The FSA has begun an urgent consultation on the financial services compensation scheme (FSCS) to deal with mesothelioma claims.

The proposed changes aim to speed up payments from the FSCS to mesothelioma victims where their insurer has gone out of business.

The consultation, which is for only four weeks, seeks to address the situation in which an insurer seeks to obtain a contribution from another company for compensation paid to mesothelioma victims.

Under the current law a mesothelioma victim wrongfully exposed to asbestos can claim full compensation from a single liable company or its insurer. The company can then claim contributions from other liable companies.

At present the FSCS cannot contribute to all cases that have been settled in full by a third party. This, the FSA said, could cause prejudice and slow down claims settlements.

The proposed changes would allow a person or company liable to another party for asbestos exposure to recover from the FSCS. This would only apply in circumstances where the mesothelioma victim could otherwise claim from the FSCS.

Justin Jacobs, ABI head of motor and liability, welcomed the move, saying it was what the ABI had called for.

The consultation closes on 6 October 2006.