MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Lloyd's Equitas in asbestos claims deal with EnPro

Published by MAC on 2004-07-21

Lloyd's Equitas in asbestos claims deal with EnPro

PlanetArk UK

July 21, 2004

London - Equitas, the reinsurer set up to deal with Lloyd's of London's multibillion pound asbestos exposure, has reached a $118 million claims settlement with U.S.-based EnPro Industries, Equitas said yesterday.

The agreement will settle all claims made against underwriters operating on the Lloyd's of London insurance market by EnPro, a maker of industrial products, and its subsidiaries.

The deal represents another big stride in Equitas's attempts to settle the asbestos exposure facing Lloyd's, estimated at 4 billion pounds ($7.4 billion).

Asbestos was widely used as a fireproofing and insulation material until the 1970s. Scientists say inhaled fibers are linked to cancer and other diseases.

Companies already have paid an estimated $70 billion on some 730,000 asbestos personal injury claims, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.

In March, Equitas reached a $245 million claims settlement with Travelers Property Casualty Corp.

The EnPro deal will be another source of relief to the Lloyd's market and to its former capital providers, known as Names, who are still potentially liable to be asked for more money in the event that Equitas runs out of cash.

Equitas was set up in 1996 to deal with massive exposure to asbestos and other claims which brought the Lloyd's market to the brink of extinction. It effectively assumed all the market's pre-1993 liabilities so Lloyd's could keep underwriting.

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