Senator Charles Grassley says the country’s insurance companies need a bit more federal help to recover from the catastrophic losses on September 11th. Just after the terror attacks six years ago Congress enacted a temporary federal terrorism risk insurance program.
"After 9/11, it was very, very important to have it to bring confidence to the insurance industry because who knew when there would be another terrorist attack," Grassley says, "and of course the insurance industry was hit very strongly at that particular time."
Critics say the private market should handle terrorism risk insurance and have called for an end to what some see as a subsidy to the insurance industry. Grassley favors another "short-term" three to five year extension, but not the 15 year extension that’s being touted by some members of the U.S. House.
"I’m willing to go for a shorter term and get it reviewed regularly," Grassley says. President Bush has vowed to veto that longer, 15-year extension of federal terrorism insurance, as he says that essentially makes the program permanent. Insurance industry officials say the private sector cannot afford to offer terrorism insurance. Iowa is home to more insurance companies than all other states but Connecticut.