This year is starting out pretty intensely. The kerfuffle over TRIA expiring, the rush to get a new six-year extension, and the annual influx of 2014 studies and results are making this writer wonder what to post first.

How about a round-up of what’s new this week?

TRIA renews. Insurers everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. For two long weeks, terrorism risk was squarely in the hands of insurers, and any catastrophic losses could have brought the industry to its knees. Luckily, Congress and the White House acted quickly to address TRIA and reinstate the backstop, including the expected reduction in federal responsibility. The terms, as outlined by an Aon news release, are as follows:

  • Retroactivity to be determined by regulatory guidance
  • Increase in the program trigger of $20 million per year starting in 2016 up to $200m in 2020
  • Insurer co-participation, currently at 15 percent, will increase under the Program by 1 percent per year beginning in 2016 up to 20 percent in 2020
  • Changes in the Federal government’s mandatory recoupment provision
  • Starting in 2016, insurers will report terrorism premium, pricing, take-up rates, private reinsurance purchased, and location of exposures, annually

Charlie Hebdo attack and response. An irreverent news organization that’s struggling for its financial life was given more than enough reason to press on. The attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, which left twelve dead, has galvanized France and countries from around the globe in solidarity for freedom of speech. The attackers were killed, and the country has renewed interest in the right of expressing political opinion.

Global loss reports released. AIR Worldwide released its “2014 Global Exceedance Probability (EP) Curve” report, detailing key loss metrics from AIR’s global industry EP curve for AIR modeled regions and perils. Based on the report, AIR estimates that the 1 percent exceedance probability loss (or the 100-year return period loss) is approximately $231.5 billion and the long-term average annual loss from natural catastrophes and terrorism is $72.6 billion.

Taking care of employees beyond the office. According to Aon Hewitt’s survey of nearly 250 U.S. employers representing approximately six million employees, 93 percent intend to focus on the financial well-being of their employees in a way that extends beyond retirement. Nearly half (46 percent) are very likely and another 47 percent are somewhat likely to add new plan features, mobile apps or online tools to assist individuals with understanding financial concepts and financial planning.

Earthquakes: Disaster du jour. In a surprising twist, an outbreak of earthquakes in the US have shaken the lives of residents from Texas to Connecticut. Thirteen small quakes in Texas earlier this month as well as a small quake this week in Connecticut, have scientists and PC experts on alert.

What news is catching your attention this year?

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