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Terrorism Insurance

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, insurance premiums skyrocketed, especially for tenants of highly visible landmarks like sports arenas and skyscrapers. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA), Pub. L. No. 107–297, 116 Stat. 2322, established a temporary federal program providing for a shared public and private compensation for insured losses resulting from acts of terrorism. The act, which is valid only for three years, provides that insurers must make terrorism coverage available and must provide policy-holders with a clear and conspicuous disclosure of the premium charged for losses covered by the program. TRIA caps the exposure of insurance carriers to future acts of foreign terrorism, leaving the federal government to reimburse the insurance company for excess losses up to a maximum of $100 billion per year. Under TRIA, the TREASURY DEPARTMENT covers 90 percent of terrorism claims when an insurer's exposure exceeds 7 percent of its commercial premiums in 2003, 10 percent of premiums in 2004, and 15 percent in 2005.

TRIA defines an act of terrorism as any act that is certified by the U.S. secretary of the treasury, in concurrence with the U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE and U.S. attorney general. The act of terror must result in damage within the United States, or outside the United States in the case of an airplane or a U.S. mission. A terrorist act must be committed by an individual or individuals acting on behalf of any foreign person or foreign interest. An event must be a violent act or an act that is dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure. Nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks are not covered, and an event cannot be certified as an act of terrorism unless the total damages exceed $5 million.

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