U.K. Government, Insurers To Assume Asbestos Liability

May 11, 2001

The British Government and the country’s insurance industry have agreed to set up a fund to pay the asbestos related claims of Scottish shipyard workers, whose claims payments were threatened when Chester Street Insurance Holdings went into liquidation in February.

The company had been spun off from Iron Trades Insurance, and had assumed the liabilities for thousands of shipyard workers who are suffering from a number of asbestos related diseases. Its collapse put into question the payment of compensation claims by as many as 5000 workers.

The payments have now been assured, and all workers suffering from asbestos related claims will receive 100 percent of their benefits if they worked at any of several shipyards after 1972. Workers who were employed before that date will receive 90 percent of their claims.

The payments are substantial, between £110,000 and £150,000 ($144,000 and $216,000), as the diseases are life threatening. Studies estimate that asbestos related illnesses have caused the death of over 1800 in Scotland so far.

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