Asbestos Costs Rise For Defendants, Insurers The last two quarters have seen significant activity in reserve levels for many insurers. Much of this activity has centered around asbestos, focusing on both the adequacy of the reserves and the level of disclosure concerning the various components of these liabilities.

In addition, rating agencies have expanded their focus beyond just the amount of the reserves and changes from prior levels. They are now also paying attention to how the reserves were estimated.

Much of the discussion taking place between insurers and rating agencies, analysts, and regulatory authorities recalls the mid-1990s, when pollution was considered to be a "black hole" and exposure-based reserving methodologies were first being applied to these large mass torts.

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