Equitas, the reinsurer set up to rescue Lloyd's of London from collapsing under the influx of asbestos-related claims in the 1990s, has settled some of its largest remaining direct liabilities with a $300 million payment.
The reinsurer has agreed to settle with six major US policyholders, including Kaiser Aluminum Corporation, a producer of fabricated aluminum products, Crane Company, an engineering group, and Congoleum, a manufacturer of sheet and tile floor coverings. Three further companies have also been included in the settlement but have yet to be named.
In a statement to the Financial Times, Equitas’ claims director Glenn Brace said that although the recent agreements reflect a certain amount of progress within Lloyd’s insurance liabilities, they are not a conclusion of the company’s settlement negotiations.
We continue to seek comprehensive settlements and are currently in negotiations with other major policyholders. We are hopeful that these negotiations will result in further agreements in the coming months, Mr Brace said.
Equitas was created in the mid-1990s assume Lloyd’s huge liability exposures, which were related largely to pre-1993 asbestos claims. Equitas has been able to reduce its asbestos exposure by making upfront cash settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars with some of its biggest claimants. Since April 2001, the reinsurer has resolved 35 large asbestos settlements with companies involving the payment of more than $2.9 billion.