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French terrorism pool to cover nuclear strikes

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PARIS—The French terrorism risk pool agreement has been renewed for three years and extends coverage to include attacks that use nuclear weapons, according to the company that manages the pool.

The pool provides terrorism coverage for assets with an insured value that exceeds e6 million ($7.9 million). The 2007 renewal raises the monetary threshold at which the state reinsurer, the Caisse Centrale de Reassurance, would intervene to cover a terrorist attack from e2.0 billion to e 2.2 billion ($2.64 billion to $2.90 billion), according to Francois Vilnet, vp of Gestion de l'Assurance et de la Reassurance des Risques Attentats et Actes de Terrorisme—or GAREAT—the private-public partnership company managing the pool on behalf of the state and insurers.

In January 2006, the French government enacted a new law requiring reinsurers participating in the pool to cover the risk of attacks using nuclear weapons. "But because the law took effect during the year, we had an awkward situation in which some reinsurers were still following the old law, while some had accepted the new law," he said.

"This led us to look for new reinsurers willing to follow the new law," and to get better rates, he said. This induced other reinsurers to begin following the new law, Mr. Vilnet said. More than 70 reinsurers are participating in GAREAT this year.

Mr. Vilnet said the new agreement took effect Jan. 1, although GAREAT is still negotiating some "small details" of the state's coverage range.