INTERNATIONAL: Insurers act to protect against attacks

WASHINGTON: The insurance industry has pulled 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, companies, their respective

PR firms, and industry associations have come together to communicate

one message: without government intervention, much of corporate America

will wake up uninsured on 1 January 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 1 January.

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.

As a result, insurers are turning to Congress to step in and fill that

role - and quickly, as many commercial policies expire 31 December.

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

media who will pay attention,' said Julie Rochman, AIA senior

vice-president of public affairs .

'We're really just trying to provide facts and information and make sure

the coverage is accurate,' she adds.

That term is inappropriate, Rochman said, because all claims from the 11

September terrorist attacks are being honoured.

Hartford Insurance group SV-P and communications officer Ed Morgan 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 agree.

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

terrorism is something you can't predict, so the re-insurance markets

can't protect it,' said Morgan.

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