Asbestos Insurance Costs Climbing

A recent study by Sebago Associates commissioned by the American Insurance Association, notes that outlays for asbestos claims total $54 billion, and most analysts believe that the number of claimants and total payouts will continue to rise during the next several years.

According to an article in the Ann Arbor Business Review, Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, an actuarial consulting firm, projects that 1.1 million claims will eventually be filed, with the total cost to defendants and insurers amounting to $200 billion. Milliman USA, another actuarial consulting firm, also forecasts about 1.1 million total cumulative claims, but it projects higher total costs of $275 billion.
The article notes that 1.3 million individuals who work in the construction industry are still exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. This includes drywall hangers, pipe fitters, carpenters and those in building demolition and remodeling.

“We still have homes, offices, hospitals with asbestos; we have underground infrastructure, sewers and tunnels that are built with asbestos,” said Linda Reinstein, executive director and co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, and keynote speaker at the ADAO Asbestos Awareness conference in Detroit in late March.

Local Ann Arbor physician, Dr. George Riegel, quit practicing medicine several years ago after touting the dangers of asbestos and opened Asbestos Removal Technology in Southfield, Mich. He also started another business, Healthy Homes Inc., an environmental inspection and remediation business.

“It’s in thousands, if not millions, of homes; it’s in most homes built before 1978, in asbestos floor tiles, steam pipe insulation, the old gravity furnace octopus ducts and in vermiculite in attic insulation,” said Riegel, who also participated in the conference, which was co-sponsored by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and ADAO.

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