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House, Senate members offer options on extending terrorism backstop


WASHINGTON — There are three options to deal with the federal government's terrorism insurance backstop program, a key member of Congress said Wednesday.

The program could be allowed to expire on Dec. 31, as it is slated to do, said U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's subcommittee on housing and insurance.

The program also could be extended, Rep. Neugebauer told attendees Wednesday at Indiana State University's 10th annual Network Financial Institute insurance public policy summit in Washington.

The third option is if there is support to continue the backstop, “how can we move the ball forward to phasing out” the program while giving the insurance industry time to prepare business models to deal with the terrorism risk, he said.

While agreeing with a questioner that terrorism is not a typical risk, “I still think we can certainly shrink” taxpayer exposure, Rep. Neugebauer said.

Another speaker, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said continuing the program is a “no-brainer,” given that the federal government is involved in flood, crop and other types of insurance.

Reauthorization of the terrorism insurance program needs to be done by September, said Sen. Heitkamp, who serves on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “I think it will get done.”