Asbestos Bill To Senate Floor In March

|

By Steven Brostoff, Washington Editor

|

NU Online News Service, Nov.24, 12:14 p.m. EST,Washington?The full Senate will take up asbestoslitigation reform by the end of March, 2004, Senate Majority LeaderBill Frist, R-Tenn., said.

|

Speaking on the floor of the Senate about the complexnegotiations over S. 1125, Sen. Frist said he will give thestakeholders more time to negotiate a compromise, but there will bea limit to the discussions.[@@]

|

He said he would commence floor action on an asbestos bill bythe end of March.

|

Gary Karr, a representative of the Washington-based AmericanInsurance Association, praised Sen. Frist's statement, saying itshows a high level of interest among the Senate leadership on bothsides of the aisle on resolving the asbestos issue.

|

He particularly praised Sen. Frist for setting a deadline onbringing the legislation to the floor of the Senate. Setting adeadline, Mr. Karr said, seems to be the best way to get thingsdone with this legislation.

|

Marliss Browder, federal affairs representative with theIndianapolis-based National Association of Mutual InsuranceCompanies, commended the Senate leadership, both Republican andDemocratic, for their efforts on asbestos reform. Ms. Browder addedthat she looks forward to working with them on a bill that will beacceptable to all parties.

|

In his statement, Sen. Frist said that any final legislationmust honor certain core principles. First, he said, the bill mustestablish a trust fund that adequately compensates all victimswhile providing financial certainty and finality to the businesscommunity.

|

Second, he said, the bill must establish consistent andequitable claims values, which is the amount that will be paid fordifferent asbestos-related diseases.

|

Third, Sen. Frist said, the fund must be a non-adversarialprogram that ensures prompt payment while minimizing transactionfees.

|

Fourth, he said, the medical criteria for diagnosingasbestos-related illnesses currently contained in S. 1125 must bepreserved.

|

Finally, Sen. Frist said, the legislation must assure that ifthe fund runs out of money before all claims are paid, theremaining claims can be pursued in court, subject to certain tortreforms.

|

He urged all his colleagues to be reasonable and not insist on a"perfect solution."

|

"We must not let this historic opportunity to enact fair andmeaningful reform pass in order to pursue a perfect solution thatis unachievable," Sen. Frist said.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader

  • All PropertyCasualty360.com news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including BenefitsPRO.com and ThinkAdvisor.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.