Aviation War Risk Insurance: Background and Options for Congress [September 5, 2014] [open pdf - 328KB]
"Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, coverage for such attacks, and for 'war risks,' became difficult, if not impossible, for airlines to purchase from private insurers. In response, Congress passed expansions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation War Risk Insurance Program. The amended statute (49 U.S.C. §44301 et seq) requires that the FAA offer war risk insurance to U.S. airlines with the premiums based on the cost of such coverage prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The federal coverage under the program is relatively expansive, with coverage provided after the first dollar of losses and with a broad definition of what constitutes a war risk loss. The expansion of the program was limited in time, but has been extended several times over the years, often as part of appropriations legislation. The last extension was in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76), which extended the expanded program to September 30, 2014. [...] Several presidential budgets in recent years have called for changes to the program to reduce government exposure. On March 31, 2014, the Secretary of Transportation submitted a draft legislative proposal to Congress which would make the program permanent but at the same time reduce its scope. Specifically, the administration proposal would create permanent coverage for war risk losses from nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological events, while giving the Secretary the authority to offer full war risk coverage for 90 days after a widespread disruption in the insurance market, such as that following the 9/11 attacks. The administration draft proposal has not been incorporated into legislation introduced in the 113th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, R43715