Preview: National Asbestos Litigation Conference

Today's Cases Fewer But More Severe

Even though numbers are often thrown around, accurate asbestos-related claim statistics are not always easy to obtain. One solution for curious minds has been to attend the annual National Asbestos Litigation Conference that takes place each fall, where discussion revolves around settlement strategies and types of exposure.

Additionally, New Jersey-based PACE Claims Services, conference sponsor, has carefully researched trends associated with asbestos-related claims and taken a look at where things may be headed. Within the last 5 years, PACE notes that the filing of asbestos-related claims has been approaching a plateau. Prior to that, it was all about the volume of claims, because more claims meant more money.

“There were huge increases in filings from screenings and other efforts that would identify a large number of people,” explained PACE Managing Director James Tanella.“Screenings would be set up at shipyards and other locations where workers may have had exposure.”

The numbers that do exist prove it. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the first asbestos-related lawsuit was filed in Texas in 1966. Through the end of the 1970s, about 950 cases were filed. Then, from 1980 to 1984, approximately 10,000 cases were filed, and some 37,000 cases popped up between 1985 and 1989. The numbers began to drop in the 1990s, picking up slightly at the end of the decade and essentially leveling off.

Now, claims involving mesothelioma have become the core of litigation related to asbestos exposure. The volume of claims is smaller, but the severity has increased. Though PACE says it has the precise numbers, they are kept behind closed doors as research continues.

The Time Frame

Because so much money can be involved in just one case, it is sometimes a better decision for a particular company to choose to settle rather than let the courts decide. This push/pull decision, Tanella explained, is more of a “cash flow game.” Because so many companies have gone bankrupt as a result of these lawsuits, it is a tricky situation for those that are still involved.

Regardless, if a lawyer approaches a company with the statement, “Your product was at a job site where my client worked, and my client is now sick as a result,” then the defendant will have some explaining to do.

Many of the defendants are now spending much more money on these cases than ever before. Although each situation is unique, Tanella explained that the culprits cannot afford to ignore these issues.

The Bad Seeds

Unfortunately, fraudsters attempt to take advantage of the system just as they do with countless other types of claims. Tanella said that any given individual may have worked for a variety of employers throughout his or her lifetime and could claim to have come in contact with various products that have made him or her sick over time. However, investigations reveal that these claims may be far from the truth.

Tanella said it is it is not unheard of for defendants to hire private investigators who can verify if a client has filed asbestos-related claims elsewhere. Additionally, he explained that PACE has created an Asbestos Litigation Database (ALD), which contains nearly every asbestos and bodily injury complaint filed in the U.S., with detailed notes regarding the lawsuit, the entities named as defendants, the claimant’s biographical information, and specifics surrounding the injury and exposure.

This type of information is crucial in detecting fraud, especially in such serious matters. Though we may never know exactly how many people have suffered from asbestos exposure, we can hope that the number eventually drops to zero.

For more information about the 14th Annual National Asbestos Litigation Conference, visit The event takes place Oct. 3-4 at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla.

Page 1 of 2

Resource Center

View All »

Get $100 in leads with $0 down!

NetQuote's detailed, real-time leads have boosted sales for thousands of successful local agents across the...

D&O Policy Definitions: Don't Overlook These Critical Terms

Unlike other forms of insurance where standard policy language prevails, with D&O policies, even seemingly...

Environmental Risk: Lessons Learned from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate...

Whether it’s a chocolate factory or an industrial wastewater treatment facility, cleanup and impacts to...

More Data, Earlier: The Value of Incorporating Data and Analytics...

Incorporating more data earlier in claims lifecycles can help you reduce severity payments by 25%*...

How Many Of Your Clients Are At Risk Of Flood?

Every home is vulnerable to flooding. Learn four compelling reasons why discussing flood insurance with...

Gauging your Business Intelligence Analytics Capabilities and the Impact of...

Big Data, Data Lakes and Data Swamps, How to gauge your company's Big Data readiness....

Extending Contact Center Capabilities Across the Insurance Enterprise

Today advancements in technology are making a big impact on business and society. To yield...

Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements

In this two-part series, NBIS Risk Management team will break down the requirements to assist...

Why Cyber Liability is Essential for Human Service Organizations

For traditional low-tech operations, information is often compromised in ways that don't involve technology. Access...

A Solution for Large Commercial Habitational Accounts

6 Reasons to place your LARGE Habitational Accounts with Dauntless.

Claims Connection eNewsletter

Breaking news on disasters, fraud, legal trends, technology, and CE initiatives for the P&C claim professional – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Claims-Handling Guidelines

Claims Magazine is providing the following free guidelines and regulations in order to help adjusting professionals stay abreast of each state’s unique property and casualty claim-handling requirements.

View our State Guidelines »

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.