October 7, 2002 by Canadian Underwriter
Despite continued lack of consensus on a terrorism reinsurance bill from the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush continues to push.
He reiterated his plea to Congress to come to a resolution on Saturday in New Hampshire. “My call to Congress, before they go home: for the sake of jobs, for the sake of putting hard-hats back to work, for the sake of letting people have a chance to put food on their table, we need a terrorism insurance package which does not reward trial lawyers, but does reward the hard-hats of America.’
He also restated the estimate that US$15 billion in projects have been delayed or cancelled due to the drought in the terrorism reinsurance market, and the resulting claim by insurers that they are unable to offer the coverage. “Fifteen billion dollars’ worth of projects are stalled, which means 300,000 jobs.”
Earlier that day at a separate event he remarked, “I think it is a legitimate use for Congress to kind of underwrite terrorism insurance It doesn’t cost the American people anything if there’s not another attack. But it’ll help the economy grow.”
He also pushed the point home in an address at the White House last Thursday, where he continued to link the lack of coverage to the issue of jobs. “We have been talking about this [a government terrorism backstop] up here for a year. And our workers cannot wait any longer.”
Congress has been stalled primarily by two issues: whether or not to limit tort access for victims and their families; and whether to require insurers to pay back losses over time or for the government to act more as an excess reinsurer.
While Congress had targeted October 4 to recess, this deadline has been extended, partly in light of President Bush’s current drive for a Congressional resolution on the use of force against Iraq.