LIFT Provisions Ensuring Fairness in Travel Passes
U.S. House as Part of TRIA
Bill ensuring that terrorists can't dictate Americans' travel plans passes as amendment to TRIA
December 7, 2005
(Washington, DC) -- The Life Insurance Fairness for Travelers Act ("LIFT," H.R. 3639), sponsored by Rep. Wasserman Schultz reached a major milestone today as key provisions of the legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives as an amendment to the Terrorism Risk Extension Act of 2005 ("TRIA," S. 467). The legislation passed the House by a margin of 371 to 49 with 12 members not voting.
The provisions from the Life Insurance Fairness for Travelers Act included in TRIA protect travelers from being denied life insurance, simply because they may plan international travel.
"The inclusion of this amendment in TRIA is a big step forward for fair travel," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "If we allow companies to deny life insurance for legal travel abroad, we give in to those who want to restrict our freedoms. Terrorists such as Al Qaeda will not dictate where and if we can travel."
Currently, life insurance companies can deny coverage to people based solely upon plans for legal travel to different international destinations. Some of these countries, such as Israel and the Republic of Kenya, have low intentional death rates which are even lower than that of the United States (Israel's intentional death rate is 11 per 100,000 compared to the United States' rate of 17 per 100,000).
"Companies should price for risk, however, we should not allow companies to simply deny Americans life insurance based solely upon possible travel," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "The unrestrained lawful travel of American citizens is in the national interest of the United States and our allies abroad."
The House version of the bill includes critical reforms that will help protect the American economy in the event of another terrorist attack. It includes important group life provisions, streamlines insurance filings - and gives consumers more options and protections. The amendment that passed today in the House requires that any insurer benefiting from TRIA, which also offers life insurance, must offer coverage that does not preclude future lawful foreign travel. The language allows for risk-based pricing by the insurer, but it stipulates that premiums for such coverage must not be excessive and must be based on a good faith actuarial analysis.
The next step for TRIA will be a conference committee where the House and Senate will reconcile differences between their respective legislation. Rep. Wasserman Schultz's LIFT amendment passed the House version of TRIA, however, it was not in the version of TRIA passed by the Senate.
The amendment adding LIFT to TRIA was the second piece of legislation passed by freshman Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In September, a Wasserman Schultz amendment providing for the civil confinement of violent sex predators passed the U.S. House as a part of the Children's Safety Act.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz's LIFT provision is included in the "Mandatory Availability" section of TRIA as passed by the House today. See below.
(c) MANDATORY AVAILABILITY.Each entity that meets the definition of an insurer under section 102
"(3) shall make available, in any life insurance policy, coverage that does not preclude future lawful foreign travel by the person insured, and shall not charge a premium for such coverage that is excessive and not based on a good faith actuarial analysis."