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WASHINGTON, DC-The US House of Representatives has passed a compromise version of terrorism insurance legislation, signing off on a bill that calls for the government to cover 90% of insured terrorism-related losses beyond $15 billion annually over the next three years. The federal insurance backstop has a cap of $90 billion per year. Now, it is up to Senate members to pass the joint version of the bill before it is sent to the president’s desk.

The news came last night as House members passed the legislation via voice vote during Congress’s lame-duck session. Despite months of frequent and consistent prodding from the real estate, insurance and construction industries, this major step foreword comes well over a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, which left insurers with a $40-billion bill for insurance claims. The House was the first congressional chamber to sign off on a version of the legislation, passing its bill by the end of 2001. The Senate followed with its version earlier this year. But partisan wrangling among conference committee members over punitive damages has held up the formation of a joint package.

President George W. Bush did his part, bringing up the devastating loss real estate development and corresponding jobs during many of his public speeches over the last few months. Bush also conceded to Democrats’ desire to not put a limit on punitive damages in the bill. “Until the Senate passes the compromise bill, we’re keeping our fingers crosses,” Darren McKinney of the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism, tells GlobeSt.com. The Senate may very well give the legislation the go-ahead later today.

Industry leaders are optimistic about the bill’s chances at every turn. For their views on the legislation, turn to GlobeSt.com’s WhitePaper.

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