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Pennsylvania bill would limit life insurance payouts to terrorists

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A Pennsylvania lawmaker has proposed legislation designed to limit life insurance payouts when a policyholder dies while committing an act of terrorism, and direct funds to victims.

Rep. Aaron Bernstine, a Republican who represents the Western Pennsylvania counties of Beaver, Butler and Lawrence, introduced House Bill 1996, which would allow insurance companies to limit payouts to beneficiaries named on life insurance policies to only the amount of premium paid if the insured died while committing an act of terrorism.

“I don’t believe you deserve to keep your life insurance benefits if you intentionally steal the lives of innocent Americans,” Bernstine said. “We shouldn’t allow terrorism to be rewarded.”

Aaron Bernstine

Aaron Bernstine

Additionally, the proposal would direct a portion of the proceeds from the terrorist’s life insurance policy to the Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to crime victims and their families.

“A terrorist can take out a large life insurance policy during the planning process of their horrific crimes to benefit their heirs or their families, such was the case with the 2015 San Bernardino attack,” Bernstine said in a statement. “To me, it’s a no-brainer that victims and their families are the ones who should be getting that money.”

Bernstine noted that while he has been circulating his proposal for co-sponsorship, the incident involving the Capitol (Harrisburg, Pa.)Police on Dec. 22 in which Ahmed El-Mofty allegedly targeted and shot at police in at least three locations, motivated him to introduce the bill immediately.

Department of Homeland Security Acting Press Secretary Tyler Houlton issued a statement referring to the shooting as “a terror attack.”

“I am grateful for our exceptional Capitol Police and all of the men and women in uniform who quickly got that situation under control in Harrisburg,” Bernstine said. “While state government might not be able to stop these types of events from taking place, we can certainly make sure there are no financial incentives available for terrorism.”


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