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WASHINGTON, DC-The commercial real estate and insurance industries breathed a sigh of relief–at least for the moment–with the 312-to-110 vote in the US House of Representatives to pass the Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act of 2007. The House bill not only extends the stop gap measure passed close to two years ago when the original TRIA had been scheduled to sunset but it also adds group life insurance to TRIA, broadens the federal backstop to include domestic terrorism as well as support for damages caused by nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attacks. The damage levels triggering TRIA were also adjusted.To be sure it is impossible to tell if this version will survive if a Senate version is markedly different, or for that matter, a presidential veto, which President George Bush has threatened arguing that the private markets should be poised to take over providing terrorism insurance by this point. That was an oft-cited position held by many Republicans two years ago, who warned then that there wouldn’t be a third extension of TRIA passed.Of course, the leadership in Congress has changed. Still, though, there is also longstanding disagreement among the industries poised to benefit the most from an extension of TRIA; disagreement that was not resolved by this bill. Ben McKay, SVP, federal government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, for instance, would like to see revisions in a Senate bill that would not require insurers to make available coverage against attacks involving weapons of mass destruction.”Such a mandate would increase the cost of coverage for consumers and may actually lead to more businesses going without insurance against terrorist attacks–including those using ‘conventional’ weapons,” he says. “This provision undermines the intent of the program, reduces consumer choice, and would leave more Americans and our economy unnecessarily exposed to the financial devastation from a terrorist attack.”Other industry representatives, conversely, see TRIA as a bulwark against economic devastation. “With TRIA set to expire on Dec. 31–and businesses increasingly uncertain about their future ability to protect themselves from catastrophic losses attributable to acts of terrorism–there is no time no waste,” says. Real Estate Roundtable president and CEO Jeffrey D. DeBoer. “The Senate must now follow suit and vote promptly to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The clock is ticking.”

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