Contact: Benjamin Tomchik(202) 828-7129
Washington, D.C., February 15, 2017 – The American Insurance Association (AIA) applauded the House Judiciary Committee’s passage of H. R. 906, the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act. The FACT ACT aims to bring needed transparency to our nation’s asbestos-related personal injury trust fund system. Sponsored, Rep. Blake Farenthold, the FACT Act was approved by the Judiciary Committee today on a vote of 19-11.
“As longtime supporters of the FACT Act, we are pleased by the Committee’s passage of the legislation,” said Tom Santos, AIA’s vice president of federal affairs. “This legislation addresses ongoing systemic gaps, which currently enable fraudulent, inconsistent and duplicative claims practices between asbestos bankruptcy trusts and the tort system. AIA will be working with our partners to secure passage in the House.”
The bankruptcies of major asbestos companies gave rise to trust funds that are intended to compensate future asbestos victims. The asbestos trusts operate in parallel with the traditional tort system and offer only rudimentary reports on the claims they receive and pay. As a result, plaintiffs’ attorneys are sometimes able to hide the fact that a single individual is making multiple claims, citing different and contradictory exposure facts, against multiple trusts and solvent companies. This “double dipping” exposes innocent businesses to abusive lawsuits and deprives the trusts of funds intended for victims.
“AIA thanks Rep. Farenthold for his leadership on this issue. Insurers are dedicated to ensuring the long-term viability and credibility of the asbestos trust fund system. Therefore, we respectfully urge Congress to pass the FACT ACT,” says Santos.
Celebrating its 150th year in 2016, The American Insurance Association (AIA) is the leading property-casualty insurance trade organization, representing approximately 320 insurers that write more than $125 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, specialty, workers' compensation, homeowners' insurance, medical malpractice coverage, and product liability insurance.
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PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR