Revolution in Molecular Biology to Drive Major Change in Asbestos Litigation According to Assured Research

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New insights into cancer causation have implications for toxic tort litigation and insurers.

We are in the midst of a revolution in scientific, legal, and medical trends that could reshape the asbestos landscape.

Revolutionary advances in molecular biology, coupled with demographic and social trends, and new legal developments are expected to trigger an increase in mesothelioma and asbestos-related insurance claims, according to a report released today by a multi-disciplinary team. “The insurance industry’s track record on reserving for asbestos claims is dismal,” according to Assured Research, an insurance research firm and co-contributor to the paper. “Our paper challenges insurance analysts and executives to ask more in depth questions about the need for new actuarial models in light of the growing litigation impact of the revolution in molecular biology, “ according to Assured Research president Bill Wilt.

The paper, "New Science and Law in Asbestos Litigation: A Multi-Disciplinary Look at Change and Future Directions", explores advancements in biomarker science, among other scientific advancements, concluding that “The next few years will bring earlier and more reliable detection of mesotheliomas and other cancers,” according to report co-author David Schwartz, Ph.D. and founder of Innovative Science Solutions.

Some may be surprised to see research on another wave of asbestos claims. But “change” the authors note, has been the one constant across the five decades of asbestos litigation. And far from being over, report co-author Kirk Hartley, founder of the LSP Group, notes that “Noise generated by various interest groups distracts from the core reality that mesotheliomas in the US are not falling at previously predicted rates.” And according to Mr. Hartley, it’s not just science that is changing, “Some statutes of limitations are going through repeal or are being overturned as denials of human rights.” In other words, according to this co-author, “The legal landscape is shifting concurrently with the revolution in molecular biology.”

Yet according to the report, “Too many insurers appear to be relying on outdated actuarial models or are reluctant to invest the time and resources to stay abreast of these scientific developments.” In that case, those companies could be “blindsided” in the years ahead according to the paper, which also forecasts a multi-billion reserve deficiency for the industry.

This collaborative research effort is available for purchase at the website of Assured Research. Members of the press can contact Alan Zimmermann at 908.277.6980 or at alan.zimmermann(at)assuredresearch(dot)com with inquiries.

Assured Research is a property/casualty focused research firm serving insurance and investment professionals.

Innovative Science Solutions is a leading scientific consulting firm serving the worldwide pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries.

The LSP Group LLC provides in depth knowledge of law, science, and policy with respect to mass tort issues, and most particularly to asbestos issues.

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William Wilt

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