MP calls out “Christmas gift for fat cat asbestos insurers”

17th December 2014

The recent announcement that insurers’ contributions to a fund helping asbestos cancer sufferers will be reduced has been called “a Christmas gift for fat cat asbestos insurers” by Simon Danczuk MP.

A statement issued last week by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) regarding the government’s treatment of people suffering from mesothelioma, a terminal asbestos-induced cancer, failed to increase payments to help them. The move was branded “a missed opportunity” by the UK Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum.

“Time and time again it’s the finance industry that seems to benefit from these deals and the ordinary man on the street that suffers. This is wrong and it has to stop,” Mr Danczuk said.

A scheme introduced earlier this year allows sufferers of mesothelioma to claim compensation if they can prove they were negligently exposed to asbestos at work but cannot trace a relevant employer or insurer. However, the supposedly set-in-stone levy of three per cent of gross working premiums – which was agreed by insurers, government and MPs – has now been reduced to just 2.2 per cent.

Insurers are now expected to save £11.6 million thanks to the reduction, rochdaleonline.co.uk reports.

The Asbestos Victims’ Support Group Forum has already brought action against the government this year, after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that 25 per cent of damages awarded to mesothelioma sufferers would be used to pay legal insurance premiums and costs. The Forum won its case, with the High Court branding the government’s plans “unlawful”, bbc.co.uk notes.