2013-03-14 15:57:50 -
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 14, 2013 - The American Insurance Association (AIA)
supports bipartisan legislation, "The Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency
(FACT) Act," introduced by Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Jim
Matheson (D-UT), which aims to bring much needed transparency to our nation's
asbestos-related personal injury trust fund system. H.R. 982, the subject of
today's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law hearing,
addresses ongoing systemic gaps, which currently enable fraudulent, inconsistent
and duplicative claiming practices between the trusts and the tort system, by
requiring the trusts to file quarterly claims disclosure reports.
"The trust fund system originated to resolve present and future asbestos injury
claims for victims deserving of compensation," said Melissa Shelk, AIA's vice
president for federal affairs. "Unfortunately, the system is susceptible to
abuse and payment of fraudulent claims
to the detriment of legitimate claimants.
This legislation's transparency measures will protect claimants' confidentiality
while ensuring the continued viability of the asbestos trust fund system."
The current system, created by the Congress in 1994, fails to link payments to
individuals and therefore provides unscrupulous parties with an opportunity to
improperly secure compensation from multiple trusts. In addition, the trusts'
lack of transparency, oversight, and coordination with the tort system has
allowed for fraudulent, inconsistent and duplicative claiming practices.
Under H.R. 982, trusts will be required to disclose basic information on claims
and payments to the bankruptcy courts, while protecting against the disclosure
of claimants' medical records and personal identification information. These
limited disclosures aim to deter fraudulent duplicative claims and ensure that
asbestos exposure history provided by claimants to a particular trust is
consistent with what they have provided to other trusts and to a court in any
"AIA encourages congressional support for the FACT Act," said Shelk. "By
providing the necessary transparency and oversight, Congress will reaffirm its
original intent and stem the tide of improper and illegitimate claims that are
currently adding unnecessary costs and delays to the system."
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The American Insurance Association (AIA) is the leading property-casualty
insurance trade organization, representing approximately 300 insurers that write
more than $100 billion in premiums each year. AIA member companies offer all
types of property - casualty insurance, including personal and commercial auto
insurance, commercial property and liability coverage for small businesses,
workers' compensation, homeowners' insurance, medical malpractice coverage, and
product liability insuranc
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