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Best of Liz Benston

Gaming Guru

Liz Benston

Terrorism Insurance OK'd for Las Vegas Convention Center

15 September 2004

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Tuesday authorized the purchase of the first-ever comprehensive policy for terrorism insurance coverage should the convention center be damaged by a terrorist attack.

The agency's board of directors unanimously approved spending an annual insurance premium of $230,000 for terrorism coverage worth $200 million in reconstruction costs. The entire convention center would cost about $350 million to rebuild, officials say.

Lexington Insurance, a subsidiary of insurance giant AIG, will provide the first $100 million of coverage and ACE Insurance will provide the second $100 million.

The coverage is better than typical policies because it applies to "non-certified" terrorist attacks as well as attacks that are certified by the federal government, LVCVA attorney Luke Puschnig told board members Tuesday.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, designed to help insurance companies provide coverage for acts of terrorism, defines terrorist acts as those that are certified by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State and U.S. Attorney General and are aimed at harming people or property. Acts must be committed by an individual or group "acting on behalf of any foreign person or foreign interest, as part of an effort to coerce the civilian population of the United States or to influence the policy or affect the conduct of the United States Government by coercion."

The LVCVA previously had terrorism coverage as part of its property insurance but it was "minimal" and only covered up to $25 million in damages, Puschnig said. Insurance carriers have typically excluded terrorism coverage from property insurance policies beyond limited damage recovery, he said.

Separately, the LVCVA board also approved annual chambers of commerce grants totaling $180,000 million to cities across the county. Las Vegas received $100,000, North Las Vegas and Henderson each received $25,000 and Boulder City and Mesquite each received $15,000. The cities' chambers of commerce use the funds for promoting special events, responding to visitor requests, producing tourism guides and maintaining Web sites, among other things.

The board also approved separate annual grants for city and county recreation departments. Clark County received $376,942, the city of Las Vegas received $315,196, the city of North Las Vegas received $98,798, the city of Henderson received $134,550, Boulder City received $38,938 and the city of Mesquite received $35,576. Each entity receives a base amount of $30,000 each year plus an additional payment based on the entity's percentage of the Clark County population.

A number of promotional activities also got the green light from the board Tuesday including $203,700 for the creation of a Las Vegas-theme float for the 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. The cost is considered a one-time event because the parade will coincide with the city's centennial celebration, LVCVA officials said. The parade draws some 28 million television viewers, they said.