Loss adjustor Garwyn responds to Government consultation paper.

Loss adjuster Garwyn has warned that insurers could face a bill of up to £28.6bn if the government elects to force insurers to compensate victims of pleural plaques.

The statement follows the publication on Wednesday of a Government consultation paper on pleural plaques, benign cysts that form on the inside of the lungs after exposure to asbestos.

The paper considers what the most appropriate way of supporting people diagnosed with the condition would be, and follows the Law Lords’ decision in October last year that pleural plaques were not actionable or compensatable damage.

Neil Hackett, manager, Disease and Illness Claims Unit, at Garwyn suggested that the taxpayer should meet the costs of any subsequent claims, and called for greater understanding of the pleural plaques issue.

According to a statement by Garwyn, the potential costs of overturning the decision range between £3.7bn and £28.6bn.

Hackett said: “If the Government chose this route, as it is they who are looking to change the rules, then the Government should be expected to meet the costs. However, I suspect that they will want to involve the insurance industry, which appears grossly unfair following the Law Lords judgment.”

“If this paper serves to improve understanding that that won’t be a bad thing, especially considering the recent decision by MSPs in Scotland, which seemed to be a case of politicians debating legislation without the full knowledge of the issues.”

Hackett also warned that compensating claimants with pleural plaques could lead to depleted funding for victims of mesothelioma.

He said that the consultation paper suggsted a no fault scheme should be set up to provide financial support for those who are are diagnosed with pleural plaques.

“If it was an open-ended scheme we could see scan vans starting their country-wide tours,” he concluded.