Construction industry could be hurt by non-renewal of terrorism insurance bill

Despite broad support, measure stalled in Senate

January 08, 2015 |
Photo: Abderitestatos via Wikimedia Commons

The construction industry and real estate development could be hampered by the U.S. Congress’s failure to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).

Insurance industry experts say without federal terrorism reinsurance in place for 2015, resulting canceled property/casualty insurance coverage and market chaos could be disruptive to the economy.

"A major terrorist attack occurring without a TRIA law on the books will be far more disruptive to the U.S. economy than one where TRIA is in place," saidInsurance Information Institute President Robert Hartwig. “Terrorism insurance policies are going to lapse in 2015, and insurers will be under no obligation to renew them, adversely impacting the construction, energy, and real estate industries, among others.”

Federal terrorism reinsurance had helped stabilize the market in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks, and it had been renewed several times since. There was widespread bipartisan support for TRIA renewal, but retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, held up passage. Coburn objected to a measure included in the bill that would have set up the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, an entity that would have potentially bypassed state regulators.

One positive sign: A.M. Best said it “has determined that no rating actions on insurers previously identified as over-reliant upon [TRIA] are necessary at this time.” The rating agency said it reviewed action plans from insurance carriers addressing what they would do if TRIA was not renewed and concluded that “sufficient mitigation initiatives were developed to avoid a material impact on a rating unit’s financial strength.”


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