A recent financial report reveals that asbestos claims are on the rise — and that insurance companies should be worried. The report estimates there will be an additional $15 Billion of payouts by property/liability insurers, an increase of 18 percent — bringing the new grand total, for companies like Berkshire Hathaway, to an astonishing $100 Billion.
A.M. Best, the company behind the new report, warns that asbestos losses will “continue to be an issue given an unstable environment faced with evolving litigation, increasing secondary exposure cases and an increase in life expectancy.” While this may be bad news for the insurance industry, this claim increase points to promising advances in the fight for justice and true asbestos reform.
What Does This $15 Billion Increase Mean?
Asbestos-related deaths have been happening for a long time. Depending on who you ask, scientific associations between asbestos exposure and diseases like mesothelioma have been understood either for nearly 100 years or for thousands of years. No matter how you look at it, though, something undeniably fishy has been happening in the modern age.
Organizations such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have exposed the fact that industry giants have deceitfully hidden the real dangers of asbestos — with malicious intent, to the detriment of our safety and wellbeing. Although A.M. Best suggests this recent increase in asbestos claims is due, in part, to “increasing secondary exposure cases,” there is also the argument that victims are simply becoming more knowledgeable and therefore more confident in their demand for justice.
At the foundation of this recent $15 Billion increase are thousands of asbestos victims who have bravely taken a stand against corrupt corporations. Whether these victims have been exposed on the job themselves, or have been exposed secondhand to asbestos fibers carried home on the clothing of family members, this increase points to a growing awareness of asbestos exposure and victims’ rights.
The Other Side to this Story Is Appalling
It’s quite disheartening to read a financial report concerning how asbestos exposure may harm corporations and their bottom line, when in fact the only victims here are those exposed to the toxic mineral. This backwards thinking comes as no surprise, however, considering that the interests of the financial industry are seriously corrupt. For instance, Berkshire Hathaway — a top insurance company run by Warren Buffet — has been literally making money off buying asbestos victim trusts and betting against victims, hoping they will lose in court.
Although asbestos is currently banned in more than 50 countries, the United States still allows the toxic mineral fiber in American commerce because of corporate influence and lobbying, which exists even at the legislative level. The recent increase in asbestos claims is a powerful statement against the force of corruption. Without these claims, big business would continue unimpeded, and thousands of deaths each year would go unacknowledged.
This whole problem seems like a bad dream. How can insurance companies, and companies using asbestos, be this corrupt? How can those profiting from asbestos sleep at night knowing how many have suffered?
It’s encouraging to know that insurance companies have been told they should be scared of asbestos claim increases — in light of this progress, and corresponding industry fears, it seems more important than ever to continue the fight against deadly toxins.