Canadian Underwriter

Insurers unhappy with U.S. asbestos bill

July 15, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

Print this page Share

A U.S. Senate bill to reform asbestos litigation is meeting with displeasure from insurers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s S.1125, the “Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (“FAIR”) Act of 2003″, includes amendments that would create a asbestos liability trust fund and ban future lawsuits. It creates definitions of impairment 10 levels of asbestos-related diseases and a corresponding payment for each injury level.
While insurers wanted to see an end to the seemingly endless barrage of asbestos litigation, there is concern the bill will actually jack up their costs. If the fund is set at US$108 billion paid over 27 years as originally conceived, insurers would be on the hook for about US$45 billion of this. But the finally tally could be more like US$153 billion, and insurers could be forced to pay an additional US$1 billion per year for as long as the fund’s administrator determines, notes the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
The creation of an Asbestos Commission takes away the finality and certainty insurers had hoped to achieve, NAMIC says.
The “compromise” bill will now head to the full Senate. If it passes, in some version, through the Senate, it will then have to be reconciled with asbestos legislation passed by the House.

Print this page Share

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *