MAC: Mines and Communities

The following are linked stories on asbestos.

Published by MAC on 2004-07-21

The following are linked stories on asbestos.

The company hit hardest by asbestos claims during the nineties was Lloyds of London - once the world's biggest re-insurance "market". Teetering on the brink of self-destruction eight years ago, the company has pulled itself back from the brink, setting up a re-insurance company on which to off-load its own debt. However, accusations persist that Lloyds knew of the real dangers of asbestos even while it was urging its "Names" (private underwriters) to write thousands of policies insuring against them. Hundreds of these underwriters went under- - some committed suicide. Lloyds survived and indeed, last year, made a profit close to two billion pounds

Also featured is the company James Hardie, manufacturers of asbestos, who have shifted their headquarters from Australia to the Netherlands. They have also set up a trust called the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation which holds the company's former asbestos liabilities. A Commission of Inquiry set up by the NSW state government has found a shortfall in the funds of this trust estimated at around A$2billion, and found the directors of the company and their lawyers involved in fraudulent, misleading and deceptive conduct in concealing the true costs of liability at the time it was set up.

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