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WASHINGTON--The Bush administration "strongly" opposes the Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act as approved by the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
In a statement issued after the vote, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions David G. Nason said "we are particularly disappointed with the committee's decision to extend the program for 15 additional years. This extension runs counter to the public policy goal of reducing and eventually eliminating the federal government's role in the terrorism insurance market, and it sends the wrong message to the marketplace for a program that was intended to be temporary."
The federal terrorism insurance backstop is slated to expire on Dec. 31.
The bill "does not meet these standards for an improved market, and we strongly oppose this bill," said Mr. Nason in his statement. He added, though, that "as the bill moves through the legislative process, the administration looks forward to working with the Congress to pursue an improved" backstop program.
The amended bill passed by a vote of 49 to 20. In addition to approving the amendment that would extend the federal insurance backstop by 15 years rather than the 10 years provided in the version of the bill approved by the committee's Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee last week, the full committee agreed to several other changes to the bill.
These included an amendment that would exempt insurers with annual direct premiums of less than $50 million from having to offer coverage for nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological attacks if they could show that doing so would jeopardize their solvency. The committee also approved an amendment that would tie the size of insured losses required to trigger the backstop to the rate of inflation.
The full House is expected to take up the measure after it returns from its August recess next month.