Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

Surplus lines lobbyists to keep Congress focused on cyber

Reprints

SAN DIEGO — Congress is still trying to get a handle on cyber risk, which is going to remain a major focus at least through 2020, the year the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act comes up for reauthorization.

“This is one of the hot items of the day, and it really does transcend” industries, including the health care, chemicals and energy sectors, said Josh Andrews, a director with Washington-based FaegreBD Consulting, a unit of Faegre Baker Daniels L.L.P. that lobbies on behalf of the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices. “This is something we think is going to be a hot topic” when it comes time to reauthorize TRIA in 2020, Mr. Andrews said, discussing NAPSLO's legislative agenda during a session Wednesday at the organization's 2015 annual convention in San Diego.

“It's an issue that's just being developed. People are just trying to wrap their heads around it,” he said, noting the recent hacking of the federal Office of Personnel Management. “Everybody's dealing with cyber as it relates to their particular industry, and policymakers are trying to figure out what that means.”

Insurance is going to be “ground zero” on this issue, where “a lot of this stuff hits the road because liability and coverage are going to be key aspects for all industries. We certainly think it is going to increase in terms of attention and want to be involved in helping them understand (the issue) as TRIA gets close to reauthorization,” Mr. Andrews said.

Libby L. Baney, senior director at FaegreBD, pointed to the possibility of a cyber attack on the power grid.

“Is that a terrorism event? Is there coverage under TRIA?” There is some ambiguity about that under the current law, said Ms. Baney. There is also the question of whether there is adequate capacity in the market to cover the risk, she said.

This is all part and parcel of a broader discussion about the Internet, “and a lot of times Congress doesn't know how to grapple with that issue,” Ms. Baney said.

There is no legislation directly on this issue as of yet, Ms. Baney said.

“We will continue to track developments to make sure we are ahead of the game, so when Congress does start in earnest to focus on those issues” we can make sure congressional representatives “come to NAPSLO first before doing something” that could have a negative impact on the insurance business and the economy, Ms. Baney said.