Keith Rayment, an expert witness called by Lloyd’s to testify on its behalf, strongly disagreed with one of the key allegations made by Names in the ongoing Jaffray case in London – that Lloyd’s concealed material facts concerning the extent of asbestos claims in the 1980’s when it recruited l thousands of new Names.
Rayment, identified by Reuters as, “a member of the London insurance market’s Asbestos Working Party (AWP) from 1983 to 1990,” and “a principal in Keith Rayment Associates Ltd, a division of Aon Group Limited Claims Consultancy,” testified in writing that all the information relating to asbestos claims was publicly available, through the AWP’s efforts had been given to Lloyd’s syndicates and that ” there was nothing that was hidden from from the market.”
“In these circumstances, I cannot see how it would have been possible for Lloyd’s to try to conceal or cover up the extent of the problem. I certainly never heard any suggestion that this was happening, and to the best of my knowledge it did not happen,” he is quoted as saying.
Rayment didn’t downplay the scope of the asbestos problem, which still results in around 60,000 new claims a year, but said that the scale and the costs couldn’t be estimated with accuracy at the time.
“The plain truth is that, notwithstanding the wealth of experience and expertise that the Lloyd’s Market had, and the enormous resources and effort which the market threw into dealing with the problem, asbestos claims developed in a way which was not expected or anticipated by even the most experienced professionals in the Lloyd’s Market,” Reuters quoted Rayment as saying.
The trial is expected to continue for at least another two months with former Lloyd’s Chairman Murray Lawrence scheduled to testify next week.
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