DWP’s newly announced scheme is a stripped back version of planned Employers’ Liability Bureau

lung disease asbestos asbestosis mesothelioma

Government plans to launch a £35m insurer-funded compensation scheme for mesothelioma victims will hike employers’ liability (EL) rates, according to Allianz divisional claims manager Martin Saunders.

The Mesothelioma Support Scheme (MSS) was announced last week by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister Lord Freud and the ABI. MSS is a stripped-back version of the planned Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau, which would have helped all EL claimants trace their insurers.

It will be live by July 2014, and will cost current EL insurers £25m to £35m a year.

The ABI said that mesothelioma sufferers diagnosed from 25 July this year will receive around £300m in the first 10 years.

A DWP spokesperson said the government wanted to make the scheme live quickly, to deal with the predicted peak of 2,038 mesothelioma claims due in 2016.

Saunders said that the MSS could see EL rates rise by 2%-3%, but it was worth it. “In terms of a piece of social engineering, will 2% on your insurance premium be a small price to pay for compensating a terrible illness?” he asked. “I’ve got sympathetic views which say that actually that’s not a very large price to pay.”

Zurich UK general insurance chief executive Stephen Lewis said: “It’s a positive step forward for both sufferers and the insurance industry.”

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers chief executive Deborah Evans praised the scheme, but said it could have been widened to include other asbestos-related diseases.