Study Reveals Rising Impact of Asbestos Claims on Insurers

May 8, 2001

According to study released by A.M. Best, property/casualty insurers may end up paying an additional $43.4 billion in asbestos claims over the next 20 years. Added to the $21.6 billion already paid for such claims, that would add up to a total payout of $65 billion.

According to a Reuters report, the findings, which were published in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal, also note that in insurers have set aside approximately $10.3 billion for the payment of additional asbestos-related claims, which would create a shortfall of approximately $33 billion.

During the past two years, insurance Payments for the claims are reported to have risen almost 15 percent annually, and are expected to increase by at least 20 percent annually during the next three to five years.

Absorbing about 80-90 percent of future losses will be companies which fall into the category of top 30 asbestos-exposed insurers. Such companies include Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s General Re unit; Nationwide Indemnity, a unit of Nationwide Financial Services Inc.; and Travelers Property and Casualty, a unit of Citigroup Inc.

Mid-size insurers are expected to be drawn into lawsuits involving peripheral defendants.

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