The Chartered Institute of Loss Chartered Institute of Loss adjusters play down concerns adjusting staff could be left exposed to asbestos disturbed by recent flooding

The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters has played down concerns adjusting staff could be left exposed to asbestos disturbed by recent flooding, giving rise to an added claims burden for insurers.
Risk management firms say, many loss adjusters investigating flood claims have been going into areas where asbestos surveys haven’t been carried out, meaning “there is a high risk of them coming into contact with asbestos without their knowledge”.
The Post were advised that, while not normally harmful unless disturbed, flood waters can damage the integrity of buildings, exposing asbestos fibres contained in flooring, walls and ceilings and bringing the harmful material to the surface.
“The majority of loss adjusters have a basic level of asbestos training in terms of what it is, what it looks like and where to find it but, in certain circumstances, that isn’t adequate for the work they are actually doing,” he said. “It doesn’t give you training on what do to if you are potentially contaminated and how to decontaminate, so they could be spreading it to other areas or exposing other people.”
It was also added that homeowners attempting clean-up operations at their own properties are also at risk.
CILA executive director Malcolm Hyde downplayed the concerns, saying loss adjusters and disaster management companies received “considerable training” and 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.
Householders are not obligated to keep a similar record, but while Hyde acknowledged there could be a risk to policyholders exploring their own flooded properties, he claimed the risk is “very low”, as asbestos is not dangerous unless it is disturbed.
“There are different kinds of asbestos and the kind existing in a home would be quite low risk,” he explained. “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.”