Over the past three decades there has been a lot of controversy and discussion surrounding asbestos. Many individuals and businesses still do not understand the full history and ongoing dangers that asbestos poses. There are hundreds of industries and thousands of people who continue to work around this dangerous material everyday.
Although personal protective equipment can assist in reducing the likelihood of asbestos related illness it is not 100% effective, and unfortunately some of these illnesses can take years to be discovered. For example mesothelioma is an asbestos related disease that takes years to manifest, according to the Mesothelioma Centre it has already resulted in over 10,000 deaths in Australia alone. Many workers across a multitude of industries, including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, have called for employers to better insure their workers to protect them in the long term.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibrous naturally occurring mineral that was used as a building material for over forty years in Australia. It was extremely popular due to its versatility, insulation, and fire resistance. The Sydney Morning Herald estimated that 67% of houses built between World War Two and the early 1990s still contain asbestos. Asbestos wasn’t just used in construction though. It was also used in cement pipes, automobile parts, textured paints, commercial and household products.
Negligence claims relating to asbestos diseases began as early as 1985 when over $220 000 in damages were awarded. Since then, a single company, Henry Carus Associates, has lost over $1.8 billion in asbestos related claims. Due to asbestos’ widespread use and high risk it is estimated that over $6 billion will be claimed in Australia for asbestos related liability in the future.
Why Do You Need Asbestos Insurance?
Due to the hazardous nature and long term risk, asbestos insurance is considered a specialised area of cover. Many insurance policies, like liability insurance, exclude asbestos-related claims. Many insurance companies do not cover asbestos altogether. One of the leading insurance brokerages in the Hunter Valley, Ausure Horizon, says that some insurers are reluctant to extend to cover this important exposure.
“It takes time and effort to assess asbestos-related dangers and many insurance brokerages do not have the time to check behind corrugated walls and between roof tiles,” a spokesperson for Ausure Horizon explained. “Finding an insurance brokerage, like Ausure Horizon, that can cover asbestos insurance is vital. We look for the most comprehensive and competitive products available in the market. We understand the different risks and exposures in most industries.”
What Industries Should Invest in Asbestos Insurance?
Due to its widespread use it could be argued that almost every industry should invest in asbestos insurance to protect their workers from any and all asbestos related dangers. Failing that, companies that are directly involved or working near asbestos must consider purchasing this insurance to protect themselves and their workers.
The most at risk industries include:
- Construction workers
- Mining companies
- Shipyard workers
- Industrial workers including laborers, machine operators, mechanics, and foremen
- Power plant workers
- Manufacturers including sand, paper, cement, insulation, and steel mills
If you work in any of these industries or you’re concerned about the risk of asbestos in your workplace then asbestos insurance is highly recommended. If you’re looking for somewhere to get started the team at Ausure Horizon can assist you and talk you through the process.