As the window of opportunity closes for the passage of a law to create a government buffer for terrorism insurance, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) has created the "Terrorism Re" channel, accessible through its Web page (www.namic.org), to provide late-breaking information to its membership. The channel was launched on Monday, Dec. 16.
"Terrorism coverage is a huge issue for our members, and things were changing so rapidly on this from day to day--even hour to hour--that we felt we needed to have something out there where they could go to get the information instantaneously, on the issue that's happening right at that time," says Monte Ward, federal affairs director, NAMIC. "Congress is working very rapidly on the issue and it could break at any time, so we wanted to make sure that our members had something out there that they could grasp."
The channel is accessible by visiting the NAMIC site and clicking on one of two places indicating the channel and breaking news. Access requires completing a free signing-in process, but those who have done so can opt to receive e-mail alerts for breaking news.
NAMIC decided the channel was needed because "it became abundantly clear to us that we needed to have something out there that our members could really go to and get the latest and quickest information," Ward says. "By the time we got things out in our regular publication the information was already old, because it's changing on an hourly basis."
The urgent need for focused news stems from the fact that Congress plans to adjourn in the next few days. That means the effective date of the legislation would be Jan. 1, 2002, for the bill as it stands so far in the Senate. The current House version is even more rigorous in this respect, as it would go into effect immediately, Ward says.
In the Senate version, while participation in whatever form it takes will be mandatory for commercial lines insurers, personal lines carriers must choose to opt in. "They can elect to be in the program or not, depending on what they feel is at risk--whether or not they're able to get reinsurance or not, etc.," Ward says. "With January approaching so quickly--and with about 70 percent of reinsurance contracts expiring December 31--if companies want to participate in this program, 21 days is big deadline for them."
The other principal issue is simply to see how the program is going to work as the Senate and House versions move to some sort of compromise, Ward explains. Those who sign on for the Terrorism Re channel can find out what differences continue to exist between the two bills and can learn "what the latest information is, and whether the Senate is considering the bill on the floor right now," according to Ward.
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio