Government consultation closes on 1 October

MPs lobbying for insurers to compensate victims of pleural plaques have conceded defeat following the publication of a long awaited government consultation that could save the industry more than £29bn.

Labour MP Michael Clapham, told Insurance Times that MPs would continue to lobby ministers to overturn the House of Lords’ October ruling, which says victims of pleural plaques cannot claim compensation.

But he admitted: “Insurers will be quite happy all the way around.”

The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) consultation does not state a formal position on whether or not victims of pleural plaques, symptomless growths on the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos, should be compensated, but has been seen as sympathetic to insurers, pointing out the overturning the Law Lords’ ruling could cost the industry from £1bn to £28.6bn.

As one option, the paper proposes a no-fault payment scheme with a fixed payment of between £4,000 and £6,000 to pleural plaque sufferers. The cost of such a scheme is estimated to be between £780m to £4.8bn, with some contribution from insurers expected.

The insurance industry welcomed the consultation, which closes on 1 October.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the ABI, said: “The way forward must be through education to reassure and allay the concerns of people with pleural plaques. Legislation is not the answer.”

The consultation sets out a range of other options such as greater medical support.