The adoption Wednesday of an asbestos resolution by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners will reportedly give insurers and other parties seeking to rein in runaway litigation costs an important arrow in their quiver when addressing Congress, according to the Alliance of American Insurers.
The resolution, approved by a special conference call vote of the NAIC membership, was modified from one adopted by the NAIC’s Property/Casualty Committee last month.
“This is an important resolution, and we are pleased that state regulators took several recommendations from the industry to strengthen it from earlier versions,” said John Lobert, Alliance senior vice president of state government affairs. “It demonstrates that insurance regulators understand and support the industry’s need to address runaway asbestos litigation that is bleeding insurers, business and the nation’s economy dry.”
The resolution encourages Congress to act on the critical issues facing all segments of U.S. business by enacting laws that:
·Mandate use of objective medical standards that distinguish between impaired and unimpaired claimants;
·Reform venue and other procedural rules so that asbestos claims must be brought in jurisdictions with an appropriate connection to the claimant or the asbestos exposure; and
·Address proposed mechanisms to fund asbestos liabilities.
“This resolution will give state regulators a seat at the table in the Congressional debates on the asbestos issue with something to say about what should be done to solve the problem,” said Lenore Marema, Alliance vice president of legal and regulatory affairs. “Previous iterations of the NAIC resolution were far too general. So general, in fact, that it could have been interpreted to support any reform, no matter how weak. The version that was approved today is much more specific and encourages meaningful changes to the current system.”
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