Compensations myths: number five

We recently published a news article on The Compensation Myth, a report released by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in conjunction with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). The report debunked common myths about compensation claims and raised interesting ideas on how the compensation bill can be reduced.

Over the coming weeks we’re taking a closer look at each of the myths. Recently we looked at the suggestion that compensation is paid for any old accident; this week we’re looking at:

Myth 5: It’s unfair that insurance companies should have to pay out for diseases such as asbestos-related diseases when they could not have known the risks

Is it that insurance companies are being forced to foot the bill for a disease they had no idea could occur? Well, it’s likely that insurance companies did know, because the insurance market is all about assessing risk.

While it may seem that insurance companies pull numbers out of thin air they actually price premiums on the level of risk involved. That’s why an 18 year old first time driver pays more than a 40 year old driver who has 20 years no claims history. It’s not to say both drivers won’t be at risk of having an accident, it’s just that the 18 year old has no history to accurately assess their level of risk. Also, a group of similar aged drivers will have demonstrated their accident rate, as a guide to the insurer.   

When it comes to asbestos related diseases, such as mesothelioma, there have been health and safety guidelines on its use since 1931 and its health risks have been common knowledge throughout the industry since the 1940’s. This didn’t stop employers using it and even today many fail to dispose of it in the correct manner. This has led to almost 2,000 people a year dying from asbestos related diseases.

Many of these deaths could have been avoided had companies protected their workforce from the foreseeable dangers of asbestos. Insurance companies, well aware of the risks of exposure, insured these companies and took their premiums, fully aware of the risks. It’s only right they should meet their obligations, regardless of the amount of time that’s lapsed.

Mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases can take years to develop but once they do the effects can be life changing. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of asbestos exposure, please seek urgent medical advice.

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