Are you covered? Featured

6:42am EDT May 30, 2003
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq may have you wondering if your business is insured against all possibilities -- including terrorism.

The good news is you may already be covered, and at no additional cost.

"If a business is covered by its property insurance, it should've been notified by now," says Bob Fenner, CEO of Thomas-Fenner-Woods Agency Inc.

The coverage is thanks to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA), which provides federal funding to insurance companies in case of an attack and more than $5 million in claims. It also includes mandates that insurance companies notify customers if they are covered, and if they are, how much of their premium pays for the coverage.

Companies were required to send out notices in February.

Under TRIA, each insurance company is liable to cover a certain percentage of its claims before federal assistance kicks in, says Fenner. For instance, if the company has $8 million in claims, it could be responsible for 10 percent and the federal government pays the remaining 90 percent. This assures businesses that their insurance companies will be financially able to meet their obligations in the case of a terrorist attack.

However, some business owners may be confused about the notice, so if there is any question about whether you are covered, call your agent.

"It's causing confusion," Fenner says. "Most of the time terrorism insurance is part of property insurance, but I've seen one case when it was part of a liquor liability policy premium."

If you are not covered, it's not necessarily coverage you need to get, although you can most likely add it at low cost.

"For a warehouse in Central Ohio, an insurance company is not going to charge anything -- or very little -- to add the coverage," Fenner says.

This is because most companies and buildings in Central Ohio are considered at low risk as a target of a terrorist attack. If your company is considered a higher risk and coverage is more expensive, Fenner recommends you do a risk-cost analysis to determine if you should add coverage.

"Some lending institutions are urging businesses housed in high-rise buildings to get the coverage," says Fenner. "But companies should look at their risk and financial requirements before deciding to get the coverage." How to reach: Thomas-Fenner-Woods Agency, (614) 481-4300 or www.tfwinsurance.com.