One of the longest running debates after the attacks of September 11, 2001 was how to compensate the victims, from the people killed on the airplanes, in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon to the scores of first responders who rushed to the scene and died for their efforts.
Who received compensation, from where and for how much evoked painful memories for the family members of 9/11 victims, and even though a fairly remarkable compensation fund and effort was carried out by the government, we are set to repeat the same mistakes, possibly making them worst, when the inevitable next terror attack strikes. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, adopted as a direct result of 9/11, created a federal program to increase the availability and reduce the cost of terrorism insurance—problem is, the program expires next year and with the current mood of spending cuts, there’s almost no chance of its renewal. Since 9/11 there has been little effort to craft viable public-private partnerships between the government, insurance companies and businesses about how to cover the losses of the next attack. While we may be better prepared to prevent future attacks we may be less prepared to recover. As part of our ongoing series examining what we’ve learned in the decade since 9/11 we look at the unheralded issue of terrorism insurance and the aftermath of the next attack.
Lloyd Dixon, senior economist at the RAND Corporation & author of article “The link between national security & compensation for terrorism losses”