Insurance firms paying off asbestos victims must be stopped, says MSP

14th September 2015

Scheming insurance firms are “buying off” people suffering from early signs of asbestos-related illnesses in a bid to avoid large compensation claims in the future, a Glasgow MSP has warned.

Bob Doris, Glasgow SNP MSP, told campaigners at an event that some victims are offered £5,000 when suffering pleural plaques – a condition that typically arises 20 to 30 years after asbestos exposure – with the option of a second claim for later damage, or £10,000 with a no return clause.

While they are non-cancerous, pleural plaques often suggest that more serious asbestos-related conditions are likely, eveningtimes.co.uk notes.

Mr Doris said: “Put bluntly, my constituents are being offered relatively small amounts of cash from insurance companies to ‘buy off’ the risk of future compensation claims, should sufferers develop conditions such as mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.

“Not only does the sufferer lose out financially should the more serious and often terminal condition be identified, so do their loved ones who otherwise may be compromising their own right to compensation.”

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that 10,526 people in England and Wales have died from mesothelioma since 2010, with a staggering 2,352 of those deaths occurring in 2014 alone.

The number of asbestos-related deaths in the UK is predicted to decrease in future, as asbestos continues to be removed from buildings. Most asbestos exposure, according to Julian Peto’s study of sufferers outlined by s.telegraph.co.uk, is due to “normal occupation and weathering” of buildings.