Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002(S.2600) on a vote of 84-14. NAREIT vice president of government relations Martin DePoy said Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott were instrumental in building support for the bill, which calls for a federally funded, short-term backstop for terrorism insurance.

"Senators came to recognize that as policies came up for renewal each and every month, a growing number of businesses were left unprotected or not fully protected against acts of terrorism," explained NAREIT President and CEO Steven Wechsler in a prepared statement.

Washington, D.C.-based NAREIT applauded the Senate’s actions, and encouraged Senators and Representatives to reconcile the differences between H.R. 3210 (the House of Representatives’ own backstop plan) and S.2600 and develop a unified approach to a short-term terror insurance plan.

Among other differences, S.2600 leaves property owners susceptible to punitive damages resulting from a terrorist attack. ICSC and President Bush himself have voiced opposition to placing limits on punitive damage coverage for property owners, and Bush must sign the final bill.

"Clearly, there is room for compromise," Wechsler said. "We strongly encourage the conferees to reach agreement without delay. The backstop’s implementation will help ensure that the nation’s economy stays strong and secure."