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Asbestos losses mount in US

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Asbestos contamination will cause an estimated $US46 billion ($63 billion) of “net ultimate environmental losses” for the US property and casualty industry, AM Best says.

The ratings agency has raised its estimate by $US4 billion ($5.48 billion) due to continued development on sites found to be more toxic than first thought.

It says the property and casualty industry has reported an average $US1.9 billion ($2.6 billion) in additional losses over five years to last year.

Previous forecasts flagged a decline in losses, but the industry continues to incur losses of about $US750 million ($1.03 billion) a year, while paying out $US760 million ($1.04 billion), according to AM Best.

By the end of last year asbestos reserves decreased by 4% to $US19.1 billion ($2.62 billion) and environmental reserves fell by 3% to $US5.2 billion ($7.12 billion).