not expire until Dec. 31, 2014, but terrorism-risk insurance is renewed on an annual basis and some policies might start expiring as early as next February.
Grande says that, currently, 49 members of the House, representing 22 states and the District of Columbia, have voiced support for extending the current TRIA program.
In comments in a Thursday New York Post article, Jeffrey DeBoer, CEO of the Real Estate Roundtable, says that without the program, building owners could find it difficult to find terrorism coverage, in particular owners of iconic buildings that are likely targets.
“Waiting to take legislative action until the scheduled 2014 year-end sunset would be a mistake. Starting in the next few months, as policies roll and terror coverage becomes less certain, increasing numbers of large and small transactions across the country will be delayed or canceled,” DeBoer says.
The latest bill is called the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2013.” It has 19 co-sponsors, most of them from urban districts and most of them members of the House Financial Services Committee.
King is the only Republican House member on the bill.
The bill is similar to the “Fostering Resilience to Terrorism Act of 2013,” introduced earlier this month by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. in that it would extend the program for 10 years.
Thompson is ranking minority member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
However, Thompson’s bill raises concern because it would designate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to become the “lead” agency in the certification process, switching control from the Treasury Department, and adding a provision on information sharing for insureds.
It would also allow the House Homeland Security Committee to share jurisdiction over the issue with the House FSC.
Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House in February, “the TRIA Reauthorization Act of 2013,” H.R. 508, would extend the program for 5 years. The lead sponsor is Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.
The program was first enacted in 2002, and extended for five years in 2007. It expires Dec. 31, 2014.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has also voiced interest in sponsoring legislation extending the program.