December 12, 2008
Highlights of GAO-09-39, a report to congressional committees
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA) is credited with stabilizing insurance markets after the September 11, 2001, attacks by requiring insurers to offer terrorism coverage to commercial property owners (property/casualty insurance), and specifying that the federal government is liable for a large share of related losses. While TRIA covers attacks involving conventional weapons, insurers may use exceptions that may exclude coverage for attacks with nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological (NBCR) weapons, which has raised concerns about the potential economic consequences of such attacks. TRIA’s 2007 reauthorization directed GAO to review (1) the extent to which insurers offer NBCR coverage, (2) factors that contribute to the willingness of insurers to provide NBCR coverage, and (3) policy options for expanding coverage for NBCR risks. To do this work, GAO reviewed studies and reports and interviewed more than 100 industry participants about the availability of NBCR coverage in the market.
GAO provided a draft of this report to the Department of the Treasury and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Treasury and NAIC said that they found the report informative and useful. NAIC did express what it said was a philosophical difference of opinion with GAO’s characterization of risk-based premiums for workers’ compensation insurers.
GAO (Government Accountability Office)