Loss adjustors dampen fears over asbestos risk following flood claims handling

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The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA) has dismissed fears that adjusters could be exposed to asbestos following the recent flooding in the UK, leading to future claims for exposure to the toxic material.

POST has reported that the dismissal came following a suggestion made by Wayne Stark, an operations director at risk management firm Nichol Associates, that many loss adjusters investigating flood claims have had to venture into areas where the level of asbestos is unknown, as flood waters could have caused damage to buildings which has exposed asbestos fibres.

POST quoted him as saying that there was a “high risk of them coming into contact with asbestos without their knowledge”.

He also said that adjustors did not have sufficient training to deal with potential contamination and that homeowners would also be at risk.

But CILA’s executive director Malcolm Hyde told POST that there were no issues with training and that loss adjusters would assume there may be asbestos in a building unless there was evidence to suggest otherwise.

“Any business premises should have an asbestos register by law, so if we’re dealing with a commercial claim we can quite simply ask to see it. In many ways that is easier to deal with,” he said.

Although Hyde conceded that there could be a risk to policyholders exploring their own flooded properties, he claimed that the risk was very low.

“There are different kinds of asbestos and the kind existing in a home would be quite low risk,” he said. “But, despite that, we would always err on the side of caution. We certainly wouldn’t put anyone at risk. If we suspected contamination in a bathroom, for instance, we would move the householder to alternative accommodation and get a specialist asbestos firm to come and deal with it properly.”

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Marek Handzel

Marek Handzel is the editor of Claims Magazine. Marek welcomes articles, letters, or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing marek.handzel@barkerbrooks.co.uk