Insurer warns government over House of Lords decision.

Zurich has warned the UK government against overturning the House of Lords ruling that pleural plaques are not compensable.

The insurer said reversing the 2007 decision could engender a lack of confidence in the British legal system and lead to greater anxiety for those with the condition.

The warning came as the government completed its consultation on how to compensate those with pleural plaques, a benign condition caused by exposure to asbestos.

In Scotland, where the Lords ruling is not binding, the Holyrood administration is debating a bill that would make pleural plaques compensable.

Claimant lawyers have urged Westminster to follow the Scottish government’s lead.

Martin Bare, immediate past president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said it would be “inherently unfair” if victims in England and Wales did not get the same treatment as those in Scotland.

However insurers, including Zurich, are planning to take legal action to prevent the Scottish bill becoming law.

Insurers are keen to educate people about the effects of pleural plaques.

Steve Thomas, technical claims manager at Zurich, said: “Compensating individuals with this benign condition would send the wrong message to people that they have something more serious.

“The House of Lords accepted this medical opinion last year and unanimously agreed to stop compensating the disease.

“If GPs and government embark on a campaign to inform and reassure people that this condition is not going to lead to any illness,

it would significantly undermine any misconceptions and anxiety.”