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WASHINGTON--A key congressional proponent of extending the federal government's terrorism insurance backstop said Tuesday afternoon that any bill designed to do so should be free of unrelated insurance reforms.
Any bill should focus on the extension of the backstop and avoid any extraneous insurance issues, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., said as the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises opened a hearing on extension of the terrorism insurance program beyond its slated Dec. 31 expiration.
That's particularly true regarding allowing risk retention groups to write property coverage, Rep. Kanjorski said.
In fact, Rep. Kanjorski, who chairs the subcommittee, said he views the issue of risk retention group reform with "considerable skepticism" in the contest of terrorism insurance. He also said that lawmakers should resist the temptation to include reform of surplus lines insurance in the terrorism insurance debate, and that any extension of the program should be neither permanent nor "semi-permanent," suggesting that a six- to eight-year extension would be desirable.
That could put him on collision course with many other members of the subcommittee, who used the hearing to call for extensions ranging up to 20 years if the program is not made permanent. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., for example, said that the program should run for at least another 15 to 20 years to meet long-term insurance needs of the construction industry.
"Uncertainty is the enemy we're fighting," said Rep. Ackerman.