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Terrorism backstop law requires a tight focus


REP. PAUL KANJORSKI, D-Pa., makes no secret of his intention to get legislation extending the federal terrorism insurance backstop enacted long before the program expires at the end of the year. He also makes no secret of his insistence that any extension bill be focused solely on the backstop and not on other, unrelated insurance matters.

We share Rep. Kanjorski's contention that the best extension bill is a targeted one. There's no guarantee that even a straightforward bill will have an easy time finding its way to the Oval Office for the president's signature. You don't have to have a very long memory to recall how the 2005 extension effort went down to the wire, with President Bush signing the bill only days before the program was set to expire.

Other insurance issues such as streamlining surplus lines and reinsurance regulation or granting risk retention groups the power to underwrite property insurance are serious matters than deserve serious consideration on their own merits. Given the fact that the federal terrorism insurance program will disappear on Dec. 31 absent congressional action, the focus of insurance legislative activity now must be on extending the backstop, and the best way to do so is with a tightly focused bill.