Test case trio remain key to Meso claims

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Three test cases hold the key to whether thousands of claimants will receive payments relating to cl...

Three test cases hold the key to whether thousands of claimants will receive payments relating to claims arising from the run-off of Builders Accident Insurance and other employers' liability insurers.

The news follows a technical briefing put out last week by the British Insurance Brokers' Association, which responded to concerns raised by its members' clients over the delay to "non divisible industrial disease claims, primarily mesothelioma, but also potentially other long tail disease claims" that can be traced to BAI.

Biba said that since the Court of Appeal in Bolton v MMI: "interpreted coverage as being triggered by the onset of the disease," BAI's reinsurers have questioned whether they should pay claims for polices pre-dating 1972 with similar wordings. That case actually dealt with a public liability claim.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers - currently handling BAI's run off - told Post that since August when it put a hold on the payment of claims, several hundred new potential claimants have emerged.

Dan Schwarzmann, partner in PwC's discontinued business practice, added: "This problem hit us in August of last year and three test cases have been arranged,which we expect to proceed next year."

He stressed that PwC has not ceased handling claims on all the estates it administers, such as Chester Street, commenting: "We are anxious to bring certainty to the matter. This is a market issue and will relate to many other solvent and insolvent insurers. If we don't take action to resolve this issue now it will eventually affect thousands of people and the current figure just relates to the BAI case."

The three cases set for 2008 are Fern v BAI, Thomas Bates v BAI and Fleming v Independent.

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