Owners Brace for TRIA
The House approved amendments to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act on Friday, kicking it to the Senate, just weeks before Congress’ August recess. Even if it gets renewed (most expect it will), owners could take a big hit this summer.
The Rampart Group president Robert Morris tells us passage is likely by the existing law’s Dec. 31 deadline, but until that happens, insurers are free to raise rates and minimize coverage as a hedge against the uncertainty. That’s a hard hit for property owners whose insurance policies need to be renewed over the summer. (Most loans require building owners to have terrorism risk insurance, so renewing isn't optional.)
Of course, if Congress doesn’t renew TRIA, which guarantees a government backstop for terrorism risk insurance, by the end of the year, dealmaking will stop, just as it did after 9/11, Robert says. That’s when insurance companies, which had just paid out $30B, stopped covering acts of terrorism. And without such insurance, lenders wouldn’t shell out to help get acquisitions and development done. The House approved a five-year extension of the law (that’s not much time, but “that’s what they gave us,” Robert says) and kept the 20% deductible for insurance companies and $100B government payout. It also upped insurance companies’ coinsurance from 15% of loss to 20%, though government won’t start paying until damage hits $500M (up from $100M).