Insurers face increase in asbestos claims over 2011

August 26th, 2011

Mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims against the insurance company MetLife rose by 11% over the first half of 2011, according to a report by Reuters. Rival insurers Hartford Financial Services and American International Group (AIG) also saw an increase in claims relating to asbestos lawsuits during this period.

According a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission cited by Reuters, MetLife was the recipient of 2,306 asbestos claims over the first half of 2011. MetLife has long been at the center of controversy related to asbestos diseases: critics have alleged that the insurer knew about the harmful effects of asbestos exposure since the 1920s, but failed to act to inform the public about its health risks.

Insurance ratings agency A.M. Best has stated that it expects claims from asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits to eventually reach $75 billion. Despite the efforts of Hartford and AIG to increase their capital reserves for asbestos claims, the agency has stated that it believes some insurers to be undercapitalized for the claims they may eventually face.

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