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Democrats introduce bill to extend, expand TRIA


WASHINGTON--House Democrats introduced legislation Monday that will extend the federal terrorism insurance backstop program for 10 years.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act of 2007 would go beyond the current program, though, by requiring insurers to offer policyholders coverage for nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological terrorist attacks. It also would change the program's definition of covered terrorist attacks to include acts of domestic terrorism and would also add group life insurance to the lines of insurance covered by the program. The bill also would require further study of the development of a private terrorism insurance market.

The current federal backstop program is slated to expire on Dec. 31. The House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises has scheduled a June 21 hearing on the bill.

"We need to keep in perspective that this bill is necessary for economic development and to protect property owners, building tenants, developers and people who work or live in high-risk areas," the chairman of the committee--Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.--said in statement announcing the bill's introduction.

"We have made significant improvements in this legislation, and we believe we have struck the right balance in providing assurances for business and workers in urban areas and encouraging the creation of a private market," added Rep. Frank, who is co-sponsoring the bill.