After many months of negotiating with other Members and the insurance industry, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and his fellow New Yorkers on the Financial Services Committee lead the charge to pass the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act (TRIEA) in committee today. The final vote was 49-20 in favor of passage of the bill.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) was created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a federal backstop to the insurance and re-insurance that were in danger of being illiquid if another terrorist attack occurred. TRIEA makes the insurance industry responsible for no more than $27 billion of compensation in the case of a terrorist attack, with the government picking 85 percent of the cost once damages exceed $100 million. Coverage for nuclear, biological, chemical and radioactive attacks was also included in the extension bill. Without TRIA, insurance companies were not willing to provide terrorism insurance to facilities in New York or other areas with a high risk for future terrorist attacks. Without terrorism insurance, banks were not willing to finance new construction, making development difficult in New York and practically impossible to rebuild at Ground Zero.
Meeks and the rest of the New York delegation on the committee cosponsored an amendment with Congressman Peter King to extend TRIA 15 years until 2022 instead of 2017 which was in the language of the bill. The amendment was contended by the majority of the Republican committee members. When speaking in support of the amendment Rep. Meeks stated " The amendment will give greater stability and certainty to the market place which is what the industry seeks when making long term investments."
A special provision to lower the trigger for federal assistance was included in the bill for areas that have already suffered a terrorist attack; a provision that especially benefits New York.
"The symbolic part of this bill is that we are telling our friends and enemies that the economic engines of this country will continue churning. We will continue building and rebuilding our great nation no matter what efforts, violent or otherwise, are taken to inhibit us," stated Meeks.