U.S. Insurers Still Funding Asbestos, Environmental Liabilities: A.M. Best

January 5, 2015

The current estimate of net asbestos losses for the U.S. property/casualty industry remains at $85 billion, with net environmental losses estimated at $42 billion, according to a new Best’s Special Report.

According to the Best’s report titled “U.S. Insurers Continue Funding of Asbestos & Environmental Liabilities, Despite Elusive End Game,” the industry had funded slightly more than 90 percent of its aggregate asbestos and environmental (A&E) exposures as of year-end 2013. This translated into an unfunded liability of $6.7 billion for asbestos and $3.9 billion for environmental.

The report also notes that incurred losses have increased in five of the past seven years.

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A.M. Best said it recognizes that ultimate exposures cannot be known with precision, especially regarding asbestos claims. Nevertheless, funding
efforts continue, as most recently seen in sizable additions to A&E reserves during 2014 by Travelers Group, Hartford Insurance Group and Liberty Mutual Insurance Cos. In aggregate, these three insurers added nearly $690 million to net A&E reserves in 2014, with most of the strengthening on the asbestos side, according to the report.

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