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
"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."