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2007-09-24 12:42:00

NAR Applauds House Passage of Terrorism Insurance Bill

In this month that marks the sixth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the National Assn.  of REALTORS commends the U.S. House of Representatives for reauthorizing the federal government’s terrorism risk insurance program. Today’s vote will help maintain a strong commercial real estate market and the health of the nation’s economy.

NAR has long supported the Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision Extension Act, and NAR President Pat V. Combs praised the passage of H.R. 2761 by the full House. "We hope to see the legislation implemented quickly," said Combs, of Grand Rapids, MI, and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. "The potential unavailability of terrorism risk insurance could have a devastating impact on many commercial financing agreements and would negatively impact the commercial real estate market."

The terrorism insurance program was initiated after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. H.R. 2761 extends the program for 15 years; makes coverage available for nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological (NBCR) attacks; and requires the Treasury Department to report on the terrorism insurance market every two years, including an analysis of terrorism insurance pricing impacts on commercial real estate. It also establishes a blue-ribbon commission tasked with recommending a long-term private market solution.

"Today’s vote recognizes that terrorism continues to be an unpredictable threat, a fact that’s as true in 2007 as it was when Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act in 2002," Combs said. "The reauthorization of TRIA will strengthen the economic security of the commercial real estate market by reducing the uncertainty of terrorism coverage availability, and by covering most conceivable forms of terrorist activity."

"We are especially thankful to Reps. Gregory W. Meeks, D-NY, and Paul E. Kanjorski, D-PA, for their support and understanding of the commercial real estate industry’s importance to the economy and the need to find a long-term solution," Combs said.

Earlier in the year NAR testified that the proper long-term solution should focus on what private markets have been unwilling or unable to do. "The ideal solution must enable businesses to purchase insurance for the most catastrophic conventional terrorism risks; provide adequate insurance capacity in all major commercial real estate markets, particularly in high-risk, urban areas; and provide meaningful insurance against the so-called NBCR risks," said Combs. "We believe this bill does that."

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