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WASHINGTON -In response to the recent passage of terror insurance legislation in both the House and Senate, the Consumer Federation of America has expressed concern that taxpayers will be liable for billions of dollars in losses. “More than a year after Sept. 11, a private market for terror insurance is developing and this kind of broad taxpayer assistance is no longer necessary,” said Travis Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America. “Congress is roaring up to the scene of the accident with a lot of money while the patient has gotten up and limped away.” The legislation creates a three-year, $100-billion program, under which the government will cover 90% of terrorism-related losses after insurance companies pay an initial amount. Insurers will be responsible for the remaining 10%. The insurance industry will be required to repay the government – through a surcharge on commercial policyholders – for payments up to $10 billion in the first year, $12.5 billion in the second year and $15 billion in the third year. CFA cited several problems with terror insurance legislation including: 1. Insurance companies would receive a taxpayer-financed hand out. In most cases, very little or no federal assistance would be repaid. 2. Taxpayer assistance would kick in at ridiculously low levels for companies with low premiums. In some cases, taxpayers will be liable almost from the first dollar of losses. 3. Insurance companies can afford to pay far more since the property/casualty insurance business is booming. 4. A three-year program will obstruct development of the private market for terrorism insurance. 5. Insurers will have less of an incentive than presently to require owners of buildings and other businesses that they insure to improve security measures. According to CFA Director of Insurance J. Robert Hunter, by supplying free reinsurance to a wealthy industry, the legislation would make America less safe. Insurance industry officials say the insurance measure is not a bailout because government funds will go to policyholders and that without government assistance, they cannot insure against the inestimable liability from future attacks.

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