UCATT Leader Condemns “Greedy Scheming” Insurance Industry For Their Attacks On Asbestos Victims

Alan Ritchie, General Secretary of Construction union UCATT, will today use his speech at Labour Party Conference to attack the greedy scheming insurance industry.

Mr Ritchie will be speaking in a debate generated by UCATT, which condemns the recent attempts by the insurance industry to deny compensation to asbestos victims.

Earlier this summer the insurance industry took a case to the High Court, where they argued that the insurer at the time a person was exposed to asbestos should no longer be responsible for paying compensation.

Instead the “trigger” for compensation should be when the disease develops.

In the case of the most serious illness the incurable lung cancer mesothelioma, the disease can take over 30 years to develop after a victims has been exposed to asbestos. Many people have retired by the time the disease develops and therefore do not have a current insurer.

If the insurance industry are successful with their case then hundreds of asbestos victims will no longer receive compensation. The insurance industry will save billions in reduced claims.

In his speech Mr Ritchie, will say: “Every week 40 people die of mesothelioma. It is incurable. Victims die an agonising death. It is sickening that the insurance industry wants to block their compensation.”

The issue is set to be overwhelmingly passed by conference, which will place pressure on the Government to rein in the unregulated insurance industry.

Mr Ritchie, will warn that if the Government does not take action against the insurance industry than they are intent on dismantling industrial injury compensation, piece by piece.

Last year the insurance industry won a case in the Law Lords that pleural plaque (scarring of the lungs caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos) victims should no longer receive compensation. The Government are now consulting on the issue following a wide scale campaign by the unions led by UCATT to get the Law Lords decision overturned.

For Further information contact Barckley Sumner on 0780 2329235

Alan Ritchie is available for interview.

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