As public awareness grows regarding the legal issues surrounding asbestos, there are increasing concerns over asbestos claims on the rise. Asbestos was finally banned in 1999 after the health risks regarding asbestos were proved. However, it was used in a number of domestic, commercial and industrial applications prior to that time and thousands of people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in the years since that time.
Insurance company estimates of the numbers of claims likely to be made in the future, up to the year 2050, are going to more than double previous estimates. While previous estimates put the bill at around 4.7 billion pounds for the period between 2004-2050, the new estimate, for the period between 2009 and 2050 sees it to be much higher – 11 billion pounds.
The reason why the estimates have been so drastically raised is primarily because the numbers of mesothelioma sufferers making claims has risen from around one third of sufferers in 2004 to two-thirds in 2009. It is likely that with greater public awareness of the dangers of asbestos, there will continue to be a decline in the number of newly diagnosed cases of asbestos related diseases. This has been taken into consideration in the estimates as well.
The insurance industry can benefit from knowing in advance what future claims are likely to be and also benefit by continuing to contribute to public awareness of the dangers of asbestos. While it was banned in 1999, it was not practical or advisable to have it removed from where it already existed. Asbestos is still very commonly found throughout the U. K., and elsewhere in the developed world.
While asbestos is benign when left intact, problems continue to crop up when it is disturbed. There are very strict laws and regulations regarding working around asbestos and removing it from premises. There are some types of asbestos products that are so hazardous, only licensedasbestos contractorsare allowed by law to work with them.
As a general rule, the duration of time that one works with asbestos is the main consideration when determining whether or not a licensed contractor must be hired to work with it. If you are going to drill a hole in a wall in order to hang a picture, for example, that is an allowable use. Even then, a face mask that is certified to be able to filter out asbestos fibres is advised.
Tradesmen are in the greatest danger of being exposed to asbestos. If you work in any building trade, it is your right to know in advance if there is any asbestos on the premises where you will be working. If there is, find out if you are going to be asked to work with it in any way. It cannot be overstated how deadly this substance is, so don’t take any chances.
Asbestos claims on the rise is a worry for the insurance industry and it is tragic that so many previously healthy people have been stricken with asbestos related diseases. Nothing can be done about the past other than to learn from it. The best cure now is prevention.