TRIA extension has vocal supporters, opponents

The House of Representatives and Senate recently passed competing versions of legislation that seeks to extend a law ensuring federal insurance protection in the event of a terrorist attack.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), first passed in 2002 after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, obligates the federal government to cover 85 percent of claims made after an attack where damages exceed $100 million. The law is set to expire at the end of the year, Emergency Management reports.

Lawmakers and industry representatives urged Congress to pass one of the two bills.

"Anybody that's operating in business, big or small, is at risk," Edward Walker, the CEO of Host Hotels & Resorts, said, according to Emergency Management. "The smaller ones are probably more at risk. If I lose one hotel, I'd still have 139 left. But a florist operating in that hotel might not have another location. It might matter more to them than to me."

Some critics of TRIA, however, said the program should not exist at all.

"This is a program that really just benefits a few fat cats in five cities, sort of a giveaway program," Robert Hunter, the director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, said, Emergency Management reports.