IIABA of N.Y. Backs Case for Reauthorization of TRIA

July 29, 2004

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York Inc. has taken its case for reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 before the end of the year to Capitol Hill.

Three members of the Syracuse-based trade association’s leadership team met recently with Sen. Hilary Clinton and her staff in the Senator’s Washington, D.C. office. IIABNY’s Chair of the Board David Bauer, Secretary-Treasurer Sharon Emek and CEO Dick Poppa, as well as Patrick O’Brien, lobbyist and grassroots coordinator for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Inc., met nearly 30 minutes with Sen. Clinton in her Washington, D.C. office.

IIABNY, IIABA and industry allies are calling on the New York Democrat, her Senate colleagues and members of the House of Representatives to extend TRIA in order to prevent uncertainty in the insurance marketplace.

Poppa said the group explained to Clinton, counsel Leecia Roberta Eve and legislative assistant Michael Szymanski that insurance carriers face “incredibly” difficult decisions regarding terrorism coverage, including potential exclusions, if a federal backstop is not in place by Jan. 1, 2005. The timing, they explained, for passing TRIA legislation is critical in order to avoid significant turmoil in the insurance marketplace.

“We think the discussion will serve as a catalyst for Sen. Clinton to take a strong public position on this issue on behalf of New York,” Poppa said. He added that the former First Lady has agreed to demonstrate her support for TRIA reauthorization by participating in an event tentatively scheduled in September by IIABNY and IIABA. An industry-led coalition may also play a role in the event, according to Poppa.

Following the meeting with Clinton, Sens. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) introduced a bipartisan bill that would extend TRIA through 2007. Democrats and Republicans had already introduced their own bills in the House to extend the act.

However, neither House Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) nor Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have reportedly announced any plans to consider TRIA legislation this year. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.), a cosponsor of the Republican bill, has noted that more than 180 House members have signed onto a letter to support extending the federal backstop.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which is designed to safeguard commercial insurers from bankruptcy in the event of a terrorist attack, is due to expire Dec. 31, 2005.

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