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The Economic Effects of Federal Participation in Terrorism Risk

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The catastrophic terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 caused unprecedented insured losses. While the insurance industry covered these losses, it also took swift steps to limit its exposure to such risks in the future. In response to ensuing market dislocations, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) was passed in 2002. The law temporarily requires primary insurers to offer terrorism coverage and creates a federal “backstop” to limit losses on such coverage. In anticipation of the program's scheduled expiration, and to inform debate on its possible extension, this article analyzes market developments in the wake of 9/11 and the passage of TRIA. We find that to date, TRIA has facilitated private sector participation in the market for terrorism insurance by lending structure to an otherwise ill-defined risk. While alternative terrorism risk bearing mechanisms are evolving, none appear ready to replace federal involvement presently. We conclude that a continuation of TRIA for a period of time would enhance U.S. economic performance in the near term. Failing to extend TRIA in the near term would result in decreased economic performance absent another major terrorist attack and greater instability, job loss, and bankruptcy in the event of another attack.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6296.2005.00056.x

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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