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Greedy insurance bosses slammed at Labour conference

PUBLISHED: 23:23 22 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:38 05 October 2010

UNION boss Alan Ritchie has attacked “the greedy, scheming insurance industry” to deny compensation to asbestos victims. It is “sickening that the insurance industry wants to block their compensation,” he told delegates at today’s Labour Party conference

UNION boss Alan Ritchie has attacked “the greedy, scheming insurance industry” to deny compensation to asbestos victims.

It is “sickening that the insurance industry wants to block their compensation,” he told delegates at today’s Labour Party conference.

The attack by the General Secretary Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, which represents 125,000 workers, follows a High Court case in the summer where the insurance industry argued that the insurer at the time a person was exposed to asbestos should no longer be responsible for paying compensation.

Instead the trigger’ for compensation should be when the disease develops.

The incurable lung cancer mesothelioma can take more than 30 years to develop after a victim has been exposed to asbestos, Mr Ritchie points out.

Many people retire by the time the disease develops and therefore do not have a current insurer, he will tell the conference.

“Every week 40 people die of mesothelioma—it is incurable,” Mr Ritchie said in his speech.

“It is sickening that the insurance industry wants to block their compensation. Victims die an agonising death.”

The union is calling on the Labour conference to press the Government to rein in’ the unregulated insurance industry.

It fears the insurance industry is bent on “dismantling industrial injury compensation piece by piece” unless the Government takes action.

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