The House has voted to extend the federal terrorism insurance program for at least two years, but the Bush administration says it is strongly opposed to the measure.
The House bill, approved Dec. 7 on a 371-49 vote, next would have to be reconciled with the Senate-passed version, which the White House supports.
Both bills would continue the 2002 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which expires Dec. 31. Enacted in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks, TRIA established federal "backstop" coverage if terrorism-related claims exceed certain thresholds. Both measures would require insurance companies to take on a greater share of the claims.
At present, the federal government covers 90% of such losses over an insurer-paid "deductible." This year, the deductible is 15% of an insurer's annual premiums.
The Senate version is a two-year extension and raises the deductible to 17.5% of premiums in 2006 and 20% in 2007. The House bill leaves open a possible third year and raises the deductibles, but varies them by types of insurance. For instance, workers' compensation insurance would have a 17.5% deductible in 2006, property insurance would have a 20% deductible and casualty coverage 25%.
The Office of Management and Budget issued a Dec. 7 administration policy statement, objecting to the House measure. It said, "Instead of scaling back the federal backstop, the House [bill] expands the program by including group life insurance as a covered line and by adding domestic terrorism coverage to the program, among other changes."