U.S. Senators Smith & Tillis’ Bill to Extend Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Nears Passage by Senate, House

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/16/2019]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) secured inclusion of their bipartisan bill to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program for seven years as part of a key government funding package expected to pass Congress this week.

Last month, the Senate Banking Committee unanimously passed the legislation. During Committee consideration, Sen. Smith highlighted how the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) makes it possible for Minnesota to host major events, including the 2018 Super Bowl which generated more than $350 million for the state’s economy.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program was established in response to the scarcity of affordable insurance coverage for terrorism risk in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Since then, the program has improved the availability and affordability of terrorism risk insurance coverage in the marketplace through a public/private partnership that allows the federal government and the insurance industry to share losses in the event of a major terrorist attack. The program ensures that adequate resources are available for businesses to recover and rebuild if they are the victims of a terrorist attack.  Under TRIA, all property and casualty insurers in the U.S. are required to make terrorism coverage available. Without the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, which is scheduled to expire at the end of 2020, major building projects and other key events could be halted or delayed, causing lost jobs and economic activity. 

The bill is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Insurance Federation of Minnesota, the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism, the Reinsurance Association of America, Prudential, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the National Association of Realtors, the American Bankers Association and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

“I’ve been focused on working with both parties to get things done to support jobs and economic growth in Minnesota. Congress is an institution that rarely acts without a deadline, so I’m glad to see my bipartisan measure on the path to being signed into law more than a year before Terrorism Risk Insurance Program is scheduled to expire. The TRIA bill supports vital Minnesota institutions because having access to affordable insurance for terrorism-related risks makes it possible for businesses to be able to grow and create jobs,” said Sen. Smith. “The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program needs to be extended, and successfully including it in this legislative package shows we can work together to do that.”

“The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program is an important program that protects North Carolina’s economy and provides peace of mind to the private sector by providing insurance protections at no cost to taxpayers,” said Sen. Tillis. “I am proud to see my bipartisan legislation to extend this program will be signed into law so major events like the 2020 RNC Convention in Charlotte and American businesses can be protected and continue to create jobs.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Specifically, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019:

  • Reauthorizes the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program for seven years, through December 31, 2027and preserves the taxpayer reforms included in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015;
  • Directs the Treasury Department in its biennial report on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program and its effectiveness to include an evaluation of the availability and affordability of terrorism risk insurance, including specifically for places of worship; and
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office to analyze and address, and report on, the vulnerabilities and potential costs of cyber terrorism, adequacy of coverage under the Program, and to make recommendations for future legislative changes to address evolving cyber terrorism risks.