Revised projections take into account growing number of mesothelioma suffers who typically make a claim

Increased claims from mesothelioma sufferers and other victims of asbestos could cost the UK insurance industry £11bn by 2050, according to the latest figures.

These more than double previous estimates because of a huge rise in the number of victims who subsequently make claims.

The prediction, from The Actuarial Profession’s UK asbestos working party, does not include any potential liability from pleural plaques. These symptomless growths on the lungs are currently uncompensatable in the UK, but MPs are fighting to change this. Campaigners in Scotland have already succeeded.

The working party’s chairman, Brian Gravelsons, said: “Insurers will of course have already noticed the increased number of claims from mesothelioma sufferers.

“There is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the future cost of asbestos claims, as the number of people who will be diagnosed with mesothelioma many years into the future cannot be accurately predicted. The working party will continue to monitor the emerging experience and update its projections accordingly.”

Ninety per cent of the projected costs relate to mesothelioma, with over £9bn of the projected claims expected by between 2009 and 2040.

Also affecting the projections are the proportion of mesothelioma sufferers who have made a claim for compensation, which has increased from around one-third in 2004 to nearly two-thirds today.

Summary of changes in the UK insurance market (estimate)

Impact on UK?insurance market cost

2004 estimate (2009-2040) £4.7bn

Change due to projection of population mesothelioma deaths £0.6bn

Change due to proportion of deaths that result in a claim £3.7bn

Change due to average cost £0.7bn

Change due to inflation (£0.6bn)

Change due to extension of projection period to 2050 £1.7bn

Change due to non-mesothelioma claim types £0.5bn

2009 estimate (2009-2050) £11.3bn

Source: The Actuarial Profession