People with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in the UK will get more financial help under a package of measures in the Mesothelioma Bill announced in today's Queen's Speech and expected Ministry of Justice reforms. This will include support for up to 3,000 sufferers who currently go un-compensated, and a more streamlined system to speed up the claims process.
Every week nearly 50 people die from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of internal organs, such as the lungs. It results from exposure to asbestos and is fatal.
The Bill and expected civil justice reforms will improve the support to sufferers and their families, through:
- A scheme to support mesothelioma claimants exposed at work who are unable to trace a solvent employer or insurer to claim against. This will be paid for by insurers. Over the next ten years around 3,000 sufferers will receive payments of over £300 million in total. The scheme will be operational in July 2014, although people diagnosed with mesothelioma from 25 July 2012 will be able to claim.
- A simpler, more streamlined claims process with set timescales for providing information and fixed legal costs. This should mean that where there is a traced employer or insurer compensation is paid within 3 months, and 3-5 months where no traced employer or insurer. The Ministry of Justice will be consulting on this later this year.
- To help speed up the legal process, the insurance industry wants to build an online portal for mesothelioma sufferers to register claims which will ensure that all relevant information is kept in one place.
Otto Thoresen, ABI's Director General, said:
Mesothelioma is a devastating disease which has a terrible impact on sufferers and their families. The insurance industry wants to do all it can to help sufferers and has worked with the Government on this package of measures that will deliver help to claimants much faster, including to those who would otherwise go uncompensated