Carillion collapse & asbestos victims – could they be the losers?

Carillion asbestos victims may be the big losers following the company going into liquidation. The collapse of construction giant Carillion will have far-reaching effects. We consider how this may affect asbestos victims who worked for Carillion.

Carillion – Company background

Carillion has, over many years, taken over a large number of different companies. These have been absorbed into the Carillion group. A link to some background about the company is here

For those affected by Carillion’s collapse the government have provided a useful guide

This complex history is important when people are diagnosed with asbestos related work disease such as asbestosis.

Why is this important to Carillion asbestos victims?

Asbestos disease can be either divisible or indivisible. Divisible means each month or year of exposure makes the condition worse. This applies for conditions such as asbestosis, pleural thickening or lung cancer.  This means if a person was exposed to asbestos for 10 years and insurance can only be traced for 5 years then they will only get half of any compensation i.e. 5/10ths.

For a client with indivisible disease such as mesothelioma if an insurer cannot be found then the company that exists may have to meet the claim.

In some circumstances where an insurer is traced but that insurer has gone bust then the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) applies. There is an arrangement whereby the FSCS and the company share such claims. How this is done depends on when the insurance cover was in place.  For periods before 1972 the FSCS will pay 90% of an agreed claim. If the period of cover is after 1972 it will pay 100%.  This is not done if the company is still trading as it will be expected to meet the claim.

carilllion asbestos

Carillion asbestos victims could lose out

Practical problems for Carillion asbestos victims

From our experience Carillion took over many companies.  The insurance arrangements for these companies are different and complex.  Many times the insurer of the company cannot be traced. Where this applies it fell to Carilion to pick up the claim.

With liquidation there is a real risk that there will be no one to meet the claim.

So how will this affect asbestos victims?

At a time when the most pressing problems will involve workers and firms owed money by the firm the plight of asbestos victims should not be forgotten.

How the victims are affected will depend on how long and how much is found during the liquidation process. First reports suggest that only £29 million was left in accounts. With many demands on that money the rights of asbestos victims will be far down the list. At best finding someone to take over those liabilities or getting an amount of a few pence in the pound of a secured claim is the most they can hope for.

In respect of divisible diseases those victims are likely to lose out in part or completely in relation to their compensation if no insurer has been traced.  There will be much broader reliance on the FSCS scheme. Where insurers can be traced there exists a possibility that people will get less money. This is particularly the case if their exposure was before 1972.

For those with indivisible disease such as mesothelioma the position is less clear.  Normally where there is no insurer and no company (as could be the case now with Carillion) then a person can make a claim under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). This was introduced in 2014.  However the process of liquidation still needs to be completed.  This is likely to be a very long and slow process and could take years.  During that time it is not clear whether those with asbestos disease will be left waiting.

Our comment

At Corries we have large number of asbestos disease clients. Many have worked for the Carillion empire.  We are reviewing the position in relation to those cases.

Corries Director Howard Bonnett commented

“The news of the Carillion liquidation is very sad.  I have every sympathy for those employed by, connected to or owed money by the companies.

In my work I see the impact that asbestos diseases has on people employed by Carillion connected companies. I hope that the Government, insurance industry and the FSCS can pull together to make sure that people are not left waiting for the long liquidation before they get compensated.

I also hope that the DMPS scheme can be extended to deal quickly with any mesothelioma claims from the Carillion companies. The mistakes of these companies should not add delay to the insult of asbestos disease”

Corries Asbestos Pleural Plaques Register – A helping hand for the future

It is for reasons like this that we at Corries keep a pleural plaque register.  This is a register for people who have pleural plaques.  For those people we can make sure that their work history is properly recorded now. Our work will help us find potential problems in the future with companies that might go bust. We can help record when and where you were exposed and find others affected. If one of you needs to claim later we have more ammunition.

Here is a link to our page for more information

Should you know someone with pleural plaques it may be a good idea for them to join our pleural plaque register.  It is free and there is no obligation. Contact our friendly team NOW on 0800 083 7839 for a confidential  chat.