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Senate Tria bill set for 3 June committee hearing

The US Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs will meet for a crucial hearing on 3 June to discuss a bill that would reauthorise the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (Tria).

The bill under consideration was introduced into the Senate in April by Senator Charles Schumer and would extend Tria for a further seven years.

Tria, a government reinsurance programme that requires insurers to make terrorism cover available while also providing them with a $100bn backstop, is set to expire on 31 December 2014.

On 3 June, the proposed bill will enter a so-called "markup" session to enable members to debate and vote on amendments to the original bill.

As markups generally only conclude when the committee agrees by majority vote to report the bill to the chamber, they are rarely held unless the proposal is expected to receive majority support.

As it currently stands, the proposed bill would alter the existing programme structure by increasing the amount insurers must contribute to claims above $27.5bn from 15 to 20 percent.

It would also raise the mandatory recoupment threshold by $2bn per annum over five years, taking it from $27.5bn to $37.5bn.

The decision to advance the bill follows a recent update on a rival draft bill circulated by Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, which would renew Tria for only three years.

Entitled the Terrorism Risk Modernisation (Trim) Act, the bill would lower the amount the federal government pays out for non-nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological events, and reduce the backstop to $75bn.

"It's our goal, hopefully sometime in June, to put out a bipartisan bill on Tria," Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer, sponsor of Trim, commented at the start of a 20 May hearing for the House subcommittee on housing and insurance.

"We want to move it out of this committee and hopefully put it in the hands of leadership and let them determine when we might pass the bill on the House floor," Neugebauer said.

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