Insurance giants unite to lobby for federal support

Washington: The insurance industry has culled together its public

affairs and lobbying resources in an unprecedented effort to convince

the federal government to help the industry cover possible damage from

future terrorist attacks.



Led by the American Insurance Association (AIA), individual companies

from all corners of the industry, their respective PR firms, and other

industry associations have come together to communicate one message:

Without government intervention, much of corporate America will wake up

uninsured on January 1, 2002.



The problem stems from the fact that re-insurers - those who insure the

insurance companies - have refused to underwrite policies that cover

terrorist acts as of January 1. The insurance companies themselves -

which are much more highly regulated than the re-insurers - are willing

to write such policies, but they cannot do so without someone to help

spread the risk.



Hence insurers are turning to Congress to step in and fill that role -

and quickly, as many commercial policies expire December 31.



"We've just been trying to educate those members of Congress and the

media who will pay attention," said Julie Rochman, SVP of public affairs

for the AIA. "We're really just trying to provide facts and information

and make sure the coverage is accurate. The first few weeks were spent

just trying to get people to stop calling it a 'bailout.'"



That term is inappropriate, Rochman said, because all claims from the

September 11 terrorist attacks are being honored.



Ed Morgan, group SVP and communications officer for the Hartford

Insurance company, said all his company's PR resources - including its

agency of record, Burson-Marsteller - are devoted to this campaign.

Other industry leaders, including CNA, Allstate, and ACE, are saying the

same.



"Our primary message is that this industry has finite resources, and

terrorism is something you can't predict, so the reinsurance markets

can't protect it," said Morgan. "This is very different from hurricanes.

This is intentional, and way behind the scope of anything we deal with."



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