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House passes bill to extend terrorism insurance backstop through 2020

House passes bill to extend terrorism insurance backstop through 2020

Moving quickly after the federal terrorism insurance program expired on Dec. 31, 2014, the House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to extend the terrorism insurance backstop until the end of 2020.

The House tally was 416-5, with one member voting “present.'' The legislation, which has strong support from the major insurance and risk management trade groups, now goes to the Senate.

The program, which was created by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, died in the Senate at the end of last year because a lone retiring senator staunchly opposed agent licensing provision contained in the bill.

The measure that passed Wednesday — H.R. 26, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 — is identical to a compromise measure approved by the House last month. The bill calls for extending the program for six years, gradually increasing the trigger for activating the backstop to $200 million from the current $100 million and gradually increasing the industrywide retention to $37.5 billion.

The bill also would establish a new National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers that would streamline interstate agent licensing.

Extension of the backstop was the top legislative goal of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc., as well as insurance and producer groups, in the last Congress.

The Senate last year had approved a bill that would have extended the program for seven years while retaining the current coverage trigger.

But the Senate failed to take up the House measure before adjourning last month after retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blocked Senate consideration of the bill because he objected to the NARAB provision, claiming it violated states' rights.

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