New scheme launched for mesothelioma sufferers

  • Posted

Posted 26/07/2012

After more than two years of negotiation between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Association of British Insurers, the Government has announced that insurers will pay £300 million over the next 10 years into a scheme to support newly diagnosed victims of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos dust. Provided the employer or organisation responsible for the asbestos exposure and their insurers can be traced, financial awards can be made, not only for the pain and suffering caused to an individual, but also for dependents and those who have provided care. 

However, an estimated 300 mesothelioma sufferers per year lose out on compensation because they are unable to trace a liable employer or insurer. The new scheme will fund 3,000 mesothelioma sufferers across the UK who are unable to claim compensation for this reason. Membership of the scheme will be compulsory for all employers’ liability insurers, but will only apply to those who are diagnosed with the disease from 25 July 2012 onwards.

Otto Thoresen, the ABI’s director general, said: “Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive cancer and the insurance industry, working with government, is determined to do all it can to ensure that sufferers get the support they need as soon as possible. This package of measures will deliver help to claimants much faster, including to those who would otherwise go uncompensated.”

The scheme is likely to be up and running and the first payments made by July 2014. There will be an online portal for all mesothelioma sufferers to register claims and for the parties involved to exchange information to settle claims more quickly. The Government will improve the way it provides information needed to support claims, including standardized medical diagnosis, employment schedules from HM Revenue and Customs and information on state benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions.Simon Davis, Head of Catastrophic Injury at Ashtons Legal Solicitors said: “Those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma after 25 July 2012 and their families will recover proper compensation whatever the insurance position of those who exposed them to asbestos dust. This has to be wholeheartedly welcomed and credit is due to the Government and the insurance industry for arriving at such a scheme. It is not often that claimants and those who represent them are able to give such praise. Hopefully a full register of firms with employers and public liability insurance will follow.”


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