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Daily Insurance Industry News
Thursday 20th of September 2018
March 1, 2010

New government measures on asbestos-related claims

by Gill Montia

Story link: New government measures on asbestos-related claims

The Ministry of Justice has announced new measures to support people who have been exposed to asbestos.

The move follows a government consultation on how best to respond to a Law Lords’ ruling which decided pleural plaques – an asbestos-related condition – are not compensatable.

Insurers have long argued that the plaques, which are areas of fibrosis present on the inner surface of the ribcage and the diaphragm, do not impact on health or lead to asbestos-related diseases.

In agreement, the Government will be providing fixed payments of £5,000 for individuals who had begun, but not resolved, a legal claim for compensation for pleural plaques at the time of the House of Lords’ ruling in October 2007.

It will also establish an Employers’ Liability Tracing Office to help people who develop an asbestos-related disease to trace the relevant insurer and obtain full compensation.

In addition, an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau will be set up to act as a fund of last resort for sufferers of asbestos-related disease who cannot trace the insurance records needed to gain compensation.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has welcomed the news.

Director of general insurance and health, Nick Starling, says: “Insurers remain determined to ensure that all those entitled to compensation receive it.”

He adds: “Insurers also support the Government’s aim to provide more research into asbestos-related diseases, and will be contributing £3 million to help them to fund that research.”

Returning to pleural plaques, insurance companies are still fighting their corner under Scottish law as the Damages (Asbestos Related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009 includes the condition as one for which compensation is payable.

Aviva, AXA, RSA and Zurich mounted a legal challenge in the form of a judicial review in April 2009, but in January, the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled in favour of the Scottish Parliament.

Grounds for an appeal are under consideration.

 

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