Realtors and mortgage bankers are applauding House passage of a bill that would expand and extend for an additional 15 years the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

The Act, which allows the federal government to guarantee up to $100 billion in insurance coverage through private insurers in the event of a major terrorist attack, is set to expire this year and the Bush administration has threatened to veto attempts to extend it.

In a 312 to 110 vote, the House passed HR 2761, which in addition to extending the Act would require insurers to offer life as well as property insurance against terrorist attacks, including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The bill would also lower the threshold for triggering the program from $100 million in losses to $50 million, and reduce the deductible for terrorist attacks over $1 billion.

The bill requires continued study of the development of a private market for terrorism risk insurance.

The National Association of Realtors said the bill would “strengthen the economic security of the commercial real estate market by reducing the uncertainty of terrorism coverage availability, and by covering most conceivable forms of terrorist activity.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association also supports the legislation, calling it “a crucial step toward making long-term terrorism insurance available and affordable.”

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