Conn. Court Rules for Travelers

January 30, 2001

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. and other insurers Monday, the Associated Press reports, concluding their policies did not obligate them to help pay thousands of asbestos-related claims against Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

The court rejected Metropolitan’s appeal of a lower court decision. New York City-based Metropolitan was insured through Travelers and the other companies named in the case.

The Associated Press report said about 200,000 claims had been filed accusing Metropolitan—which ran the employee health care plans for manufacturers and distributors of asbestos—of failing to adequately publicize the findings of its own research on the health risks of asbestos. About half of the claims were settled at an average of $2,500 per claim. If the outstanding claims were settled at similar values, the total would be $250 million.

The court rejected Metropolitan’s arguments that its alleged failure to warn the public linked the claims as a single occurrence, the Associated Press article said.

“A plain reading of the policies indicates that the occurrence in this case was the exposure of the claimants to asbestos, not Metropolitan’s alleged failure to warn,” the news service reported the court as writing. Claimants were exposed to asbestos in several different places, in varying amounts, over the course of many years, the court said.

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