Friable Thoughts

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dueling Numbers on Asbestos Claims

This post over at the Statistical Assessment Service discusses the assumptions underlying the debate over whether the asbestos fund will have enough money to cover all the claims. It dismisses the use of past lawsuit filings or bankruptcy trust fund filings as a guide to how many people would make a hypothetical claim on the fund and believes that the Bates-White assumption is the most accurate, which is based on the prevalence of asbestos-related illnesses in the future.

If that was true, the fund would be more than enough so long as it properly excluded cancer cases not related to asbestos. But, the Bates-White study assumes that since the fund is a no fault system, anyone with cancer and some exposure to asbestos could file a claim and get paid. If that's the case, then there won't be anywhere near enough money.

I suspect that Congress won't be able to provide an easy way to sort out the valid asbestos-related cancer claims from the invalid ones. Heck, the current system chock full of judges, lawyers and doctors is having enough problems sorting that one out. Would politicians be any better?

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