Last month's Boston bombings drew attention to the expiration of the federal backstop for terrorism insurance that occurs at the end of next year. While the end of 2014 may seem distant, companies will have to start thinking about their alternatives if Congress doesn't reauthorize the backstop when they start shopping for insurance policies that take effect at the start of next year.

"There is a misleading focus on the Dec. 31, 2014 date," said Robert Hartwig, president and economist of the Insurance Information Institute. "In September or so, companies begin to negotiate their coming-year insurance packages and insurers negotiate their reinsurance. They will all reflect the possibility that anything renewing in 2014 could face the possibility of TRIA no longer being in existence."

The federal backstop for terrorism insurance, known as the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA, was passed in 2002, renewed in 2005 and renewed again in 2007, when it was renamed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, or TRIPFA.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.