Insurance fund deal for mesothelioma victims
Insurers will pay £300m over the next 10 years into a scheme to support newly diagnosed victims of mesothelioma, the government confirmed today.
The money will go into a new fund for the 3,000 victims across the UK who are unable to claim compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer. It is estimated that 300 mesothelioma sufferers a year lose out on compensation because they are unable to trace a liable employer or insurer.
The deal follows more than two years of negotiations between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Association of British Insurers. Membership of the scheme will be compulsory for all employers’ liability insurers, but will apply only to sufferers diagnosed from today.
Otto Thoresen, the ABI’s director general, said: ‘Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive cancer and the insurance industry, working with government, is determined to do all it can to ensure that sufferers get the support they need as soon as possible. This package of measures will deliver help to claimants much faster, including to those who would otherwise go uncompensated.
‘We appreciate the urgency of this disease, and while implementation depends on legislation being put in place, we hope that the scheme will be up and running and the first payments made by July 2014.’
Since 2011, insurers have operated a voluntary Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO), which runs an electronic database of insurance policies. This will become compulsory for all EL insurers and include companies who have provided insurance in the past.
The DWP has also confirmed that there will be an online portal for all mesothelioma sufferers to register claims and for the parties involved to exchange information to settle claims more quickly.
Civil Procedure Rules will to support the use of a pre-action protocol to ensure evidence is disclosed early.
The government will improve the way it provides information needed to support claims, including standardized medical diagnosis, employment schedules from HM Revenue and Customs and information on state benefits from the DWP.