Court of Appeal success for Norwich Union

Article date: 26 January 2006

Norwich Union, the UK's largest insurer, haswelcomed a Court of Appeal judgment that sees claims for pleuralplaques being stopped.

The Appeal Court reversed the previous ruling of the courts thatordered the payment of compensation for the anxiety caused as aresult of pleural plaques.

The Appeal Court made the point that "pleural plaques aresymptomless, have no adverse effect on any bodily function andbeing internal, have no effect on appearance. In short no one isany the worse physically for having pleural plaques."

Commenting on the decision, Dominic Clayden, Norwich Union'stechnical claims director, said: "We welcome the judgment andbelieve it to be a pragmatic result on the issue of compensationbeing awarded for an asymptomatic condition. The issue ofcompensating claimants with serious asbestos-related conditions orwho suffer from impairment as a result of exposure to asbestos hasnever been in question and they will continue to receivecompensation."

The judgment handed down in the Court of Appeal today alsosaid:

  • Bringing legal proceedings is stressful. It will result in theclaimant’s attention being drawn to all the possibleconsequences of exposure to asbestos however remote and may wellcreate or increase the anxiety for which compensation will beclaimed.
  • There is a danger that those, such as claims managers, whomake a business out of litigation, will encourage workers who havebeen exposed to asbestos to have CT scans in order to see whetherthey have pleural plaques for the sole purpose of bringing claimsfor compensation. Such a practice will tend to create stress andanxiety where none exists.
  • Some claimants will be tempted to claim a final reward,thereby, in effect, gambling, to the possible prejudice ofthemselves and their families, that they will not contract anasbestos-related disease.
  • The costs of litigation in cases tend to be disproportionateto the damages recoverable.

-ends-

Media contact:
Sally Leemanat Norwich Union press office 01603 684225/07800 699670

Notes to editors:

About Norwich Union

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer with a marketshare of around 14%.
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses,Norwich Union insures:
    - one in five households
    - one in seven motor vehicles
    - more than 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Aviva, Norwich Union’s parent company, announced itsacquisition of the RAC in 2005. The acquisition brings togetherthe RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertiseand leading position in motor insurance of Norwich UnionInsurance.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available fromAviva’s internet press centre atwww.aviva.com/media

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