Joseph Bieniek, Regulatory Compliance Manager for Uniform's compliance division, says that thus far, the insurance commissioners of 48 states have approved the language of a terrorism exclusion for large losses, and 26 state insurance departments have already given formal notice that they will allow the exclusion to be written into new commercial policies and added to existing policies as they come up for renewal.
"Reinsurance companies, who stand behind the bulk of the policies written by insurers, won't touch terrorism coverage," Bieniek
said."A proposed government reinsurance program for terrorism failed in the last Congress.Without a backup, insurers feel they could be exposed to catastrophic, bankrupting losses."
"Unheard of" Cooperation
"The insurance industry and state authorities have moved quickly and with unheard of cooperation to craft the terrorism exclusion and approve its use," Bieniek
For example, the wording of the exclusion was worked out by ISO
(Insurance Services Office, Inc.), one of several private companies that normally charge for the use of their copyrighted forms and policy clauses.
consulted extensively with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) to develop the language of the exclusion, and promised the Association that they would not charge anyone for the use of the language, whether they were ISO members or not," Bieniek
While the involvement of the NAIC
in developing the exclusion's language is an indication that it will be accepted by the individual state departments of insurance, it may not be entirely smooth sailing for companies adopting the exclusion, Bieniek
"The states are now beginning to issue formal notices on the exclusion, and at least some are requiring companies adopting it to explain why they shouldn't lower their rates," he
Furthermore, three of the largest states, California, Florida and New York, have yet to endorse the exclusion either formally or informally.
"The political climate in New York has led them to decide not to allow the exclusion at this time," Bieniek
Exclusion Not Total
Policies with the exclusion will still cover losses due to terrorism as long the incident does not involve the release of nuclear, biological or chemical material, and as long as damage to all types of property doesn't exceed $25 million.
"That 25 million dollar level can be exceeded very quickly," Bieniek
said.In addition, policies with the exclusion will still be obliged to cover any property damage losses directly attributable to fire, even if the fire was caused by an incident of terrorism.
"In addition, it's important to remember that the exclusion only applies to commercial types of insurance," Bieniek