UK Newspaper Says that Wednesday Will Bring a UK Supreme Court Ruling Against Insurers on Coverage f
An article by Emily Dugan in the The Independent states that sources say that on Wednesday, there will be a ruling against UK insurers as to their obligations to pay for mesotheliomas. According to the article:
"Thousands of families whose relatives were killed by asbestos cancers will win a landmark compensation victory this week, sources have told The Independent on Sunday. The Supreme Court will rule on Wednesday that insurers who offered cover at the time victims inhaled the deadly fibres will have to pay compensation."
The test case, which has gone to the High Court and the Court of Appeal, has been running since 2006 and is one of the most protracted in legal history. Most of the cancer patients affected by its ruling have now died, and it is their relatives who have been waiting on the result.
Asbestos exposure is the biggest killer in the British workplace, causing more than 4,000 deaths every year – more than road traffic accidents. The fibres can be in a person’s lungs for half a century before causing cancer, so that deaths in the UK are not expected to peak until 2016.
MMI, Builders Accident, Excess and the Independent Insurance Company are the four firms that brought the litigation. The move was seen as so controversial that most insurers distanced themselves from the case, including the Association of British Insurers.
Insurance executives are paid extra for saving their company money in asbestos payments. Ian Willett, an executive at MMI, even admitted the successful outcome of this case was likely to affect his bonus.
Carolann Hepworth, a solicitor for John Pickering acting for one of the families in the test case, said: "Millions of pounds have been wasted chasing this case when families could have just been compensated. [Insurance companies] were meeting the claims before this cynical attempt to avoid them. They took huge premiums for many years."