From April 2011 it became law that any insurer providing Employer’s Liability Insurance has to give The Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) – an independent industry body comprising of members who are Employer’s Liability (EL) insurers – the Employer Reference Number for every company with an EL policy.
This was a result of claims being virtually impossible to process due to illnesses such as mesothelioma a fatal form of cancer normally caused by exposure to asbestos, appearing years after the exposure occurred. The idea being if someone needs to make a claim years after the event, it will make the process of locating the the insurer of that time easier and faster.
There is a new insurer-funded scheme which has been set up for those diagnosed with mesthelioma on or after 25th July 2012 who can’t trace the relevant insurer or employer will now be able to claim. An estimated 3000 victims will benefit from this and will be able claim.
There has been critism though with this new plan, Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK chairman Tony Whitson isn’t happy with this scheme “There is no defensible reason for excluding people with asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestsosis or pleural thickening. The prognosis for lung cancer is the same as mesthelioma”. Critics also find it hard to justify why someone diagnosed on 26th July is eligible while someone diagnosed before is not.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has explained their decisions. The scheme is an insurer funded project, if the compensation scheme was widened in terms of who qualifies the funding the industry will have to provide will increase. “Mesthelioma was highlighted because of it’s unique characteristics – it’s incurable – so it was felt this area needs specific attention”.
Further information on who has to provide their ERN number can be found here – ERN numbers explained
Post Magazine – 2nd August