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WASHINGTON, DC-Real estate and insurance industry professionals are cheering the US Senate’s passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 by an overwhelming vote of 84 to 14. Approval of the bill comes more than six months after the US House of Representatives passed its version of terrorism insurance legislation, the Terrorism Risk Protection Act.

The bill now goes to conference with the House, where the two congressional changes will have to hash out the differences between their bills. The Senate’s version requires the government to pay 90% of terrorism-related claims beyond $10 billion for a period of two years. The House version stipulates the same, but for a minimum one-year period. However, what is most likely to be a primary source of discussion in conference is the partisan stance on whether companies can be sued for punitive damages or not.

“MBA urges House and Senate conferees to work with speed to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills and pass legislation to alleviate the terrorism insurance problem now facing us, Mortgage Bankers Association of America chairman James M. Murphy says.”The faster the uncertainty over terrorism insurance is resolved, the faster the real estate industry can contribute to a still fragile economy.”

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