Insuring American Businesses Against Terrorism

In 2002, the U.S, federal government promised to pay up if companies lost business because of terrorist attacks. That promise will expire in 2005. Now, Bush says, it’s time that corporate America gets by on its own.

Corporate America and many of the blue states say the private sector cannot afford to take on that much risk and that the government’s help is necessary if businesses are to continue operating in cities like New York and Chicago.

On the other side, consumer advocates and red-state politicians like Tom Delay argue that businesses insure against all types of risk and insuring against terrorism should be no different. Plus, they argue, private insurers would force companies to take measures to protect themselves, which would be better for everyone.

Who will pay if terrorism hits the United States again?


Joe Weber, Chicago bureau chief for BusinessWeek;
Kent Smetters, professor of insurance and risk management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He helped design the current program wherein the government covers corporate losses in case of a terrorist attack.;
Yossi Sheffi, professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering systems at MIT, and director of the Center for Transportation and Logistics. His forthcoming book is “The Resilience Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage.”;
Chris Lewis, director of alternative risk management solutions at the Hartford Financial Services Group.

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