Asbestos Lawsuits May Cost Insurers $85B: Report

It is expected that the ultimate insurance costs associated with asbestos lawsuits brought throughout the United States will be $11 billion higher than previously estimated, bringing the total anticipated amount that insurance companies will likely pay to cover verdicts, settlements and costs to at least $85 billion.

According to a report issued this month by A.M. Best, a ratings firm, the insurance industry has already paid out $51 million and has set aside another $23 billion for future costs. However, A.M. Best’s projections suggestion that this will leave them about $11 billion short.

The report attributes the revised projections to the success of the litigation over asbestos-related injuries, indicating that that juries are likely to keep handing plaintiffs sizeable victories for mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other asbestos exposure injuries for years to come.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.

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Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s.

When inhaled, asbestos fibers have been linked to the development of rare, and deadly, mesothelioma cancer, which is found in the lining of the chest and lungs. The disease has a very long latency period and is often not discovered until decades after exposure, leading to a limited life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Asbestos litigation is the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.


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