Hotel industry presses for passage of terrorism insurance

More than 80 hotel industry groups are urging Congress to pass a bill they say will protect their properties against the risk of a terrorist attack.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) urged lawmakers to pass a long-term continuation of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which would expire at the end of the year without congressional action.

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"Now that the long campaign season is over, the House of Representatives must immediately move to reauthorize TRIA as soon as they return to Washington,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the AH&LA.

“This program protects future development projects and provides security that hoteliers need to grow and create jobs,” she said. 

TRIA was enacted by after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to provide a federal backstop for the cost of insurance coverage in the event of a terrorist attack. The program was reauthorized in 2005 and 2007. 

In July, the Senate passed a seven-year reauthorization on a 93-4 vote but the House has yet to act. 

The hotel industry groups argue that Congress must complete a long-term extension before the end of the year arguing that anything less creates uncertainty on moving forward with larger projects. 

"A short-term extension undermines the ability of businesses, including hotels, to secure the long-term funding needed to build new properties or renovate existing ones, because if insurance is not available or affordable, developers cannot meet the mandate from lenders to carry it,” the hotel groups wrote in a letter sent on Thursday to House and Senate leaders.

"TRIA is vital to the hotel industry, the broader real estate sector, and the entire U.S. economy," the letter said.

The groups said they are confident that the House can pass a bill if some modifications are made to the committee-approved bill. 

“Unfortunately, the threat of terrorism remains real, and we must be prepared to keep the economy going in the event of another major attack,” the letter said.