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TRIA should not be expanded: Hubbard


WASHINGTON--The Bush administration is willing to work with Congress regarding the federal government's role in guaranteeing terrorism insurance, but remains committed to the eventual elimination of the terrorism insurance backstop program, says one of the president's key economic advisers.

"The president believes in the long run, TRIA is not needed," said Allan Hubbard, director of the White House's National Economic Council, referring to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act that created the backstop in 2002.

He said the administration feels that insurers should take higher deductibles and make higher copayments before tapping the program. The administration also believes the program should not be expanded, Mr. Hubbard said Wednesday during an address to the annual Insurance Reform Summit in Washington sponsored by the Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University.

He said the White House is not saying that the terrorism backstop, which is currently scheduled to end on Dec. 31, should be eliminated "immediately," but stressed that the administration believes it should be eliminated eventually.

He was more adamant regarding proposals to create a natural catastrophe insurance fund.

"It's totally inappropriate," Mr. Hubbard said. Many of the property insurance problems being experienced in the U.S. Gulf Coast are "self-inflicted," as state insurance regulators have held rates artificially low, he said.